FEDERAL ATTORNEY GENERAL Philip Ruddock has condemned exaggerated claims of a ‘blow-out’ in government expenditure on legal services, following the release of a report from the Australian National Audit Office.
Ruddock said the report showed only a slight increase in spending and explained why demand for legal services had increased. “The Government is the same as any other individual or business in that at times it will need legal advice and it depends on the level of activity in which it is engaged as to how much advice is needed.”
He added that while there was scope for some agencies to improve their systems for monitoring and reviewing their legal spend, the report also identified recent efforts by the Attorney-General’s Department to enhance awareness of the legal services purchasing environment.
Ruddock said the Government was committed to increased transparency on the issue of legal expenditure and would carefully consider the report’s recommendations.