Cormann nonsense doesn’t hide Coalition’s anti-APS agenda

The CPSU has condemned new Public Service Minister Mathias Cormann for his nonsensical defence of the Coalition Government’s attacks on the Australian Public Service.

The Minister has indicated the Coalition’s costly, wasteful and opaque overuse of contractors, consultants and labour hire will continue, lining the pockets of multinational corporations including EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG. The Government’s own figures show this costs more than directly employing public servants. 

Senator Cormann made these comments yesterday at the APSWide Conference, in his first major speech since taking on the portfolio after former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was deposed.

CPSU National President Alistair Waters said: “Minister Mathias Cormann has put the neoliberal ideology that underpins this Government’s approach to the Australian Public Service up in neon lights. This speech makes it clear the Coalition will continue to put the interests of big business before those of ordinary Australians who rely on public services and the public sector workers who work hard to provide those services.”

“Senator Cormann has clearly never bothered to learn what ‘efficiency’ and ‘productivity’ actually mean. There is nothing vaguely efficient or productive about sacking hardworking public sector workers, then paying a premium to the private sector to do the same work with a lower paid, insecure workforce.”

“This Government’s arbitrary ASL cap means our members lose their jobs while labour hire firms cash in. Departments are forced to pay fees to multinationals to hire labour hire workers, who are paid less, treated worse and rarely kept on long enough to develop their skills and expertise.”

“A Parliamentary committee recently heard the big four consulting firms refer to the Commonwealth as ‘The Dairy’, because they are milking us for all we are worth. This Government has given $1.7 billion to Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY while stripping the APS of expertise and capacity that could do a better job of the same work for a fraction of the cost. That appears to be the Coalition’s true vision for our APS.”

“It’s mind boggling for Minister Cormann to argue that cuts are good for the APS, given the deep and lasting damage the Coalition has caused to essential services like Medicare and Centrelink. The Coalition needs to stop treating the APS like a magic pudding, with slice after slice given over to boost the profits of the private sector. Every cut damages the essential services provided to the Australian community, like the recent decision to cut local forecasting at the Bureau of Meteorology.”

“This stands in stark contrast to Labor’s plans for the public service and the essential services it provides to our community. The Opposition has committed to a number of measures to begin repairing the damage caused to the APS, including scrapping the ASL cap and redirecting costing spending on consultants and contractors directly into public sector capacity and expertise.”