The Premier has handed down his State Budget. We set a simple test for the Government: fulfill its promise to fund both a stadium at Macquarie Point, and fund the services Tasmanians need and rely on.
The Premier has failed comprehensively to deliver on that promise.
Not only will agency budgets not be indexed to assist with rising costs, an efficiency dividend by stealth – the Treasurer also announced that he would be raising the Gutwein Government’s public sector efficiency dividend from its grave – at a cost of $300m to agency budgets. The budget papers also set out a plan to see public sector staffing reduced to 30 June 2022 levels. It also includes:
- No workforce development fund to recruit, train and retain the workforce needed to deliver services. There is some funding for teachers and for community and private industry to develop their workforce capability.
- Some investment in digital infrastructure (mostly in health) but far below the level required to improve efficiency and accessibility to services.
- No investment public sector reform.
- Limited investment in critical services currently at risk of service delivery failure. As in previous years there is money for infrastructure, but not for staff. There is limited project funding or investment in the out years for services that are stretched and at breaking point today.
- Nothing for managing the psycho-social health and safety risks of public sector work. Some limited funding to DPFEM for those on workers compensation.
The Premier promised his Government could walk and chew gum: their ambitions for a stadium in Macquarie Point would not come at the expense of increasing funding to address the crisis conditions facing key areas of our public sector.
As the Budget shows, that promise has not been kept.
The biggest gap in the budget is around workforce: across Australia there is an arms race for workers. Years of chronic under resourcing and under staffing is driving a recruitment and retention crisis in our state’s schools, TasTAFE, child protection system, prisons, parks, and emergency services.
It’s up to us to push back against these changes, to hold the Premier to account and ensure independents on the crossbench and in the Legislative Council hear the impacts passing these cuts will have on you, the services you deliver, and the communities who rely on them.
On Monday 5 June, Budget Estimates commences. We will be talking with opposition parties and independents about the scrutiny we would like to see. Let us know what questions you want asked.
What do you think about the State Budget? Email us your thoughts and or tell us about the impacts – whether it’s vacancies that will continue to go unfilled, outsourcing to labour hire, or consequences of unmet demand.
Community & Public Sector Union (SPSFT)