The Queensland Audit Office says most state government departments fall short of adequately measuring their efficiency and effectiveness.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has defended his government against a scathing report criticising how poorly its departments measure value for money.

The Queensland Audit Office’s Monitoring and Reporting Performance Report, tabled on Thursday, sought to determine how well the state’s 20 core departments measured, monitored and publicly reported on their non-financial performance.

It found the majority of departments reports fell well short of measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the services they delivered.

“With the present sharp focus and debate on the ways and means to achieve fiscal neutrality and to reduce public debt, the widespread lack of service standards and targets for the efficiency of services is of particular concern,” the report read.

“Not knowing whether major government services are cost-efficient hampers effective decision making.”

The report said the lack of adequate measurements made it hard to say whether there were any significant savings to be made from outsourcing of services.

But Mr Newman said the report was focused only on measurements of efficiency, not how efficient his government actually was.

“The auditor-general is talking about the measurement of improvements … I’m talking about the actual delivery, the improvements the government has already delivered,” Mr Newman told reporters.

“The results speak for themselves.”

When asked whether the audit office was wrong about the difficulty in measuring the benefits of outsourcing, Mr Newman replied: “Well, you’ve got your comment.”

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the report showed the government was unable to financially justify outsourcing services to the private sector.

“Campbell Newman’s addiction to asset sales and outsourcing will lead to more job cuts and higher cost of living for Queensland families,” Mr Pitt said in a statement.

“The premier and his treasurer (Tim Nicholls) must be very embarrassed that $27 billion of annual expenditure in the budget service delivery statements has no efficiency and effectiveness measures.”

The report put forth a range of recommendations, including requiring departments to publish an audited performance statement in their annual reports to complement their audited financial statements.

It would help counter a “lack of commitment by executive and senior management to performance monitoring and reporting”, it said.