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How the Tax Office cuts are hitting Canberra

Date

Phillip Thomson

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. 

24 comments

  • Looks like it will be a property boom in Canberra.

    Commenter
    Viking
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 10:22AM
    • Interestingly I still cannot find a builder to build my home, I paid 500k for my land, have 500k in cash for the build but all quotes are way over 800k, twice what a Sydney builder told me it would cost to build it in lane cove, so not sure the builders are feeling it yet? I am not paying twice the Sydney price to build in canberra that's for sure.

      Commenter
      P
      Location
      Red hill
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 11:58AM
    • You are getting totally ripped off P from Redhill.......

      Canberra is nothing more than an overpriced rural town with a winter gauranteed to make you want to leave the place in the years to come.

      By comparison my wife and I just bought our retirement home on the South Coast, 1200 sqm block, incredible golf course and stunning ocean views, recently renovated and painted inside and out, full brick....just 5 minutes walk from the local country club.

      All for the princely sum of 450k

      You might want to reconsider your preferences unless you have more money than common sense.

      Commenter
      Walter Burley White
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 2:19PM
    • That's great Walter, but how is the commute to work in Sydney or Canberra?

      Oh that's right your retired so no need to live in the area you're employed at. Beautiful story then but not really relevant.

      Commenter
      d d
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 2:56PM
    • No not retired at all d d - we are just planning ahead for our eventual retirement. We continue to live in Canberra in the meantime renting. We paid for our place with cash we saved while renting in Canberra over the last 10 years, saving well north of 60k per annum.

      However pointing out the fact that Canberra is way overpriced (still) while people are losing their jobs on an industrial scale is the point of my argument. Prices here in the bush capital should be plummeting...but then we are talking about an obsession here when it comes to housing and real estate.

      So be careful next time you comment, or are you just opening your mouth so that you can change feet ?

      Commenter
      Walter Burley White
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 3:31PM
    • Again walt, how is a retirement house in a coastal town meant to be relevant to the price of housing in Canberra?

      RE here is expensive because people want to live close to work and the salaries in Canberra are on average reasonably high. Also prices are dropping here at the moment too. Just have a look at some of the current sales and then look at their previous sale price. A lot are flat or in a few instances have just sold for less than their last sale price

      Also if you wish to purchase 800 sqm blocks here in ACT there are a few available in the outer suburbs for <$500k.

      Commenter
      d d
      Date and time
      June 26, 2014, 9:15AM
  • Seriously not hard hit? Forget the stats and spread sheets, get out in the real world. Talk to business owners etc. Many are barely hanging on, and are saying it is the worst they have seen things in 10 years. Go for a drive around the town centres, walk around the malls. And we haven't seen anything yet. We are really only starting to feel the impact of labor-greens jobs cuts by stealth efficiency dividends. Just wait until the new government cuts start to take hold. Sad times ahead for Canberra unfortunately. Wonder how much our local council put away for the tough times ahead? Wait they squandered most of it on pet projects like millions to the mega rich AFL for a few poor quality games here a years. Gay marriage challenges. Glossy brochures and consultancy for teams for pipe dream mono rails and city to the lake plan. It is scary.

    Commenter
    Dames and knights
    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 10:30AM
    • It's not all that bad. Apparently you have the best bacon in Canberra.

      Commenter
      Catherine
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 11:13AM
    • Catherine, bloody funny, are you single?

      Commenter
      Matthew
      Date and time
      June 26, 2014, 9:35AM
  • its ok to sack 1000 tax workers, but we need to get value for money out of the remaining. When they complain about 9 extra minutes work, all hell breaks loose. They know there rights and if they have to work an extra minute we will hear about it. But they do not understand obligations. When you fulfil your obligations, you then have rights. They way they get paid to drink coffee makes me sick. We should give them 9 minutes off, but make sure they work properly for the other 7 hours. No talking about the weekend, no eating lunch during work(you have a lunch break for this) and if your late for work it is deducted from your pay.

    Commenter
    bob
    Location
    Kambah
    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 11:17AM

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