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ATO shows no mercy on redundancy timeline

Date

Phillip Thomson

The Australian Tax Office is not softening on the timeline for its job cuts despite being asked to slow down its second redundancy round, in which almost another 2000 workers will go out the door between now and October.

The Australian Services Union, which represented about 1000 of the 20,000 ATO staff, said "pausing" the second round would reduce the need for forced redundancies afterwards.

But an ATO spokeswoman said a commitment had been made to staff to "minimise anxiety by completing the second round of voluntary redundancies as quickly as possible".

"If the process were delayed there would be serious financial impacts for the organisation, which would require an even greater reduction in staff numbers," the spokeswoman said.

"The ATO has received a sufficient number of expressions of interest through the second round to meet our commitment to government to reduce the overall size of the ATO workforce by 3000 by October 31, 2014.

"We have aimed to reduce uncertainty for our staff during this process while managing the impact on the community."

The agency was due to lose 1300 staff in its first round and another 1300 in its second.

About 900 of the first-round redundancies were already complete and the rest from that cohort will be gone by August.

The 900 staff gone so far included 258 executive level-one staff, 183 APS6s and 118 EL2.1s.

The second round will be finished by October. 

The ASU's tax branch secretary, Jeff Lapidos, said pausing the second round would allow many workers to consider options such as job swaps, which allowed employees who wanted to stay to swap with a colleague who wanted to leave.

The redundancies were happening while the ATO was in the midst of bargaining over agreements affecting their staff's pay and conditions. 

Mr Lapidos said the ATO had attempted to get rid of provisions in the future agreement that would allow people facing redundancy to re-skill and be redeployed within the organisation where practicable.

The union official said it was the closest mechanism in the agreement to a no-redundancy clause.

The ATO's spokeswoman said the agency would not comment about negotiations as it was bargaining in good faith, except to say "we are discussing a range of employment conditions". 

"We have openly told our staff that we have discussed the redundancy clauses and that our bargaining discussions are ongoing," she said. "We are keeping our staff regularly informed and will continue to update them through the bargaining process.

"The ongoing reviews within the organisation are a part of reshaping the ATO in order to continue to deliver on outcomes in the most efficient and effective way.

"If any further staff adjustments are required, then they will be delivered by our normal business as usual processes including attrition and redeployment."

18 comments

  • Still not enough. The public service is a bloated bureaucracy that needs to be cut a lot more, outsourced where possible and the rest decentralised away from Canberra.

    Commenter
    Jim
    Date and time
    July 14, 2014, 11:19AM
    • With all your wisdom, which bits are bloated? What needs to be decentralised? Why should it be decentralised? Or is this a 'once you visited Canberra and didn't like it' attack?

      Commenter
      Jitter
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 12:34PM
    • "Australia's public service is the envy of the world!"
      Australia's politicians...enough said, except pretty much all of them do not reside in Canberra.

      Commenter
      Cut pollies crackers
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 1:06PM
    • I'm not a public servant, however your comment is beyond belief. I hope you lose your job if you actually work.

      Commenter
      Thomas
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 1:06PM
    • Outsourced? You mean just like defence with certain contractors running around without a clue what's going on or what they are supposed to be doing? These contractors barged in like shinning stars but are now fading away to a dim light!

      Contractors are going to cost the Abbott government a fortune and the taxpayers will not be pleased when they see how the government wasted their money on contractors! Keep the public servants and get rid of the incompetent contractors!

      Commenter
      Sharron
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 1:19PM
    • 'decentralised away from Canberra' why? so we can move the jobs to Sydney & Melbourne. Surely those cities have enough population and we should be looking to grow Canberra! If you mean put more jobs in regional centres then fine but Canberra has plenty of space and land to sustain further growth.

      Commenter
      Centrallyconfused
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 1:36PM
    • "Contractors are going to cost the Abbott government a fortune and the taxpayers will not be pleased when they see how the government wasted their money on contractors!"
      Never you worry about that, the government will just make sure that the public don't see it. Probably include something about a mandate.

      Commenter
      Markus
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 2:25PM
    • Jim please explain your rationale and justify how this would result in efficient and effective support to the Australian Government and the people without expentially increasing costs and no reduction in services? Sounds like you are shooting from the hip without any evidence to back up a hair brained idea.

      Commenter
      Tj
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 3:16PM
    • @ Jim - absolutely agree with decentralisation - let's decentralise all of the APS (not in Canberra but in the OTHER capital cities especially CBDs). That's about 50 decentralised in a hurry. Cheaper office space out in the country and the burbs.

      Commenter
      Been there
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 4:20PM
    • Would you be happier if the whole public service is relocated to (who cares as long as it's out of Canberra) once and for all?

      Commenter
      wsw
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      July 14, 2014, 8:27PM

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