In 2015 the United Nations formulated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States, of which Australia is a member, as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister and Former Head of the United Nations Development Fund, Ms Helen Clark was deeply involved with the SDGs formulation.
In a 2018 Brisbane speaking engagement with the Australian Institute of Project Management & Pro Leader Academy, she commented on the role in which government must play in achieving these goals through the spending of public money.
It requires being highly conscious of the links between economic, social, and environmental policies and how government focuses its spending of taxpayer monies to better the lives of the people it was elected to serve’’, she highlighted.
For Australia, according to the Federal budget delivered in 2019, public spending is expected to be 25% of GDP. This may increase due to recent national fire events. It will be the effective public spending and the procurement practises of all levels of government that will assist in meeting those goals. And it is in the efficiencies that we provide value.
While many developing countries are faced with a lack of economic maturity, in Australia we must ensure we avoid inefficiencies that reduce our ability to support the rebuilding of communities and various economies whilst ensuring others continue to grow and develop.
Large organisations including government can be hampered by outdated or inefficient systems. Multiple operational, organisational and regulatory barriers – as well as risk-averse organisational cultures can prevent the public sector from implementing spending practices that are efficient, transparent and cost-effective as well as sustainable, ethical and equitable.
Australian legislation across all levels of government is required to balance tax or rate payer requirement of value for money alongside the value of longer term financial, social and environmental return. It is the implementation and delivery of services which will be the critical factor in whether we reach the SDGs.
A full list of development goals can be found here https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html