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Budget Estimates: Hodgman government’s numbers on job cuts don’t add up

IN SEPTEMBER 2014 after Hodgman government failed to have its wage freeze legislation passed in the Legislative Council it announced it would need to increase the number of jobs it would cut from the Tasmanian public sector by 700 FTE to a total of 1,200 FTE.

In February 2015 the Hodgman government released public sector employment figures indicating that between June 2014 and January 2015 there was a reduction in public sector employment of 668 FTE – achieved through 162.5 FTE redundancies and 498 WRIPs. Then this week, 6 June 2016, the Hodgman government released public sector employment figures indicating that between June 2014 and March 2016 there was a reduction in public sector employment of 531 FTE – achieved through 400 redundancies and 882 WRIPs.

If the Hodgman Government is to be believed in the 15 months from January 2015 to March 2016 it actually grew the public sector workforce by 137 FTE.  Is that your experience?  Have you seen jobs in your workplace increase in the last 15 months or have you seen further job losses? The CPSU believes the difference between the story the government wants Tasmanians to hear and what is actually happening involves the failure to fill positions made vacant through WRIPs.  

There have been 882 people accept WRIPs.  According to the WRIP guidelines every one of these position is supposed to be filled – not always at the same level or in the same area but they are all supposed to be filled (which is why they’re not redundancies).  The 531 FTE that the Hodgman government now acknowledges have gone are cuts to staffing establishment.  As positions made vacant through WRIPs are supposed to be filled, they remain on the establishment but if they are not filled the impact they have on services is exactly the same as the jobs being cut.  

The Hodgman government wants Tasmanians to believe it has only cut the public sector by 531 FTE but in reality it has cut it by around 1,200 FTE.

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