Over the past ten years, Australia’s state and federal governments have allocated more than $10 billion to the big four accounting firms: EY, Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC. Their pervasive influence reaches from numerous government departments to occupying board positions across Australia. Notably, the Department of Defence alone has reportedly expended almost $4 billion on these firms. The nature of these relationships and contracts lacks transparency and public scrutiny. The AusTender data revealed that the Commonwealth’s spending on these entities has surged by 600% since 2013. This lack of transparency raises significant concerns about government spending and accountability. The Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, observed a dramatic rise in management advisory services contracts, most prominently driven by the Department of Defence. Moreover, the integrity and role of these firms have come under scrutiny, especially following the PwC scandal, which involved the misuse of confidential government data.

This is a summary of “How the big four accounting firms infiltrated governments, earning more than $10b over a decade while taxpayers are in the dark” published in ABC News on 17th July 2023 and written by Adele Ferguson. Read it in full here.