Montreal and the provincial government have created a new committee to look for ways to prevent future abuses of the system of awarding municipal contracts.

A former Parti Québécois municipal affairs and transport minister, Jacques Léonard, has been appointed to head the committee, to be made up of city bureaucrats and retired police officers.

Léonard said he will focus on bringing down the cost of public contracts.

"When contracts are inflated by as much as 30 per cent, taxpayers aren't happy," said Léonard.

Quebec's minister responsible for Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, said the new committee. which aims to prevent future abuses of the system, is the next logical step after the crackdown on past abuses by UPAC, Quebec's anti-corruption task force, and the work of the Charbonneau commission.

"What we're trying to do in Quebec is turn this thing around, so that our reputation here is that Montreal is hell for swindlers and corrupters," said Lisée.

He said Léonard is to make recommendations aimed at bringing down the price of inflated public works contracts by increasing competition, transparency, ethics and good governance.

"In the future, Montrealers will get more bang for each buck," he said.

Léonard's committee has until April to come up with recommendations.