Theft and loss of taxpayer-funded electronic equipment is rife in the public sector with almost 700 laptop computers and mobile phones worth more than $440,000 going missing last financial year.
The rate of laptop computer thefts from the Education Department has increased since Premier Colin Barnett said last year beating the problem would be one way to cut costs without harming frontline services.
Since then, 259 laptops and phones worth $250,000 have been lost or stolen from classrooms and the Government is about to purge 500 jobs in a bid to make the department more efficient.
Mr Barnett said yesterday the level of loss remained "unacceptable" and his department's director-general Peter Conran would work with agencies on new ways to safeguard resources.
The 234 laptops stolen from the Education Department in 2012-13 compares with 347 in the previous two years combined, making the department by far the agency with the worst losses.
Overall, the sector-wide bill to the taxpayer is likely to be far higher because the figures, obtained through Opposition questions in Parliament, only give the estimated value of devices when lost, not replacement costs.
The Health Department reported $26,000 worth of lost or stolen devices, including 61 misplaced mobile phones.
WA Police surrendered $17,000 worth of equipment, including 41 mobile phones, and Central Institute of Technology reported 16 stolen and misplaced laptops and phones worth $18,000.
Mr Barnett said public servants given taxpayer-funded devices to use had a responsibility to secure them safely.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said Mr Barnett had "yet again" promised action without following through.
"It seems Mr Barnett is happy to ignore obvious cost savings and then demand cuts to key educational staff to find savings in other areas," Mr Wyatt said.Education finance and administration deputy director-general John Leaf declined to speculate on why the department appeared to lose more computers but said those stolen last year were 0.4 per cent of the laptops issued.