Yesterday's National Party leadership change must refocus the junior coalition partner on employment opportunities in rural and regional areas after years of cuts.

CPSU is calling on the new Nationals leadership team to immediately reverse the damage done to public services and regional economies by the Coalition’s deep cuts to public sector jobs.

Since coming to power in 2013 the Coalition has overseen a net cut of more than 1700 federal public service jobs or 18% out of regional Australia, including cuts to the CSIRO, ATO and Centrelink.

The job cuts have fallen heavily on regions affected by drought, with CPSU providing evidence to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee Inquiry into Drought Relief that more than 18% of federal public sector jobs were cut from drought-affected areas.

The CPSU submission calculates the cuts have so far cost more than $665 million in lost wages, with the total economic damage now topping more than $1.2 billion.

These enormous cuts to regional communities mean that in effect these communities have funded their own drought relief via APS job cuts.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO CPSU ASSISTANT NATIONAL SECRETARY MICHAEL TULL:

“These cuts don’t just mean a reduction in the services that rural communities deserve, they also have a deep economic impact as communities try to tackle the economic impact of drought.

“Declining public sector job numbers have a flow-on effect, resulting in less consumer spending, affecting small businesses in regional communities, and creating greater uncertainty that discourages private sector investment.

“Public service jobs should be an anchor point for regional communities in tough times, providing jobs, wages, and economic activity that towns can rely on. At the exact time that communities were struggling with the drought and needed every job and dollar possible, the government made the situation worse by cutting key public service jobs.

“The Coalition government likes to point to the temporary drought relief payments it has made to the regions but once you do the maths on the public sector job cuts it is clear that the temporary relief has been funded by ongoing cuts. It is an untenable situation and one that the new National party leadership team should act on immediately by reversing the job cuts.”

MEDIA CONTACT: ALEX WEST 0427 359 316

CPSU submission to Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport here.