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Splurge on consultants was buried
Splurge on consultants was 'buried'

The State Opposition has accused the Barnett Government of using Budget day to overshadow the tabling of a report revealing expenditure on consultants increased almost $1 million in six months.

A report tabled in State Parliament yesterday showed 98 consultants were hired by the Liberal- Nationals alliance in the six months to June 30 last year at a cost of $6.57 million.

This was $895,157 more than it spent in the second half of 2010 when bureaucrats shelled out $5.68 million on 89 consultants.

The biggest increase in spending was in the Planning, Culture and the Arts, Science and Innovation portfolio with $1.02 million spent on 27 consultants, compared with $630,200 in the previous six months.

The departments of Transport and Housing spent $602,646, up from $451,108, and consultants engaged by the Treasurer and Attorney-General cost $612,445, up from $463,632.

The Department of Health was the biggest spender, with 12 consultants costing $1.65 million.

Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Government had tried to slip the report in under the radar by tabling it on Budget day.

"The Government is simply attempting to bury the fact that in the first half of 2011 it spent $6.5 million of taxpayers' money seeking advice to tell it how to do its job," Mr Wyatt said.

But the Government has spent less than it did in the six months to June 30, 2010, when it paid $12.14 million and from the six months to June 30, 2009, when $13.81 million was spent.

Mr Wyatt said the Government was still spending far too much.

"(Spending) can only go down after the consulting binge in the first two years of this Government," Mr Wyatt said.

Spending on consultants in the first half of last year was more than the $4.62 million spent in the first half of 2007 but less than the $10.46 million spent in the Labor government's last six months in office in the first half of 2008.

Premier Colin Barnett said all governments used consultants and his Government had worked hard to contain spending.