(Image: Wikimedia)

Canberra is crawling with consultants. Since the start of the pandemic, more than $1 billion has flowed out of the public service and into the hands of the world’s seven biggest consulting firms. It’s a trend that has had Australia become one of the most outsourced governments in the world. But Australians are often in the dark over what they’re paying for. 

In the past month alone, the government has handed out more than 540 contracts worth $286 million under the catch-all term “management advisory services”. It’s a phrase that litters the government’s AusTender website -- a site that is supposed to provide transparency over Commonwealth contracts but too often adds more opaque jargon. 

So what are management advisory services and do we deserve to know more about these contracts?