Tony Abbott’s pledge to cull 12,000 jobs from the Public Service went down well with the electorate. From the time John Howard took over as Prime Minister, and even slightly before given his pledge to trim the PS in the lead up to the 1996 election, public servant bashing has become one of the Liberal’s favourite election weapons.
There is now a perception in the community that public servants are over paid, under worked, and more importantly, not needed. Nobody seems to care if there are 12,000 less of them.
Defenders of Abbott’s decision argue that nobody will be losing their job as the 12,000 places will be vacated by natural attrition. That still means though, that there will be 12,000 less jobs to be filled from the ranks of the unemployed.
But it is worse than that. ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew Blyth explains the effect in Canberra alone:
About 4500 of the 12,000 redundancies are expected to be in Canberra, although figures are yet to be finalised and the government has said the cuts will be achieved through natural attrition.
Mr Blyth quoted ACT Government figures in his letter to Mr Abbott by stating it would cost the territory economy between $350 million and $650 million.
”A recent chamber survey found a majority of respondents believe both the ACT and national economies will be weaker over the next 12 months,” he said.
The Australia Institute has predicted a plunge into recession for Canberra and up to 5500 job losses in the city’s broader economy if planned Coalition cuts to the public service go ahead.
So that’s a further 5,500 job losses to add to the promised 4,500.
Prior to the election I suggested – and it is worth repeating given the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s warning – that Tony Abbott’s promise to get rid of public service jobs was nothing more than a vote-winner without considering the consequences. When Howard won office in 1996 he murdered the Public Service in Canberra. The effects were devastating for our capital city which subsequently went into a recession.
But here’s the scary bit: this time, it won’t be confined to Canberra. From the CPSU website we learn that Townsville and Newcastle face the same uncertainty. In Townsville:
One in five Commonwealth public sector jobs and $87 million in wages could disappear from Townsville under a Coalition government, an analysis by the Community and Public Sector Union shows.
The CPSU analysis found 406 of the 2,015 or 21% of Commonwealth public sector jobs were at risk in Centrelink, Defence and Tax.
The CPSU based its calculations on the following:
– Tony Abbott’s policy of cutting at least 12,000 public sector jobs nationally by imposing a hiring freeze which would equate to a loss of 185 jobs in Townsville.
– Broad cuts to public spending needed to fund the Coalition’s election commitments would take another 69 jobs out of the economy.
– And a Commission of Audit to enable the outsourcing/offshoring of public sector work such as payroll, administration and IT which would see a further 152 jobs go.
– By taking the estimated salary for an APS employee of $76,821, the CPSU projects Townsville stands to lose $87 million cumulatively over three years.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “We have already seen what a Liberal government is doing to public services and jobs in Queensland; the last thing that Townsville needs is more cuts under a Coalition government.”
“Remember Campbell Newman promised Queenslanders they had nothing to fear from him when it came to cuts in public sector jobs and services. And then he unleashed savage cuts. “Tony Abbott says he will cut at least 12,000 jobs but those are the ones that we know about. He doesn’t want to talk about the rest because he knows that a vote for the Coalition is a vote for job cuts.”
“The community is going to be hit hard on a number of levels. If one in five jobs go that means there will be hundreds of families living in Townsville with mortgages, kids and commitments who won’t be getting a regular pay cheque.”
“The drop in staffing levels is also going to hit services which will come under increasing pressure to meet the demands of the community,” Ms Flood said.
While in Newcastle:
Nearly one in four Commonwealth public sector jobs and $132 million in wages could disappear from Newcastle and the Hunter region under a Coalition government, an analysis by the Community and Public Sector Union shows.
The full scale of the cuts across the Hunter are laid bare in a report by the CPSU which based its calculations on Coalition policies such as the imposition of hiring freezes, and the launch of a wide-ranging review into the provision of public services. The CPSU analysis found 609 of the 2,551 or almost 24% of Commonwealth public sector jobs were at risk in Centrelink, Defence and Tax, spread across the city, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie.
The CPSU based its calculations on the following:
- Tony Abbott’s policy of cutting at least 12,000 public sector jobs nationally by imposing a hiring freeze which would equate to a loss of 217 jobs in the Hunter.
- A Commission of Audit to enable the outsourcing/offshoring of public sector work such as payroll, administration and IT which would see a further 392 jobs go.
- By taking the estimated salary for an APS employee of $76,821, the CPSU projects the Hunter stands to lose $132 million cumulatively over three years.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said:
“The community is going to be hit on a number of levels. Over 600 jobs are to go, almost one in four Commonwealth public servants could be out of a job; that’s hundreds of families living in the Hunter with mortgages, kids and commitments who won’t be getting a regular pay cheque. By our calculations the region stands to lose $132 million in wages over three years.”
“The drop in staffing levels is also going to hit services which will come under increasing pressure to meet the demands of the community.”
The CPSU’s report follows a similar one launched in June by the Public Service Association of NSW which estimated that under NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell 1600 state public sector jobs will be lost.
Ms Flood said: “Given the depth of cuts under the O’Farrell government the last thing Newcastle needs is more cuts under Abbott.”
It says something when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a union agree on the same issue.
It could be even more frightening if the jobs are made redundant through the cancellation of services. While researching for a Public Service report a few years ago it was discovered that for every Public Service job lost when a program is cancelled or completed, up to three private sector jobs are at risk. Tony Abbott’s promise to cut public spending fires a warning shot that this might very well happen.
These are the job losses that Tony Abbott didn’t want to tell you about.
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