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Finance Department spill-and-fill for public servants not ruled out

Date

Phillip Thomson

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

The federal government has not ruled out a spill-and-fill at the Department of Finance. 

The department is in the process of culling 26 staff before July 2015, although 252 staff will be lost across the Finance portfolio.

In Parliament on Monday evening, Fraser MP and shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh asked the government whether it would be forcing staff at Finance to reapply for their own jobs.

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Michael McCormack, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Finance, could not answer either way. 

"I am not aware – and this is in response to his previous question – of any plans to do a spill-and-fill, but difficult times do call for hard decisions," Mr McCormack said. 

The use of spill-and-fill has been increasing across the federal bureaucracy as the numbers of public servants is reduced by 16,500 by the middle of 2018.

The Communications Department and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet are two that have used the mechanism, which does not protect workers from applying for jobs at lower salaries than their existing jobs.

Dr Leigh said he was disappointed he could not receive a ''yes'' or ''no'' answer from the government about a spill-and-fill at Finance.

"As parliamentary secretary, that is a piece of information that ought to be directly available to him," Dr Leigh said.

"If he is unable to rule it out, then many of my constituents who work in the Department of Finance will be concerned that just such a spill-and-fill is taking place.

"Those of us in this place expect a spill-and-fill to take place every three years, but my constituents, hardworking public servants serving both sides of politics, should not be treated in such a way." 

He said the parliamentary secretary was also unable to explain why there was a nearly $100 million decrease in departmental expenses for Finance, raising further concerns of a hit to Finance.

* An earlier version of this story said the Department of Finance would cull 252 jobs by mid-2015. The figure is 26. The 252 figure was from the budget papers taking into account cuts across the Finance portfolio.

8 comments

  • Can Times, 18/06, Dr Leigh said he was disappointed he could not receive a ''yes'' or ''no'' answer from the government about a spill-and-fill at Finance.

    Well how about that Dr Leigh, its a bit like your constituents trying to get ANY answer from you about things you could not care less about.

    Commenter
    NITRO GANGSTER
    Date and time
    June 18, 2014, 8:09AM
    • I can't take Andrew Leigh seriously. I mean all he does is criticise every other politician or process. What has HE himself actually done for the good of the community? Nothing. He just wants the overpaid salary like many of these pollies.

      Commenter
      Pollie want a pay rise
      Date and time
      June 18, 2014, 9:06AM
      • "….. but difficult times do call for hard decisions," Mr McCormack said.

        Really? And what difficult times would they be? No economist of any reputation is agreeing with the government's dire warnings of doom and gloom. Hockey and Abbott are just being tricky.

        Commenter
        MJM
        Date and time
        June 18, 2014, 9:34AM
        • MJM - you must have an interesting definition of "economist of any reputation".

          Commenter
          John
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          June 18, 2014, 10:10AM
        • John - the Minutes of the RBA meeting of June 3rd certainly indicate that it does not think much of the budget and all the too ha surrounding it.

          Commenter
          MJM
          Date and time
          June 18, 2014, 2:11PM
      • Department of Communications was always going to be the test case - and given the lack of outrage from CPSU and others, here we go through the various Departments. Should be a barrel of fun for everyone and a huge distraction.

        Commenter
        Been there
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        June 18, 2014, 10:09AM
        • How about we reduce federal and state politician numbers by 25% and then have a spill and fill the remaining numbers. There is so much dead wood in these pollies on the back benches that's costing the tax payers millions in waste every day.

          Commenter
          BJ
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          June 18, 2014, 10:11AM
          • Would be useful if the person who penned this article or anyone who is quoted had looked at the Budget Papers - See page 127 in buget paper #4.

            Commenter
            The Vilnius Schoolmaster
            Location
            Canberra
            Date and time
            June 18, 2014, 10:26AM
            Comments are now closed
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