Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey. Photo: Andrew Meares
The Coalition has again overstated by more than 90 per cent the growth of the federal public service in Canberra.
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey told ABC radio on Monday morning that the service in the capital had grown by 20,000 workers since his party lost government in 2007.
Mr Hockey said the Coalition would use “natural attrition” to limit public service growth if it won election on September 14.
“We’ve already said that the public service in Canberra is nearly 20,000 larger than what it was when we were last in government,” Mr Hockey said.
“And we’re going to accept natural attrition without increasing the size of the public sector.”
But Public Service Commission data shows the federal bureaucracy employed 67,631 staff in the ACT in June 2012.
That was up from 56,709 in June 2007, four months before the Howard government was defeated - an increase of 10,922 and far below the 20,000 claimed by Mr Hockey.
Despite the shadow treasurer's use of the words "natural attrition", ACT Labor senator Kate Lundy leapt on Mr Hockey’s comments, saying they proved the Coalition was planning mass job cuts in the capital.
“There is no mistaking that the Coalition has a plan to cut 20,000 public service jobs from Canberra,” Senator Lundy said.
“That’s 20,000 local people who will face uncertainty about their mortgages and bills, not to mention the thousands of local businesses that rely on them.”