Taxpayers paying for drumming courses for Federal MPs' staff

GOVERNMENT staff are learning to twist their bodies like pretzels, bang on drums and become "emotionally intelligent" through new-age programs costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tender documents reveal federal ministers are spending an exorbitant amount of money on staff training for activities such as yoga, percussion workshops and role-playing, Labor MP Pat Conroy said.

Programs included an $88,000 course to help former immigration minister Scott Morrison's staff improve their "emotional intelligence" and a $20,000 contract giving public servants team-building activities including drumming and "inclusive, non-threatening outdoor activities".

Another department forked out $10,900 to subsidise employees' yoga lessons outside work hours.

Mr Conroy said the yoga funding was approved by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane as a means to release public sector workers from "the grip of the mind and the senses".

Meanwhile, he said the country's car manufacturing had all but died under Mr Macfarlane's stewardship and the CSIRO has been subject to extreme cuts to funding and jobs.

Mr Conroy said former minister Kevin Andrews approved an $11,162.40 program to engage professional actors to "practise" workplace scenarios with staff.

"It is the government that claims we are in a fiscal emergency," Mr Conroy said.

"If that's the case why do we have Ministers allowing their departments to spend tens of thousands of dollars on yoga, drumming and professional actors?" he said.

"Where is the fairness in the government splurging thousands of taxpayer dollars on dubious training exercises, when this could provide around 6000 visits to the doctor without a GP tax?

"It's just a joke. I know the government has shown us their ability to hold multiple positions on policy, but yoga training is taking it a bit far."

Mr Macfarlane declined to comment when contacted.


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