NSW Parliament appoints Stephen Bartos as election costings watchdog

Prominent Canberra consultant Stephen Bartos will oversee the costing of NSW election promises as the state's voters prepare to head to the ballot box next year.

The NSW Parliament has appointed Mr Bartos as the state's parliamentary budget officer, a job that involves costing proposed policies and preparing budget impact statements.

The President of the NSW Legislative Council, Don Harwin, said Mr Bartos was "extremely well qualified" to take up the independent role.

"He has very strong experience in public policy and a reputation for independence and integrity."

Mr Bartos leads consulting firm ACIL Allen's Canberra office. He is a former deputy head of the federal Department of Finance, where he also led the budget group, and writes for The Public Sector Informant magazine.


The NSW job differs from the ongoing role in Federal Parliament, held by Phil Bowen, as it is a short-term statutory appointment overseeing the lead-up to the election and the post-vote analysis.

Mr Bartos said he was honoured to be appointed to the position, which was "vitally important for transparency and accountability".

"I am looking forward to ensuring that the costings of proposals provided for NSW in the lead-up to the next election are accurate and reliable."

The state election will be held on March 28 next year.

Earlier this year, the NSW Liberal government was rocked by the resignation of premier Barry O'Farrell after it was revealed he had wrongly denied receiving a $3000 bottle of wine.

However, the Coalition, now led by Premier Mike Baird, still leads Labor 54 per cent to 46 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, according to the latest Newspoll.