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Public sector wages grow by $750 million despite job cuts



The Commonwealth government’s workforce shrunk by about 1500 jobs in the 2012-2013 financial year, but its wages bill grew by more than $750 million, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Send your confidential tips to ps@canberratimes.com.au.

The bureau’s latest snapshot of public sector employment and wages shows the federal government employed about 248,500 workers across its public service and non-public service agencies and departments, down from 250,000 the previous year.

But the data contained bad news for the Abbott government’s cost-cutting agenda, with wages growing to $19.7 billion, a 3.8 per cent increase from just under $19 billion in 2011-2012.

Across the sector, state governments employed 1.45 million Australians in June 2013, up slightly from the previous year despite cuts in NSW and Queensland, while local councils had 192,000 workers.

The bureau has put Australia’s public sector workforce at just under 1.9 million Australians with their wages and salaries at nearly $134 billion.

41 comments so far

  • Yes, and cost of living increased by how much? Splattering just numbers is not good enough. You need to put it in context.

    Commenter
    MV
    Location
    Location
    Date and time
    December 10, 2013, 12:34PM
    • While other Australians are tightening their belts, public servants expect to keep their salary raises in excess of cost of living increases. A $750 million increase is certainly not because a loaf of bread now costs an extra 1c, milk, 2c or petrol 10c.

      Commenter
      Felix
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      December 10, 2013, 1:37PM
    • Felix, that extra money is bleed out of them via higher fuel prices, more expensive government services, more expensive schools and so on.
      Class warfare is just what the pollies love, as it takes the heat of them for their incompetence and points it to the poor, the weak or the infirm.
      Look at things like bank bailouts, free money to Ford and Holden over the decades and who are going to leave anyway, tax breaks to big mining companies, free water for the mining companies, etc etc.

      Commenter
      Educate yrself
      Date and time
      December 10, 2013, 2:18PM
    • That doesn't explain why they promised that they would reduce costs by cutting staff numbers. The CPI increase would have been factored in to that promise or are you saying they were incompetent? I prefer to say what it is - they lied as they did about so many things during the election. This isn't something they can try and deflect by blaming it on the last government as it has happened during their watch and they said they had a plan (turns out it was just a glossy brochure).

      What would be interesting to see is whether the increased costs are due to them employing more expensive "consultants" to do what they said they would do? I wonder if those "consultants" are mates of theirs as well? Moral integrity don't you believe it. They lie at will.

      Commenter
      Lance
      Date and time
      December 10, 2013, 5:28PM
  • MV, the consumer price index says 2.4 per cent. Quite well documented, that one.

    Commenter
    Noel Towell
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    December 10, 2013, 12:57PM
    • No surprise when around 50% of Canberra PS workforce is EL or above. Is it any wonder Canberra is one of the most expensive rip off cities to live in, in Australia. All funded by the public (are you there skywhale?) teats. The Canberra times ran an interesting article a while back about the big increase of these levels under labor-greens rule.
      This is where the job cuts need to be targeted, and leave the lower much harder working levels which have remained stagnated or fallen over the last few years alone.

      Commenter
      Pp
      Date and time
      December 10, 2013, 1:04PM
      • The increases of EL numbers as a percentage of overall APS numbers started to grow well before 2006. But don't let ideological bias get in the way of statistics.

        Commenter
        RGY
        Date and time
        December 10, 2013, 1:33PM
      • No fan of the PS but my understanding is that somewhere between 25-30% are EL1 and above and this started with Howard not Rudd/Gillard (who I don't believe did anything either to address this rank creep).

        Commenter
        j frank parnell
        Location
        los alamos
        Date and time
        December 10, 2013, 1:58PM
      • Pp, you need to get your facts straight before having a bash at public servants. You know the ones I'm talking about, that help people with their Medicare, unemployment benefits, government housing, drive the buses to get people to work, the list goes on. We don't have 50% of the PS workforce at EL level, that's ridiculous. Sydney, Melbourne and soon Perth, are more expensive places to live than Canberra, so don't forget to have a rant and rave about those expensive, rip off places as well.

        Commenter
        XR
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        December 10, 2013, 2:19PM
      • Most senior public servants are based in Canberra. This is why around 50% of the Canberra based public service are an EL or above level. Google for plenty of articles about this, or re-read some of the great CT articles that have been printed talking about this.
        The bloating in the top levels of the public service may well have started prior to 2006 labor-greens rule, but once they were in power it accelerated to the ridiculous levels we have now found it at.

        The EL and above levels are where jobs cuts should be targeted to address costs. Again the harder working lower levels have remained relatively stagnant or fallen in recent years.
        Any private company run like the public service (especially in Canberra) with some departments having over 50% EL and above levels would be broke long ago. It is simply not sustainable as we are now finding out.

        Sadly the fat cats will generally look after their executive level friends (most were promoted on a wink wink mates on the panel scenario not skill or experience), and job cuts will all happen in lower levels. Hence the basis of this article, less jobs but higher wages still.

        Don't start on paying people at higher levels to keep their 'skills' in the PS and not lost to private sector jobs. If these private sector jobs are so plentiful and waiting, please any hard done by EL and above resign on mass to take these up.
        Also when you have kids a couple of years out of school scoring EL and above positions it really does make a mockery of the whole rorting system.

        Commenter
        Pp
        Date and time
        December 10, 2013, 2:48PM

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