ACT News


Public service exit rate a trickle

Only 251 federal public servants have left their jobs since the Abbott government was elected, based on latest reported figures, and most of them pocketed redundancy payouts.

An analysis of data from the Australian Public Service Gazette published since September 7 shows the vast majority of public servants who left their jobs since the election received a payout, despite the Coalition's assurances this would not happen.

Of the 251 reported ''separations'', 182 received a redundancy package, while eight senior executives received an ''incentive to retire'' payment. Eleven of the bureaucrats were declared redundant on medical grounds, four were sacked for misconduct and four were shown the door for incompetence.

The figures - about 30 departures each week - represent about one-sixth of the separation rate needed if the government is to reach its pre-election target of slashing 6000 jobs by June.

The Coalition believes its first tranche of cuts will be enough to reach its ambitious target of saving $303 million this financial year.

Then there are plans for another 6000 jobs to be cut in the 15 months between next July and September 2015, and savings of $1.2 billion in the 2014-15 financial year are expected.


The Coalition's plan calls for $1.7 billion in savings in 2015-16 and $1.92 billion in 2016-17, for a total of $5.1 billion ripped out of the federal public service in the forward-estimates period.

But the high rate of expensive redundancy payouts since the election could be problematic for the jobs reduction program, which was supposed to be achieved through natural attrition and without recourse to redundancies or mass sackings.

Meanwhile, thousands of contractors and other ''non-ongoing'' public service staff across Australia are facing an uncertain future after the announcement of a freeze on all external recruitment.

According to a bulletin to 6000 CSIRO workers from their boss Megan Clark, the extension or renewal of contracts or fixed term appointments counts as external recruitment under the "interim arrangements".

"In line with the announcement by the Government today regarding APS recruitment, I announce an immediate recruitment freeze covering the following: external recruitment; and, entering into any new, or extending existing term or contract employment arrangements," Dr Clarke wrote.

The CSIRO Chief executive said that all recruitment process would stop except where written offers had already been made.

Australian Taxation workers have been told to prepare for a "promotions drought" in the wake of the hiring freeze that could last years.

The Australian Services Union has told its ATO members that the tax office's attrition rate could see hundreds of jobs fall vacant each year with little prospect of filling them.

Union official Jeff Lapidos warned the ATO rank-and-file to prepare for tough times at work.

"In practice it means that many vacancies will not be filled," Mr Lapidos wrote.

"The ATO's 'natural attrition rate' creates hundreds of vacancies each year.

"Other vacancies will be created through the limited number of transfers at level that will be allowed.

"Promotion opportunities will be severely limited for a significant period under this approach, perhaps for the life of the current Parliament."


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