It's not necessarily rare for a Reserve Bank head to give a government advice in a public forum; advice the government would have preferred be kept private.
But the current RBA governor, Philip Lowe, went further than usual in his criticism at a parliamentary hearing on Friday.
He repeated a point he has made previously: that the current period of very low interest rates and relatively slow economic growth is an ideal time for governments to build quality infrastructure for the future, and that they're not doing enough of this.
But the more controversial evidence Dr Lowe gave to Federal Parliament's House economics committee related to how governments treated their public servants.
Almost all governments in Australia at state or territory level and above - except the ACT's and South Australia's - have put in place mandated limits on the size of any pay rise offered to their workforce.
The Abbott government set the trend in 2013 by freezing pay across the bureaucracy. The motive behind then prime minister Tony Abbott's decision, one suspects, was to make a political point, though it also proved a convenient (if lazy) way to drag the budget closer to surplus.
State governments had an even greater incentive than the Commonwealth to adopt pay caps, as Dr Lowe explained.
"I can understand why governments are doing that because it's important that we have budget discipline and wages account for around 70 per cent of state government budgets ..." he said. "On the other hand, the wage caps in the public sector are cementing low wage norms across the country because the norm is now 1 to 1.5 per cent and partly that's coming from the decisions that are being taken by the state governments."
This is simple economic advice, not politics: sluggish wage growth is an anchor on the economy.
On one level, this is simple economic advice: sluggish wage growth is an anchor on the economy, stifling the spending that businesses need to invest. Though it may seem counterintuitive, paying staff more could, in time, lead to more Australians having a job.
Dr Lowe said caps on public servants' salary increases were now "contributing to the subdued wage outcomes [across industries]. At the aggregate level, my view is that a further pick-up in wages growth is both affordable and desirable."
Straightforward advice perhaps, but, these days, these kinds of views are inherently political. They shouldn't be - it's economic sense - but the question of public service salaries was a contested policy at the last federal election. The Coalition took pride in its parsimony; Labor said it was driving good staff out of government and harming the economy.
It's well past time to drop these artificial reins on the public sector labour market. Even Mr Abbott's audit commissioner, Tony Shepherd, holds the view that the federal bureaucracy probably pays its executive-level staff too little (he told this newspaper in June they should be paid more, but added that fewer of them should have a job).
Governments - especially the federal government - have a history of using their own workforces to shape society more broadly. Important nationwide gains sprang from decisions to pay female public servants the same wages as men, to offer public servants long-service leave, to provide them with superannuation and so on.
This latest experiment has also shaped the nation - but in an unhelpful, even damaging, way. Public servants' salaries should be determined by market forces, not political grandstanding and arbitrary limits. If governments feel they must deliver surpluses, they can do it the old-fashioned way: by making difficult choices and accounting for them.