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Greens push for 5-year ban on government work for PwC


The Greens party have called for PwC to be restricted from tendering for government work for five years in the final inquiry report.

By Miranda Brownlee 13 minute read

The Australian Greens party has made a number of its own recommendations in the final report for the inquiry into big consulting firms, including a temporary ban restricting PwC from winning government contracts.

The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee handed down its final report for the Inquiry into Management and Assurance of Integrity by Consulting Services on Wednesday afternoon.

As part of additional comments included in the report titled ‘A Very Public Swindle’, the Greens said that PwC and any of its related entities should not be permitted to tender for government work until all matters arising from current investigations are completed.


The party said that it should also be restricted from contracts for government work until it has provided the Linklaters report to the Australian Senate.

“In view of its misdemeanours in the misuse of confidential information, PwC should be excluded from government contracting for 5 years,” the Greens said.

It has also called for former PwC chief executive, Luke Sayers, to be excluded from Australian government contracting until investigations are concluded and any implications from those investigations relating to Sayers have been considered and concluded.

“A ban from Australian Government contracts of at least 5 years should apply to any consulting entity led by its previous CEO, Mr Luke Sayers, who held leadership in the years of PwC's confidentiality misdemeanours,” the Greens said.

The Greens said they would also like to see the Australian government require departments and agencies to reduce spending on external consulting services by 15 per cent each year for five years to offset the decline in growth in public sector capacity.

“The employment numbers in the Australian Public Service should grow at least in line with population growth in Australia,” it said.

The Australian Greens said while it supported the recommendations put forward in Committee, it believes the recommendations do not go far enough.

“They do not address the magnitude and scope of problems this inquiry has uncovered,” the party said.

“Specifically they do not address the issue of political donations by big consultants, the revolving door in and out of government, the inadequacy of penalties for PwC, the pressing need for structural reform to cap big partnerships' size, and to address conflicts of interest and the opaque nature of big partnerships

“More actions, and more urgent steps, are essential and, as initiators of this inquiry, we offer these Additional Comments to that end.”

The Greens said the evidence provided to the Committee throughout the inquiry had highlighted the conflict of interest issues that arise where very large entities are involved in audit as well as consultancy.

“It is time to remedy this. The Big Four accounting firms wield enormous political and economic power in Australia. Between them they earned more than $11 billion in revenue in FY23 and together they account for 70 per cent of total revenue earned by the top 100 accounting firms in Australia,” the Greens said.

“Australian governments at both a federal and state and territory level contribute millions to the bottom line of the Big Four even as they corrode the capacity of the public sector and crowd out the public interest. Federal Government contracts make up around 25 per cent of revenue at the Big Four every year.

“Over the past decade, the Big Four have received $8.5 billion in contracts from the Federal Government.”

The Greens said PwC had “a long way to travel before it can be said to have a clean bill of health”.

The party noted that matters have recently surfaced that go well beyond monetising confidential government tax information.

The Committee as a whole made 12 recommendations in total in the final report, with the recommendations largely focused on creating greater transparency and accountability around government contracts.

The committee has recommended that the government commissions the Australian Law Reform Commission, or other appropriate body, to undertake a review of the legislative frameworks and structures of partnerships in Australia. The review will have a particular focus on partnerships in excess of 100 partners.

“The review should make recommendations to provide for appropriate regulatory governance and oversight of structures of this scale,” the report said.

The committee has also called for organisations that operate professional standards as self-regulatory regimes to be required to report annually on the operation of those standards to the Joint Standing Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee


Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

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