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Extra public service recruits in Swan's revision

Date

Markus Mannheim

The federal government has offered the bureaucracy a slight reprieve from its austerity drive, funding an extra 1300 full-time jobs this financial year.

This week's mid-year budget review set aside an additional $95 million to pay public servant wages compared with the amount unveiled in the budget in May.

Customs and the Taxation Office will receive most of the extra money, as they will need to recruit more staff to beef up their compliance activities.

However, it is unlikely Canberra will benefit much from the change, as most of the two agencies' workforces are based interstate.

The bureaucracy is still expected to shed almost 3000 full-time jobs during 2012-13, although this is far fewer than the 4200 predicted back in May.

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook does not report its estimated effects on government staffing, although it does reveal changes to the total wages bill.

Assuming that the average public servant's salary rises 3 per cent this financial year, in line with most wage agreements, the $95 million equates to about an extra 1300 full-time-equivalent jobs.

The government says the extra recruits will improve its bottom line as they will help it catch tax dodgers. Customs will receive about $4.3 million a year to hire border staff, who are expected to net the public an extra $11.4 million a year in duties and excise.

The Tax Office, meanwhile, will gain about $140 million a year, and in return has been asked to track down another $840 million a year in avoided tax.

Tax commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo told his staff yesterday that while the agency had gained funds, ''the additional funding comes with additional work''.

''The overall financial position for the ATO is still very tight and we need to continue to focus on finding efficiencies to be able to manage within our budget,'' he said.

The Community and Public Sector Union's national secretary, Nadine Flood, said the budget review showed that spending on staff could improve the government's financial position.

''With budget pressure likely to continue, a strategic investment like this is a sensible move,'' she said.

''Our members have been pushing the 'cuts hurt' message with politicians and we are glad it appears to be getting through.''

She would now ask the agencies to ensure that any new, skilled recruits were given permanent rather than temporary jobs.

Finance Minister Penny Wong's office said last night the government's focus was on cutting waste, not jobs.

''There are some measures in MYEFO which will add staff in priority areas, and this will be taken into account when agencies produce staffing plans as part of the annual budget process,'' a spokeswoman said.

The extra $95 million is to spent on wages and salaries, and excludes superannuation, equipment and other human-resources costs.

Correction:
The number "3000" in the fifth paragraph was originally "2000". This was a typo.

7 comments

  • So, they've funded the salaries, but not the superannuation. It's going to be real interesting to see what happens to the many retiring public servants over the ensuing decades. I guess it won't be swan's problem.

    Commenter
    Huh
    Date and time
    October 24, 2012, 9:02AM
    • Sorry, what I meant by that line is that the extra $95m is exclusive of super and other on-costs. The government will spend more on those areas, too, but the $95m is strictly the cost in additional wages and salaries.

      Commenter
      Markus Mannheim
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      October 24, 2012, 9:56AM
    • Dear Huh, we both know that the unallocated entitlements of the public service are the festering sore waiting to suppurate.

      This is exactly what has happened in Europe. Governments who see their citizens as an endless wallet. Run out of money? Tax. Run out of ways to tax? create more. Need more tax? Just steal money from peoples super.

      This country is half a step from the worst imaginable nightmare of hyper inflation, severe tax increases, an odious government and a stifling anti-business regime.

      The snouts are endless in this Animal Farm.

      Commenter
      evanism
      Location
      Unfortunately Canberra
      Date and time
      October 24, 2012, 1:07PM
  • We do not need more public servants in the ACT, the public service is already bloated and a drain on the tax payer as is it.

    Commenter
    Adzz
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Date and time
    October 24, 2012, 10:34AM
    • This is the only way federal labor can bring down the unemployment rate, hire extra federal public servants to be spin doctors for the next federal election and work on failed policy projects. Come the next federal election labor will use their scaremongering spin doctors to spread the word that under the coalition public service jobs will be lost.

      Commenter
      Tony of Brisbane
      Date and time
      October 24, 2012, 1:27PM
      • I gather that Adzz is not or is no longer employed in the retail, building or service industries.

        Commenter
        Nicomachean
        Location
        Kingston
        Date and time
        October 24, 2012, 1:31PM
        • We should be cutting the public service, not increasing it, More waste of tax payers dollars from the labor government

          Commenter
          jake
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          October 24, 2012, 3:38PM
          Comments are now closed
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