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Issue #1556      18 July 2012

Fewer jobs doesn’t equal greater efficiency

The union for federal public servants is warning the government that it needs to stop cutting jobs in its drive to find public sector efficiencies or risk damaging the services provided to Australians.

The call comes in response to the release of the government’s Driving Efficiency in the Australian Government report that details plans to cut $13 billion from the public sector over nine years.

“Our members support the community’s legitimate expectation for an efficient public service, but too many of these savings are cutting jobs and services,” Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said.

The report itemises savings through whole-of-government purchasing of technology and equipment, reduced travel expenses and better managed office arrangements, but says little about the 4,300 people out of work in the past year.

“Our members are reporting that they have more work to do with less staff and that’s really straining the system. The effect is borne out in the figures too, for instance in the past year from April to April the Department of Human Services, which includes Centrelink and Medicare, lost 1,200 workers but for the same period they received a million extra calls,” she said.

‘’There is nothing wrong with making the public service more efficient, but cutting 4,300 jobs, as the government has done this year, does nothing to improve the effectiveness of the public service.”

Ms Flood is calling on the government to spend some time finding the smart savings.

‘’Blunt cuts like the four percent efficiency dividend doesn’t do that. The so-called efficiency dividend simply squeeze jobs and services.

“There are always better and smarter ways to do things but cutting jobs and services isn’t smart and it has a negative effect on all Australians,” she said.  

Next article – Finding the way to avoid asylum seeker deaths

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