PS chiefs echo CPSU concerns as 'efficiency' dividend claims more jobs
23 February 2012, 7:30am
Standing up for jobs and services: CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood
A growing number of senior public servants are speaking out about the damage budget cuts and the so-called efficiency dividend are doing to their agencies.
At recent Senate Estimates hearings several agency heads confirmed that they are having to cut jobs and services to meet the Federal Government's increased efficiency dividend.
The Office of the Information Commissioner's Professor John McMillan said: "If we are forced to further reduce staff numbers, I hold a genuine concern that we will not be able to discharge our functions effectively. I believe that it will be embarrassing both to the reputation of the office and the success of the new open government measures if we are unable through staffing pressures to reduce the backlog.''
National Museum Director, Andrew Sayers said 20 redundancies had been offered over 2010/2011 and more Museum services are likely to be wound back in the future. "The temporary exhibitions program has been reduced, the smaller exhibitions in the museum have been reduced from 12 to six," he said.
The National Gallery's Ron Radford reported that 17 jobs have already gone. "We've all had to live with efficiency dividends for over 20 years under successive governments and if it continues for the next decades there'll be no money left for anybody," he said.
Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson also told Senate Estimates hearings she may no longer be able to fulfill her key responsibilities due to the efficiency dividend. "Its impact, even in the first year, will be very substantial," she said. "My expectation is that it will both result in some staffing losses and in some program work having to be dropped."
And its not just smaller agencies feeling the pinch. This week the Department of Employment Educations and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) announced it's cutting 500 positions while Treasury will cut 150. Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced plans to cut 75 jobs in the coming year.
CPSU National Secretary, Nadine Flood said it is now "absolutely clear" that the Government's budget cuts are directly causing job losses and service reductions.
"We expect to see similar announcements in coming months as other public sector departments struggle to cut their budgets. After years of cuts and so-called efficiency measures, the truth is many agencies have nothing left to cut but jobs and services. It's a no-brainer. When a $2.2 billion cut is imposed across the service, job losses will follow.
"These announcements are bad news for DEEWR, ABS and Treasury staff. But it's also a blow for the many industries, businesses and government agencies that rely on the expert advice and support these talented staff produce. For a government that is so focused on employment, cutting 500 jobs from your own employment department is not a great look.
"We are increasingly concerned that the Government's relentless program of cuts will drive talented and experienced staff out of the workforce. By continuing to impose deep cuts on the public sector, we risk losing many unique and highly skilled people. These are skills that have been built up over many years and will take a generation to recover. It is a false economy," said Ms Flood.
CPSU members fighting back
With your support the CPSU is determined to:
hold the Government and agencies accountable for the negative effects of these cuts
represent your issues directly to Government including services, redeployment, workloads, working hours, access to leave and other entitlements
take a leading role in the national debate about the role of public services