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700 jobs to go in public service cuts

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brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter

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About 700 Queenslanders will be shown the door in the first round of job cuts.

About 700 Queenslanders will be shown the door in the first round of job cuts. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

Around 700 federal public servants - mostly in Brisbane and Townsville - will lose their jobs in the next 12 months after Tuesday's federal budget.

Most will lose their jobs by October.

Some federal government staff have only recently been employed after losing their jobs in the Queensland public service when the Newman Government cut 14,000 jobs.

Based on Public Service Commission figures in the year to June 30, 2013 that give a geographic breakdown of the numbers of Commonwealth public servants in Queensland and Tuesday night’s budget figures, the Community and Public Sector Union forecasts 683 jobs in the state are at risk.

The figure represents about 9 per cent of the 7336 jobs that will go in in the next financial year as a result of the Abbott Government’s Budget.

"These are figures based on Queensland’s proportion of the job cuts nationally," CPSU state secretary Bill Marklew said.

"The CPSU will be holding talks with departments across the state in the coming weeks when we will have more detail around where exactly those cuts will fall," he said.

"Obviously we will be talking to members to give them the support that is needed in what is going to be a very difficult time. This is just the start of the process and these figures are by no means definitive.”

The biggest job losses are in the Australian Taxation Office, where between 380 and 400 positions will go, while 66 positions will go from CSIRO.

The CPSU warned further job cuts would occur after July 2015, with a total of between 1350 and 1400 Queensland positions to be axed over three years.

Townsville will also be badly affected, Mr Marklew said.

"In places like Townsville, they will take a major hit because as well as Tax, there's Defence and all these other agencies that are co-located up there like the Australian Institute of Marine Science," he said.

Defence Housing Australia, with 114 positions, will be sold. It has major offices in Townsville and Ipswich. 

Queensland Federal public sector jobs cuts first round - main areas

Taxation - 380 to 400 positions

Australian Electoral Commission - 40 positions

Defence - 39 positions

Immigration and Citizenship - 30 positions

Customs and Borders - 12 positions

CSIRO - 66 positions (nationally 489 positions)

Australian Securities Investment Commission - 20 positions

Australian Sports Commission - 15 positions

Other agencies - most lose between 2 and 5 positions each.

The Australian Taxation Office said 900 jobs had to go by June 30 nationally, and 3000 tax jobs would be lost nationally by October.

An ATO spokeswoman said they did not have a Queensland breakdown.

"We do not have final figures for people taking voluntary redundancies in Queensland as we are still in the expression of interest process," the spokeswoman said.

"Regarding future staffing reductions, we will be commencing a further voluntary redundancy expression of interest round. At this stage we do not know what level of interest there will be."

However, Brisbane-based senior bureaucrat Jane King will manage the mass-redundancy process, with the initial task of finding an extra 2100 job cuts nationally by October, with another 2600 to follow in the next four years. 

Mr Marklew said their figures came from the federal government's own budget papers.

He said new redundancy offers in the ATO began several weeks ago.

He said Queensland was "going to fare worse" than first imagined, taking a larger share of the 16,500  public service jobs cuts over three years.

"The pain is not going to be shared across all of Australia, as such," Mr Marklew said.

"The majority of the pain is going to be in Queensland and regionally, they are going to suffer."

Mr Marklew said the union had recently been contacted by staff who had lost their jobs in the Queensland public service when the Newman Government sacked 14,000. 

"I was talking to a couple last night. Not only did he lose his job in Campbell Newman's government and has secured a casual job in Human Services, but his wife also works for CSIRO," he said.

"So she is nervous that he will be the first to go because he is not permanent and that she will be out on her ear as well.

"See, all these numbers are people; they're people."

He said public servant representatives have not indicated the level of the jobs to go.

"Which is scary in itself, because that means these could be all 'lower-end' jobs."

Mr Marklew said one untold story was the 15 Queensland positions to go from the Australian Sports Commission in Queensland. 

"We are concerned that the job losses in the Australian Sports Commission will affect our Commonwealth Games preparations here in Queensland," he said.

The Gold Coast hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2018. It received $156 million in Tuesday's budget, but the breakdown of job cuts was not revealed.

CSIRO Update

The CSIRO released its Annual Directions Statement on Friday morning giving a breakdown of the organisation's research performance and strongly indicating where Queensland's job reductions will take place.

CSIRO Staff Association spokesman Anthony Keenan hoped the statement would provide some clarity to the areas of research that  might be affected.

"We expect that CSIRO management will engage in a proper consultative process to figure out where those redundancies will take place and the location of them," he said.

There are 12 CSIRO locations in Queensland, delivering different research.

Mr Keenan said the CSIRO had already identified a further 300 jobs would go nationally, before an extra 420 nationally were identified in Tuesday's budget.

"In the last 10 months there have been 440 that have already gone across the country," he said.

"And then there is another 300 that are set to go by the end of this calendar year.

"And now, because of this federal budget cut, they are saying there is another 420 that will go before the end of June 2015."

CORRECTION: This article previously referred to the Community and Public Sector Union as the Commonwealth Public Sector Union.

7 comments

  • If they follow the same process as the Qld public service the cuts will target the workers whilst the middle and executive management remain.

    Commenter
    E. Gbert
    Date and time
    May 16, 2014, 7:30AM
    • Being a retired Federal Public Servant I joined in 1971 after service in the Vietnam war I must admit I get tied of how Public Servants are Demonized by the Liberals and their apologists. It is now reported that there is a shortfall in the budget for any redundancy payments , So is this done on purpose? But people need to understand that Public Servants are an integral part of Government and simply saying we can privatize their jobs is going to work is wrong anybody who believes that is a simple minded fool . There are some services a government must provide whether they like it or not . But these days being a Public Servant in the eyes of the Tea Party Liberals is something bad and some thing to be cut from Government , just remember once services are privatized they are gone and also remember its the end user under the Liberal Tea Party ideology that pays the most and that's the Australian family. I'm yet to see where a privatized service has resulted in a cheaper service or price for the public. There are plenty of other areas that can be looked at for savings instead of the Public Service so try a bit harder Mr Abbot and Mr Hockey - but I doubt that they have the courage or guts to hurt their big friends and party donors

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      Wynnum
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 7:37AM
      • And having more people on the dole and unable to spend will boost the economy ?

        Commenter
        adam
        Location
        yarrawonga
        Date and time
        May 16, 2014, 8:06AM
        • can't understand why they have to sell defence housing they have owned the assets for many years and turn a good profit from it. it is an essential part of the defence force you can do your job better not having to worry about your family and family members are amongst people in the same situation

          Commenter
          max
          Location
          Qld
          Date and time
          May 16, 2014, 8:15AM
          • Parkinson's Law works everywhere especially in governments,and this is the usual result.
            Redundancys'.

            Commenter
            Gazzaa
            Location
            Ashgrove
            Date and time
            May 16, 2014, 8:48AM
            • I don't recall Abbott promising this.

              Commenter
              Doreen
              Location
              Dorrington
              Date and time
              May 16, 2014, 9:00AM
              • "This is another fine mess you've gotten us into, Tony!"

                Commenter
                Mark
                Date and time
                May 16, 2014, 9:14AM
                Comments are now closed

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