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“Austerity approach”: CPSU/CSA’s overview of the WA budget

TIMES are tough for the public service in Western Australia.

The CPSU/CSA recently released a publication on the state budget. The title says it all: Swept under the carpet. The truth behind the 2013-2014 State Budget.

The report states that public services that were already struggling to meet current demands are now being further undermined through funding and job cuts.

“We believe that there is an ever increasing burden being placed upon not-for-profit organisations as a result of under resourcing within the public sector and the movement away from service delivery.”

This cutting and tightening approach comes as the WA economy is set to grow and state revenue growth is expected to speed up. 

The WA government has placed a cap on salary growth for agencies at the projected growth of Perth CPI, which if adhered to, will mean a smaller public service.

The public sector is also expected to do more with less, with the budget showing a declining level of resources to achieve the same outputs.

The report also describes a drive to privatise parts of the public service, including a hospital.

In the vital area of Child Protection, there’s a sharp increase in demand for services but a limit to salary expenses means current staffing levels will need reducing.

In terms of service to the community, the report found that Western Australia’s most disadvantaged would be the hardest hit from the cuts, in areas such as Child Protection and Disability Services. Schools will also have less funding and staff, with 350 education assistants and 150 central and regional office staff set to lose their jobs. A unit that provides advice and reviews to government about policy impacts on vulnerable groups in society is also going to be cut.

Find the full report here.

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