Civilian cuts bad news for our Defence forces too: CPSU
1 May 2012, 11:34pm
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has warned that expected cuts to civilian jobs in next weeks Federal Budget are a threat to the Defence Department's capacity.
The union's comments follow mediareports today suggesting more than $3billion may be cut from future military hardware spending and civilian personnel.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said the expected cuts affecting civilian staff were "short-sighted" and would see "military personnel put behind desks rather than in the field."
"Defence civilian staff provide vital support functions for uniformed personnel including: logistics, administration, air traffic control, legal support, humans resources, finances, accounting, intelligence, research, psychology, physiotherapy, linguistic support and training," said Ms Flood.
"If civilian staff numbers fall any further, frontline uniformed personnel will have to perform the many back-of-house functions a modern defence force requires.
"The idea that you can keep cutting Defence personnel without compromising the ability of our armed forces is wrong" said Ms Flood.
More than 1000 civilian staff positions have been cut from Defence over the past 12 months and a further thousand are expected to disappear due to the Government's decision to increase the so-called "efficiency dividend" from 1.5% to 4% for 2012/13.
The union is also concerned about the impact deep cuts would have on jobs in regional and rural Australia.
"Defence currently has 22,500 civilian staff, two-thirds of whom work outside Canberra in towns such as Albury Wodonga, Nowra, Townsville, Newcastle and Darwin."
"Deep cuts to Defence will destroy many vitally needed jobs in struggling regional communities across Australia," said Ms Flood.
The expected cuts in Defence follow cutbacks in many public service departments including Veteran's Affairs; Human Services; Health and Aging; Treasury; Employment, Education and Workplace Relations; Climate Change; the Bureau of Statistics; and Resources, Energy and Tourism.
The CPSU is calling on the Government not to make any further cuts to the public service.
"Services are already stretched to the limit. Customers are facing longer queues and waiting times. Another round of cuts now is a bad idea," said Ms Flood.
To arrange media comment contact Dermot Browne 0408 265 081 (CPSU Communications Director)
Ben Ruse 0409 510 879 (Essential Media Communications)