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Budget hits Canberra hard as 4000 jobs axed


Emma Macdonald, Peter Jean

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'Election budget without an election'

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The ACT receives slim pickings in new Commonwealth budget spending this year and instead will be hit by thousands of public service job losses and tens of millions of dollars in cuts to operating budgets across major cultural institutions and government agencies.

Headline losses for the ACT include an estimated 4000 public sector job cuts across a raft of agencies, including Defence, Tax and Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

<em>Illustration: David Pope</em>

Illustration: David Pope

Over the three-year forward estimates, these job cuts are expected to balloon to more than 12,000.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics and CSIRO – both of which have their headquarters in Canberra – have also been targeted with major budget cuts.

The ABS will lose $255 million in operating expenses next year from a total budget of  $640 million. While a sizeable proportion of last year’s budget allocation was to support the 2011 national census and the drop in funding is not unexpected, efficiencies are expected to be made and a further $23 million cut is slated for 2013-14. The ABS is also earmarked for 680 job losses although the Budget papers state this number is “predominantly” due to the end of contract staff who worked on the census.

The CSIRO stands to lose $25 million in operating expenses next year and 116 staff.

The National Library takes a $4 million cut and 10 job losses.

The National Film and Sound Archive loses four jobs and $1 million in funding.

Likewise the National Museum loses four jobs and $1 million and the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman loses 23 staff.

Even Parliament House will be hit – the Department of Parliamentary Services taking a $3 million cut and losing 18 positions. The capital works budget also takes a $26 million hit although $2.6 million will be allocated to upgrade disability access to the building.

The House of Representatives gains one staff position while the Senate loses six and Old Parliament House loses five.

The Civil Aviation Authority loses $4 million and Canberra Airport will have to deliver  partial cost recovery of airport policing – a saving likely to be recouped by increased passenger charges.

The  High Court loses $1 million and two positions.

As revealed yesterday in The Canberra Times, the National Capital Authority will receive $2.4 million next year as part of an $11.9 million four-year injection to ensure its continuing financial viability following recommendations from the Hawke Review.

Manuka Oval will receive a $2.5 million Commonwealth contribution towards its lighting upgrade in a cost-share arrangement with the ACT Government.

The National Portrait Gallery will receive $2.7 million over three years to establish it as a statutory authority – the funding to support a governing board and additional staff.

As previously reported in The Canberra Times, the Australian War Memorial will receive $27 million to refurbish its First World War galleries as part of an $83.5 million national pool to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First world War and Anzac Centenary.

The War Memorial also receives a $3 million general recurrent funding boost and will receive $11 million in capital works spending next year.

The national collecting institutions will share in an addition $39.3 million over four years to allow them to better deliver services to the community.

Next year the National Archives will receive $800,000, the National Library, $700,000, the National Museum, $600,000, the War Memorial $600,000 and the National Gallery $400,000. Old Parliament House will receive $200,000 and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies will receive $100,000 under the supplementary funding.

But Canberra’s bid to house the first Islamic Museum of Australia has been rebuffed – with the $1.5 million project going to Melbourne.

Plans for a pedestrian path to link Civic and Parliament House were allocated $100,000 for a feasibility study to look at potential routes and signage for the walk.

Meanwhile, Canberra’s battle for a high speed rail link continues as the government spends $20 million over four years to continue feasibility studies.

41 comments so far

  • Europe and America have experienced austerity measures already. Its now our turn, and unfortunately for us just the tip of the iceberg. I can't believe people thought we would be untouched by the GFC and its fallout.

    Reality Cheque
    Date and time
    May 08, 2012, 7:57PM
    • You're on the money there RC - With this many job losses in the public sector and the effect it will have on other services around town, Canberra is going to look a lot like Madrid, minus the tapas bars.

      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 12:20AM
    • I can not believe how ridiculously selfish most of you people are. Australia and Australians,and in particular Canberrans, are infinitely more better off than people in almost any other country in the world at the moment. I am self employed and whilst things have been a little slower over the past twelve months,I accept that things go in cycles and it will improve again, in fact it already has already improved in the last month or so.

      As far as job losses in Canberra are concerned, the fact is that most job losses will be by natural attrition (and just not replaced) and no one ever gets "sacked" from the Public service. People will be offered packages and quite a few people will actually snap them up. As for all you whining people like @Martin Says , who are on salaries greater than 100K, yes you may have worked hard to get it but that doesn't mean that those who cant get work should starve to death or live under the stars or that people who choose to have children are robbing you of government benefits. what a selfish inconsequential little man you are.

      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 6:04PM
    • I love it when yuppies whinge about 'breeders' getting any help from govt. So how did you come into the world yuppies- did you hatch?
      I raised 4 kids- and I work hard too. The paltry govt assistance is just pocket money.

      mr bojangles
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 7:26PM
  • More middle class welfare.
    People need to cease their sense of entitlement for government handouts and government should stop pandering to it.

    Date and time
    May 08, 2012, 9:19PM
    • I am sick to death of breeders getting government hand out,not only do my tax dollars go to them,I supplement them with my private health insurance..My private Health Insurance is $180 a month,yet a family with 4 kids on 2 wages is about $184 a month...I earn about $105K a year and taxed hard,have to pay my own mortgage,my own electricity,my own rates,with no bloody government assistance,and yet will recieve nothing when the Carbon Tax comes in...I am incensed..I have had a gutfull,this BS has to stop,I vote too.

      Martin says
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 10:04AM
    • Yeah. I love how they say these handouts are the big cushion for the carbon tax. Only to the few greedy people with young kids! The rest of us will carry the full load evidently. There's a lot of us out there in the $50k-$60k income bracket who can't afford a home, and are becoming increasingly resentful at being taxed so our money can be given to comfortably-off FAMILIES.

      rural NSW
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 12:14PM
    • @Martin says, totally agree with you. I'm in the same boat. I'm 30 and earn a little more than you.
      I worked hard to get where i am and what i earn. I get taxed hard. I get zero government assistance. why should i be punished? because i earn 'too much'? because i don't have kids?

      Canberra and sometimes Brisbane
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 1:33PM
  • Good to see they are cutting the PS. Cannot wait until liberal win power and sack 3 times more.
    Most of these self entitled public servants cannot survive in the real world, yet do nothing but complain about how bad they have it even on excellent wages.
    With Canberra's property market bubble already deflating, wait until these job cuts hit home.
    On another note I love how all the rich come out with 'oh well I might as well quit my job and go on the dole.' Lets see you do it!!! I would never give up my job and go on the dole, no one is on easy street if they get the dole!!

    Date and time
    May 08, 2012, 9:55PM
    • well said evanism, the public service is a joke. In one dept where i worked we offered automatic Service Management reporting free from the s/w tool. Users we furious, "but thats what i do all day", recently i tried to get selection criteria off human services, the ad said to email them, i did, they responded with the link. Why did they just not out the link in the ad and save at least 1 HR position? The public service needs to automate as many positions as possible and remove the dead wood whose only purpose seems to be to organise cake days.

      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 6:01AM

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