Public sector union responds to Prime Minister’s remarks on the public service

The Prime Minister’s remarks this morning to the Institute of Public Administration Australia outlined the Government’s desire to have policy settings that enable digital delivery, cross-collaboration and a service focus. These are welcome, but at odds with the ideological cuts to the public service this government has implemented.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said, “We welcome the focus on services and delivering for Australians, and our members in the APS will want to make this happen- for many its why they joined the public service. Getting digital delivery right is something that our members are focused on, as are the policy settings to deliver good secure jobs and therefore a strong economy. All our members want to make our services better for Australians.

“Our members will be happy to hear the influence of well-funded corporate groups will be reduced and that a service focus will focus on the needs of ordinary Australians who rely on government services.

“However, there are some things in the Prime Minister’s speech that don’t match the Government’s own policy settings, so our members will be waiting for action on those fronts. You can’t have an ideological commitment to privatisation, outsourcing, job cuts and shrinking the public service while expecting good advice, good services, and enforcement of rules like those that protect us from predatory banks. You can’t commit to ensuing our borders remain safe and say you respect the work of those officers when you advocate, as this Government did, to cut their wages to the same dollar amounts they earned in 2013.

“The service delivery failures facing many Australians - people waiting for NDIS plans, people whose farms were devastated by imported pests, people caught up in Robodebt - were caused by staff cuts.

“Our members are on the front lines of helping people to get their pensions, away from their families protecting our borders, processing our tax returns, running our courts and cultural institutions, doing cutting edge science to make our lives better. We’re glad the Prime Minister wants to support their work with policy changes; the place to start is removing the wages and staffing caps.

“It is the role of government to set the policy agenda then equip the public service to carry it out. We can’t do the first without the second. Our members tell us that they sit next to the empty desks where their colleagues used to be while people wait to get help with their pension. You can’t have it both ways: fewer staff means less work gets done. We want to work with government to deliver this agenda- so let’s build a public service that can do this.”

CPSU MEDIA CONTACT: Claire Pullen 0424 015 429