How the Tax Office cuts are hitting Canberra

The Australian Tax Office is the Commonwealth employer hardest hit by the federal government's trimming of the bureaucracy. And keeping in line with the usual script, Canberra's economy is expected to be hurt as the pruning shears are used on the tax collection agency. 

But the latest figures provided by the ATO show Canberra is not being hit as hard as some may have thought, which will be a small piece of good news for businesses counting on public servants to buy coffees, lunches, cars and houses.

The Tax Office will have cut staff numbers by 1000 by Monday as part of reductions that have been in the pipeline for the past year. The figures show 132 of the jobs will be cut in Canberra. This means Canberra-based ATO staff have comprised 13 per cent of the cuts so far. This is in line with the ACT's share of ATO employees nationally.

The Tax Office is one government agency with a genuine national presence. It has about 20,000 staff, 3000 of whom are based in the national capital. This is a lower proportion of Canberra-based employees than many Commonwealth employers.  

Across all employers in the federal bureaucracy, Canberra-based staff account for a much higher 40 per cent of the workforce.


The Tax Office is being forced to cut 4700 staff by mid-2018 - including the 1000 to be cut by the end of June - and if the reductions continue in the same proportions at the agency, it means 611 ATO workers in the ACT would take redundancies.  

However,the ratio could change, particularly as some of the cuts so far have been targeted at regional offices marked for closure. 

Also, the ATO will be relocating 300 of its staff to Gosford in an attempt by the federal government to boost the central coast economy.

It is not known what ratio of these employees will come from the ACT, but it would be unlikely they would be moved from other regional areas in Australia. 


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