Public services and jobs still under pressure

The Budget has done nothing to repair the serious damage that this Government’s cuts have already wreaked on services and jobs since it came to office.

And public services and jobs will continue to be hit by this Budget if the Abbott Government ramps up its program of outsourcing and privatisation, according to the Community and Public Sector Union.

Government has stated that 17,300 public sector jobs have been cut since September 2013, while the Budget confirms 9847 jobs were cut in 2014-15 alone, a 5.6% cut to the public sector.

Overall public sector staffing will remain stable in 2015-16, though the Bureau of Meteorology (6.9%, 102 jobs) and Defence (5.1%, 980 jobs) will all have further significant cuts.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “This Government has already cut over 17,000 jobs since it took office and this Budget does nothing to restore those cuts. It will be cold comfort for public sector workers struggling under the weight of previous cuts and who are also facing attacks on their rights, conditions and real wages.

“Government has gutted the Tax Office with 2953 jobs gone in one year, but is restoring just 43 of these jobs for a supposed move to make multinationals pay tax. Australians aren’t stupid; they can do the maths on that one.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has also been hit hard, losing 102 jobs. Government has done nothing to restore capacity to the CSIRO, with 533 jobs gone in 2014-15 and just one extra job for them in this Budget.

“There is nothing in this Budget that redresses the deep cuts to jobs and services from last. Nothing in this Budget will fix the queues at Centrelink, or put tax workers back on the ground to ensure big business and multinationals pay their fair share of tax or better fund science and innovation. You cut the public service and you end up cutting services for the public. It’s as simple as that.” she said.

Ms Flood noted the merger of Defence and DMO would cost 980 jobs, after 1151 were cut in 2014-15. She noted: “This is a tough decision for Defence and DMO staff, making Defence one of the hardest hit Commonwealth agencies.”

Ms Flood said: “The Government is not going to fix the Budget by cutting the public service. Our public service is one of the most efficient globally and costs just 6% of the Commonwealth’s budget to run each year. Yet this Government continues to talks it down as inefficient and wasteful. This is nothing but political spin.”

And she added that the CPSU is concerned about the expansion of the Government’s so-called ‘Transforming the Public Sector’ programme, which is focussed on contestability, outsourcing and further cuts under the guise of efficiency. ‘Efficiency reviews’ have been announced in a further eight Government departments, including at the Tax Office and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“Given this Government’s track record it’s hard not to be suspicious. The Abbott Government has already put a For Sale sign over the Medicare payments system so it has form.”

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