MEDIA RELEASE: Julie Bishop’s $140 Million InnovationXchange Debacle, Thursday 5 November 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 

 

JULIE BISHOP’S $140 MILLION InnovationXchange DEBACLE

The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, must explain why she’s spending $140 million of taxpayer funds on her pet ‘InnovationXchange’ program in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, when it’s coming up with ideas like ‘saving a lot of paper’, ‘simple ways to manage your mailbox’, and ‘backing ourselves more’.

After cutting $11.3 billion in overseas aid from some of the poorest countries on earth, Ms Bishop needs to seriously rethink her priorities. 

Julie Bishop billed the InnovationXchange as an overseas aid program aimed at improving how Australia delivers its official development assistance.  But many of the ideas coming out of the InnovationXchange, have nothing to do with overseas aid at all.

Ms Bishop has previously described her InnovationXchange as a “gorgeous little funky, hipster, Googly, Facebooky-type” program.

So far, some of the ideas produced by the InnovationXchange include:

  • Saving a lot of paper
  • Stationery allowance
  • Improving business processes
  • Simple way to manage your mailbox
  • Establishing useable travel advisories
  • Single approach core business
  • Competency based framework
  • Leadership development
  • Benefitting from talents
  • Format controlled templates
  • Backing ourselves more
  • Reality TV shows
  • Fashion statement

Julie Bishop presides over the weakest overseas aid program in Australian history.  Because of Ms Bishop’s cuts, by 2016 Australia will spend just 22 cents in every $100 of our national income on overseas aid – our lowest spend ever. Over the next decade, that is set to fall further to 17 cents in every $100.

Ms Bishop claimed her InnovationXchange was about improving the use of the depleted overseas aid budget.  Instead it is investigating changes to departmental operations which should simply be part of the day-to-day business of running DFAT.