Public Sector cuts
YESTERDAY the Treasurer made a ministerial statement to parliament on the government ‘s plans for the public sector.
Contributions to the parliamentary debate by the Treasurer and the Premier were cold and lacked empathy. They seemed almost triumphant in announcing the number of jobs they would be cutting – indicating no understanding the impact their decisions would have on real people and the services they provide our community.
What the Treasurer didn’t tell parliament was that Cabinet has demanded Agencies identify all 821 FTE positions to go and provide these details to a Cabinet sub-committee by 4 December. How Agencies are expected to make decisions about services to be cut, undertake the consultation required and provide employees with an opportunity to respond – all in the next 5 week – is unclear.
Read the ministerial statement below:
The cuts aren’t strategic. Agencies now have the number of FTE positions they need to cut but there has been no proper assessment of the skills, knowledge or experience needed to continue to deliver services so it’s inevitable required skills will leave the sector and will have to be bought back in the future.
What does this mean for the community? It means services they rely on will continue to crumble, and Tasmanians will notice the impact soon enough.
None of you will be surprised to hear the government is blaming unions for the cuts but remember – we offered a plan that would save all 500 of the additional job losses this year, we offered to make the saving needed to save all 500 additional job losses next year and we offered to participate in a ‘root and branch’ review that would have ensured and reduction in jobs was done strategically. The Hodgman government refused point black to meet with us to resolve these issues because it always intended to cut the jobs – it was just trying to shift the blame for its broken election promise.
The Treasurer told parliament yesterday that 644 public sector workers had expressed interest in a workplace renewal incentive and 179 for a voluntary redundancy. If this is true it seems the cuts will be achieved fairly quickly but raises a whole range of questions about the capacity of those remaining to pick up the work being done by the 821 FTE positions going. Member meeting will be arranged over the next month to consider the issues arising from this and how we should respond.
The cuts will come from:
A number of Members have sent through updates their Head of Agency distributed after the Treasurer’s announcements yesterday. It’s amazing how similar the wording of each update is – even though they purport to be from the Head of Agency. It’s also amazing how political they are – trumpeting the deal done with the Police Association in Agencies that have nothing to do with Police. It’s a sad day when the messages Heads of Agency send out to their staff are written in political offices by government advisers rather than allowing senior public sector workers to act apolitically – as required under the State Service Act.