Evaluator General: Additional Third Party Support - Media Release


“The plan to establish an Evaluator General is welcomed by the preventive health sector. Public health experts have long relied upon scientific evidence to shape policy, but of late governments have become increasingly averse to acting on this evidence. An Evaluator General, making use of the best tests of effectiveness, like randomised control studies, should give confidence to decision-makers choosing evidence-based policy over the populist nonsense, which all too often passes for public policy. As an independent public health body responsible for injecting strategic research and advocating for evidence-based public policy, FARE supports establishing the Office of Evaluator General."

- Michael Thorn, Chief Executive, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)

"Sound policy evaluation is essential to ensuring that resources are spent efficiently and help achieve the best possible outcomes for those most in need."

- Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, School of Economics, University of Sydney

“Better evaluation and a stronger focus on outcomes and impacts can only strengthen government performance.”

- David Crosbie,  CEO of Community Council Australia

“The announcement this week by Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh that a federal Labor Government would establish an office of the Evaluator General is welcomed by Per Capita. The basis of all good public policy is evidence. Understanding what works and why by implementing a process of rigorous and impartial evaluation of government programs will help policy makers to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public services. At a time when Australia is faced by multiple challenges including economic and social inequality, the need for urgent action on climate change, population growth and the demand for infrastructure investment, and the need to address the exclusion and material disadvantage of our First Nations people, Australians will be well served by a Labor government that can demonstrate the real impact of its policies, and a willingness to change course when something isn’t working. Per Capita is a strong advocate of evidence-based policy. This commitment by Labor to test not only its ideas, but their implementation, demonstrates a genuinely thoughtful and responsible approach to public sector service delivery. It’s a grown up approach to government.”

- Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita Australia

“At a time when the public worries at how much politics is about spin, it’s great to see the ALP and its Shadow Minister Andrew Leigh in particular build institutions around which we can build a more evidence-based approach to policy.”

- Nicholas Gruen, Lateral Economics

The announcement has also been described by Crikey’s Bernard Keane as “the biggest development in evaluation in decades”.

The Evaluator General will be based within Treasury and will work with other departments to conduct high-quality evaluations, preferably randomised trials, of government programs. More detail here.


Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra

Earlier third party support:

“The announcement of the Evaluator General is a very welcome one. The more we know about the effectiveness of public programs, the better they can be designed and the more efficiently public money will be used. Well-designed social programs benefit the neediest in society and contribute to making Australian society more equitable. Randomised controlled trials provide the most reliable evidence of policy impacts.”

- Professor Lisa Cameron, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne

“The idea of an Evaluator General is overdue. Finding out which government programs work and which don’t work will allow us to channel resources to those things that actually make Australians better off. This has the potential to help us to build a fairer, more prosperous Australia."

- Professor Robert Breunig, Director, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

“An Evaluator General offers a chance to provide independent and rigorous testing of outcomes. As discussed on The Policy Shop podcast, developing the concept of randomised trials is important for public sector innovation."

- Professor Glyn Davis, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne

“The new Evaluator General could prove to be a crucial institution for improving public policy in Australia. …  Science has steadily improved lives for hundreds of years through measurable, repeatable observations that allow us to sort what works from what just sounds good. We need to apply the same discipline to policy.”

- John Daley, Chief Executive, Grattan Institute


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