CPSU rejects BCA plan to sack ministerial staff: media release
21 September 2012, 12:12pm
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has strongly rejected calls by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) to sack half of the staff working in Ministerial Offices.
The call for cuts was made by BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott‘s yesterday in a speech to the Institute of Public Administration Australia.
Acting CPSU National Secretary Louise Persse said the attack on Ministerial staff was "ill-considered" and a slur on the many "high calibre professionals" currently doing this work.
"We reject completely the BCA's suggestions that Ministerial staffers are ‘political gatekeepers' who are somehow undermining long-term policy development in the public service.
"Ministerial staff play a crucial, co-operative role in Government. They are right there at the intersection - where Government meets the public service and other stakeholders, including business.
"They do great work engaging with industry, community and business representatives. They are across many complex problems and work incredibly long hours. And with the advent of social media and the 24 hour news cycle, their jobs are becoming even more demanding.
"The BCA is perfectly entitled to disagree with government policy, but it should refrain from hacking into hard-working staffers who are simply trying to do a tough job well. This attack looks like sour grapes over the BCA's stalled policy agenda.
Ms Westacott's speech also called for other major changes to the APS including:
the return of permanent tenure for departmental secretaries
a reduction in the size of government
an audit of the scope of government
productivity measures for the public sector
outsourcing service delivery
new performance management systems and moves to make it easier to cut jobs.
Ms Persse said she agreed with Ms Westacott's that the public service is a critical institution which needs strengthening, however she though many of the BCA's prescriptions would actually make things worse.
"You will not strengthen the public service's long-term policy capacity by cutting it further, outsourcing services to the private sector and increasing forced redundancies.
"It's disappointing to see the BCA seemingly backing Tony Abbott's proposal for massive cuts to the public sector through yet another Commission of Audit.
"The biggest risk to the public service's capacity is not the changing dynamics of politics. It is the relentless drive for savings leading to an exodus of talent and a paucity of investment," said Ms Persse.
To arrange media comment contact Dermot Browne CPSU Communications Director 0408 265 081