Public agencies and departments spent more on temporary workers in 2020 with contracts totalling past the billion-dollar mark, tender notices show.
The year will be remembered as one that required an agile public workforce with many public servants being redeployed to other areas to help support the COVID-19 effort.
A number of new programs being announced contract notices for temporary workers had fallen across the government.
Data taken from AusTender shows contracts issued for temporary workers in 2020 totalled $1.35 billion - an increase of around $500 million on the previous year.
The majority of those contracts were given to major workforce suppliers, including Hays, Hudson Global Resources and Randstad.
The three private companies pocketed around $324 million alone in temporary personnel contracts during the 12-month period.
While some agencies and departments dialled down their temporary personnel staff during the tumultuous year, others ballooned.
Services Australia, perhaps toiled with the sudden and dramatic increase in income support requests, faced a 95 per cent in contracts issued delivered during the year compared to 2019.
The agency issued $156 million in temporary personnel contracts over the COVID-affected year, marking one of the largest increases in a temporary workforce.
It wasn't alone, however. The Australian Taxation Office spent $600 million on temporary contracted staff, a nearly 64 per cent increase year-on-year, while the Administrative Appeals Tribunal increased their temporary contracts by 74 per cent to $22.4 million for the year.
The data follows the release of the Australian Public Service Commission's 2020 State of the Service report, which highlighted a concerning trend toward casualisation of the public service.
Last year marked the sector's lowest proportion of ongoing employees, representing 87.5 per cent, or 132,101, of the workforce.
Of the 18,373 non-ongoing staff, a little more than 10,000 were casual staff. The increased casual, non-ongoing workforce was mostly tasked with dealing with the bushfire and COVID-19 response.
Both Services Australia and the tax office were responsible for adding around 3000 extra employees to cope with the increased workloads.