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ATO wields the axe on unsatisfactory workers

Australian Tax Office bosses say more redundancies will be offered than initially announced.

Australian Tax Office bosses say more redundancies will be offered than initially announced. Photo: Michel O'Sullivan

The Australian Taxation Office sacked six of its workers in the second half of last year for failing to show up to their jobs, according to the giant department's latest disciplinary snapshot.

Another six tax officials were fired for being lousy workers and five were shown the door after breaching the Australian Public Service code of conduct.

The figures were sent to all 23,000 of the department's staff on Monday morning with a stern warning to miscreants that even if they escape the sack, a disciplinary ''sanction'' will stay on the permanent record.

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The friendly advice went out in a newsletter as thousands of tax officials discover if they have been granted their wish of a golden handshake from the organisation.

Several hundred applicants, out of 2100 hopefuls, will be notified on Monday and Tuesday if they get their hoped-for payout or if they have to stay at their desks for the foreseeable future.

Tax's staff newsletter ATO Extra reported the results of formal investigations from July 1 to December 31, 2013, reporting 17 sackings, 12 of them under the ATO Employment Principles and another five under the PS code of conduct.

Six of the employment principles casualties were dumped for ''failure to conform to attendance obligations,'' while another six were fired for ''underperformance''.

Four tax officials were demoted over breaches of the public service code while another 13 had their wages reduced.

One lucky bureaucrat escaped punishment for an undisclosed breach, while another two resigned after breaking the rules.

Tax bosses also announced on Monday that more redundancies will be offered than initially announced, in anticipation of many applicants developing cold feet.

It was expected that 300 offers would be made, with another 200 redundancies offered to workers at the abolished Australian Valuation Office.

But second Taxation Commissioner Geoff Leeper told his workers on Monday that he expected initial enthusiasm for a payout to fade in some cases. ''Following careful assessment of our financial position, a decision was made to offer more than the forecast number of VR offers on the basis that we expect some people will not take up the offer,'' Mr Leeper wrote.

Most applicants for redundancies will have been notified by Monday afternoon and have two working days to tell their bosses. A one-month ''consultation'' period will then follow before final offers are made.


  • Well done ATO!!!!! There are plenty of people out there who would love to have a job so if these bludgers want to stay at home whenever they feel like it, let them stay at home permanently (only down side is that they're probably only going to become dole bludgers now). I'm tired of seeing people who bludge all day get paid a good salary while there are people out there desperately looking for work.

    Date and time
    March 18, 2014, 8:30AM
    • How many of them have you actually seen (as distinct from heard about via pub folklore)?

      I'm not saying they don't exist, but how can you possibly have known about them except by populist hearsay? And do you prefer private sector employees whose jobs revolve around things like:
      ** figuring out clever new ways to get kids hooked on noxious junk "food"
      ** pretending to have seen 500 patients in a day at surgery
      ** killing people on the highway by doctoring the speed limiters on trucks and cheapskating on maintenance
      (to mention just a few .....)

      Mike Micanopy
      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 3:20PM
  • So you're saying that the public service actually gets rid of incompetent staff? Who'd of thought it.

    You could just imagine the email "...let this be a lesson to you people. Don't mess with the ATO, or we'll get you..."

    Great way to make sure that the 300 redundancies turn into 20,000 unmotivated staff.

    vote for pedro
    Date and time
    March 18, 2014, 9:38AM
    • The ATO ain't exactly a place that attracts motivated people in the first place.

      Jay Slinger
      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 11:15AM
      • Why is this even "news"? This is how it should be. Of course, I suppose the idiotic unions will be up in arms about how these people need "training" or some other clap-trap.

        Good to be King
        Ivory tower
        Date and time
        March 18, 2014, 11:53AM
        • You must be making this up. No bureaucrat ever gets axed for anything. Pure invention.

          iain russell
          Date and time
          March 18, 2014, 12:33PM
          • This is a good move. There are not as many 'unmotivated' employees as those not in the public service might think. Like any workplace there are pockets of work areas and individuals who do the wrong thing and take advantage, there are also managers unwilling to deal with the problem. This happens in private enterprise as well. I can say that I have seen colleagues in a private company receive the highest level of bonus because had figured out a way to 'beat the system' and make themselves look like they were excelling by using hangup tactics, misrecording of information. When a company relies on electronic 'stats' they are at risk of manipulation.

            Changes in the public service sector has been gradually happening over time for many many years (certainly the whole 10 years I have been in PS) Maybe my employer is more pro-active, but I have seen changes to strengthen performance and other policies so that managers can do their job without being accused of unfair actions or bullying just for trying to do their jobs.

            Date and time
            March 18, 2014, 2:53PM
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