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Public service ‘fear campaign’

ABC News, Feb 24

Meanwhile, the union lobby is raising fears a Liberal Government could reduce the public service by 1,500 jobs.

The Liberals have announced they would shed 500 full-time equivalent positions over two years.

Tom Lynch of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says if those positions are converted to jobs on the ground, including part-time and casual, the number is trebled.

Mr Lynch says he wants honesty from politicians before the election.

“What they need to talk about is the services that can be provided with the budget that’s available and then matching the staff up to that,” he said.

“Not saying we’re going to cut 500 jobs, but not say where they’re going to come from or which services are no longer going to be provided because of the cuts that you’re making.

“We’ve had that. It hasn’t worked, things are at crisis point now.”

The Shadow Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, says that is rubbish, and unions are trying to frighten public servants.

“No services will be cut and in fact what we’re doing is re-prioritising our savings and ensuring that we strengthen the frontline,” he said.

“There’ll be more than 100 new teachers, more than 100 new health professionals and more than 100 new police as part of our plans.”

Warning over move to change super

The CPSU warns there could be legal challenges to a move by an Upper House MP for thousands of public servants to take a superannuation cut.

Western Tiers MLC Greg Hall is writing to all political parties calling on them to make changes to the Defined Benefits Scheme, which closed in 1999.

Mr Hall wants public servants under the scheme who are still working to be transferred to the current, less generous superannuation scheme.

He says the state can no longer afford the old scheme.

“Treasury, I think, need to do some modelling on this matter because…as the Auditor-General quite clearly pointed out we do have a massive unfunded liability of some $6 billion plus, which could potentially cripple our forward budgets,” he said.

Mr Lynch says Mr Hall’s plan would result in legal challenges.

“I think Greg Hall’s plan announced today is naive and shows that he’s out of touch with reality,” he said.

“Going in and changing the conditions of employment of 22,000 public sector workers after they’ve effectively entered into a contract with you just seems completely unrealistic.”

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