Crack in the staffing cap

After years of sustained pressure from CPSU members, the Government has finally admitted tonight that their staffing cap policy for the public sector is not working. It is failing the Australian community who rely on public services and the public sector employees working so hard to deliver those services.

But after years of deep staffing cuts and budget cuts, the Government has gone nowhere near far enough to repair the damage they’ve done.

CPSU members welcome the announcement of an increase of 5,364 APS jobs, but the reality is that this restores less than half of the over 13,000 jobs that the Government have cut since they took power.

Of particular concern is the announcement of 800 jobs cut from Services Australia and Centrelink, which will result in more of the problems that Australians have come to know and dread – dropped calls, hours of waiting on phones and at Service Centres and ultimately an inability to access help when people need it most.

Tonight, was a huge missed opportunity to offer certainty to the 25,000 labour hire workers who serve the public via expensive and ineffective labour hire contract arrangements. The Government should have dealt with this problem by cutting out the expensive private companies and delivered better services with more employees at the same cost.

And on wages the Government has again done nothing. They know that wages have been too low for too long, and yet the Budget does nothing to change that, but instead locks in real wage cuts in the public sector. The Government should be leading by example in delivering real wages to Australian workers.

Quotes attributable to CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly:

“While we’re glad that they’ve finally heard what public sector workers have been saying for years – that arbitrary staffing caps don’t work – the 5,000 jobs they’ve announced tonight restore less than half of the 13,000 they’ve cut since 2013.

“On this Government’s watch wages have stagnated for the longest period on record, and tonight there is no plan to change that. The Government is asking business to do the heavy lifting on wage growth while refusing to do any themselves.”

“Before the Budget we heard a lot from Treasurer Frydenberg about increasing services and investing in community to stimulate our economy, but tonight they are cutting 800 jobs from Services Australia and Centrelink. At a time when the community has never relied on Centrelink and Services Australia more than ever, they are cutting the very services people need.

“For those hundreds of thousands of Australians still recovering from this crisis, these cuts mean that you will continue to face long call queues when calling Centrelink, and more unanswered calls.”

Media contact: Alex West 0427 359 316