Ahead of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's major address to the public service on Monday morning, Labor has called for any reforms to the bureaucracy to have proper funding.
Labor's spokeswoman on the public service Katy Gallagher has said the government has a "limited appetite for reform and an aversion to investing in the public service".
Senator Gallagher said the government had signaled reform for the public service like the ambitious Services Australia project, but reform either wouldn't be possible, or would be damaging, if it didn't have the resources.
"If it fails it will have dramatic consequences, because people either get reform fatigue and never go back to it or it will be a waste of money because money will be put in inappropriate systems that don't deliver and don't match up across government and then you'll have that side of the problem hitting the budget and still have a service that isn't doing what the people want it to," she said.
Despite Prime Minister Morrison's message that the public service had a limited remit, to deliver the policy agenda of the government, Senator Gallagher said it was important the public service retained the capability to develop policy and challenge governments to be better.
"The more we erode the capability of the APS, the more difficult this purpose becomes to realise," she wrote in an opinion piece for The Canberra Times.
"The purpose of the APS is not to get out of the way - it is to provide a stable source of expertise that survives the revolving door of political leadership and acts solely in the national interest."
The senator for the ACT has taken on the public service portfolio for the opposition at a time when the Prime Minister has taken personal responsibility for the sector, and instigated moves to measuring performance and a focus on service delivery.
It has been reported that Mr Morrison asked the independent review team led by David Thodey to take a tougher line on performance standards in the final report into the Australian Public Service, which is still yet to be released. Senator Gallagher continued Labor's calls to reduce the amount of work done by the private sector and said lecturing the public service on its performance while outsourcing work to consultants wasn't fair.
"There's not much point waving the finger and making sure the blame is shifted to everyone else if at the same time you're reducing the capability of that institution to do what you're asking it to do."