Look west, young bureaucrats, Colin Barnett tells Canberra's public servants

There were just 82 permanent job vacancies in the 165,000-strong Australian Public Service at the start of this week, according to the government's workplace authority.

With up to 300 applicants fighting for each public service job in Canberra, the Premier of Western Australia says that bureaucrats thrown on the scrapheap could find new public sector careers in the west.

With the officially announced jobs cull in the Commonwealth now topping 5000 since September last year, according to unions, the Public Service Commission confirmed that, as of Monday, just 82 jobs, in 34 agencies, were available.

The news comes as another key department, Attorney-General's, tries to find yet more redundancies, this time among its rank-and-file staffers.

Do you know more? Send your confidential tips to

The new job figures confirm that the vast majority of APS departments and agencies are not hiring at all under the Abbott government's recruitment crackdown, which bans departments from taking on external recruits in all but the most limited of circumstances.


But things are different in the west, where the mining state's public service has a number of well-paid vacancies at the top.

WA's public service is searching for six department directors-general, three commissioners, a chief scientist and an under-treasurer. Two other senior jobs - heads of the Department of Child Protection and Family Support, and the Corruption and Crime Commission - will also be vacant soon.

WA Premier Colin Barnett's office said on Tuesday that the state was well on its way to filling many of those roles but encouraged bureaucrats from the capital, particularly those with experience in senior management, to look to the west.

The Australian Public Service Commission in Canberra also confirmed that it had approved lucrative ''incentive to retire'' payouts in the past eight months for 92 high earners from the federal government's elite senior executive service, swelling the pool of potential recruits for Mr Barnett's government.

Mr Barnett said Canberrans were welcome to bring their bureaucratic expertise to his state.

''There are a number of ex-Canberra public servants working in the WA public service and we would always welcome people who wanted to move from another jurisdiction,'' Mr Barnett said.

Back in Canberra, the Attorney-General's Department is embarking on another round of redundancies after a cut to 52 upper and middle-management jobs since July last year failed to solve budget problems.

A spokesman described the new redundancy drive as ''modest''. ''The department will undertake another modest voluntary redundancy round this financial year,'' he said. ''This VR round is open to all staff, whereas the VR round held last year was limited to senior executive service and executive level staff.''


Comment are now closed