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Liberal’s Alternative Budget

THE STATE Opposition released its alternative budget last week and there’s no good news for Tasmanian public sector workers. Under a plan it calls a ‘right-sized’ public service it intends to cut a further 500 full-time equivalent jobs, 250 in both 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Libs say these cuts will be made without removing ‘frontline’ jobs in health, education and police, so that means even greater pain for those who aren’t nurses, doctors, teachers or police. The Opposition goal will be achieved through targeted redundancy programs, natural attrition, internal agency management, inter-agency vacancy control and redeployment across agencies, ruling out forced redundancies. The plan also says a reduction of a further 10 SES positions would be achievable. Unfortunately the alternative budget gives no indication of what services to the community will no longer be available due to these cuts to the public sector.

The Liberal budget also includes merging the Department of Economic Development Tourism & the Arts and the Department of Infrastructure Energy & Resources to create a Department of State Growth. This will cost further jobs with the estimated annual savings now being listed at $5M per annum – equivalent to around 60 FTE jobs.

The alternative budget provides $1.1 million per year to give Teacher Assistants and school support staff up to one week of extra paid hours during the school term, and the plan outlines that a Liberal government would extend all Tasmanian high schools to year 12 within a decade, while keeping colleges open. There’s been significant debate in the past week about the practicality of delivering high quality grade 11/12 courses in every high school with many education experts wondering where the skilled teachers will be found to achieve this.

An extra $76 million would be found for elective surgery and an additional $2 million to support people with a disability, but $95 million will be pulled from Forestry Tasmania which raises the question about whether FT can continue to operate. If FT was to fail as a result of this policy it could cost up to a further 315 FTE jobs.

The plan includes centralising property and facilities management across the state service and reducing money spent on supplies and consumables to save about $18.5 million per annum. It’s understood centralising property management will see around 20 less jobs in this area.

The Opposition also has plans for reducing the government car fleet and ministerial limousines, putting the Fox Eradication Taskforce in a new unit that would look to protect the state’s biosecurity, and Integrity Commission “efficiency” among other measures.

You can find the full document here.

Read the Examiner news article here.

Read the ABC news article here.

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