CPSU Director Beth Vincent-Pietsch. Photo: Graham Tidy
Thousands of Canberra public servants may have to wait months to learn their fate under the Abbott government's ''Machinery of Government'' changes.
There is growing discontent at a perceived information vacuum, with the rank-and-file public servants unhappy with the lack of news from their bosses.
Wild rumours, including tales of mass sackings and a zero per cent pay offer in next year's enterprise bargaining round, are sweeping through departments as details of the changes are kept under wraps.
The main public sector union, the CPSU, says that 4000 public servants, mostly Canberra-based, are likely to remain ''in limbo'' for another two months before they learn where they will end up working under the new arrangements.
There are also concerns about how bureaucrats will adjust after being MOGed en masse, like the 1000 workers moved from the service-driven Social Services - formerly known as FaHCSIA - to the policy-focused Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet.
Among the scant details to be confirmed so far are that the new standalone Industry Department will have about 765 staff moving in from Immigration, Resources Energy and Tourism and Customs.
At the same time, about 650 bureaucrats will be taken out of Industry, going to Education, Social Services, Treasury, Prime Minster and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs, Austrade and Communications.
Prime Minister and Cabinet will almost quadruple in size when it takes an additional 700 public servants from Health, Education, Industry, Attorney-General's, Environment and Finance.
The effect in numbers of Health and Ageing losing its ageing operations to Social Services remains unclear but it has been confirmed that the new Infrastructure department will take about 280 staff from the old Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.
No job losses associated with the MOG changes have been announced and the departments seeking voluntary redundancies - Treasury, Health and Environment - have each blamed Labor's efficiency dividends for the downsizing.
But the CPSU says that thousands of its members are being kept in the dark by public service bosses about their ultimate destination in the MOG process.
CPSU director Beth Vincent-Pietsch said many workers had been waiting for more than a month for news on their futures.
''Some of the estimated 4000 staff who are set to move have been waiting since September 18 to find out if they or the program that they work on is to be moved to another department,'' Ms Vincent-Pietsch said.
''Some have been told that it might not be until mid-December when they find out.
''For staff to be placed in a state of limbo for up to three months is frankly unacceptable.''
Ms Vincent-Pietsch said the process was asking workers to put their lives on hold.
''Most of our members accept that changing the machinery of government is not an easy process but government also has to understand that they have asked these people to put their lives on hold,'' she said.
''Government is testing the goodwill and patience of staff who just want to get back to work.''