IT contractors are costing the federal government $80,000 more on average per year than public servants to doing the same work, a new Finance Department report has revealed.
But the use of contractors has exploded to nearly one-third of the public service's IT workforce, with each temp costing $212,000 per year on average against $132,000 for a public servant.
The news, in the Finance Department's annual Australian Government IT Trends report, comes at the end of a year marked by high-profile and costly IT failures at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Taxation Office, featuring private sector contractors.
But the latest report found that outsourced services were still on the march, accounting for 28 per cent of IT spending, well up from the 20 per cent recorded when Finance began gathering the data back in 2011.
Finance's report shows that public servants are 70 per cent of the bureaucracy's IT workforce in the 2015-2016 financial year, down from 84 per cent in 2013-2014.
The total ICT spend increased from $5.7 billion to $6.2 billion in 2015-2016, about 10.4 per cent on average of department budgets, with about $2.3 billion, or 37 per cent, of it spent on tech workers.
Across the government there has been little change in the number of IT workers on the job, about 15,800 full time equivalent, a figure that has remained steady for the past four years.
The Finance report has also shows much of the work of government is being done on antiquated computers, using old-school software with 53 per cent of desktops and laptops past the end of their useful life and 44 per cent of applications being used in the public service more than 10 years old.