The federal government is on track to fork out $1 billion in redundancy payouts to public servants even before entitlements such as leave are paid.
Analysis of 760 retrenchments across a number of Commonwealth employers since the federal election show the average redundant public servant has been leaving the bureaucracy with $64,331 plus entitlements.
The figures reinforce a Canberra Times prediction in December which, using Treasury economic outlook data to analyse a smaller total of redundancies, said payouts could reach as high as $1 billion.
The federal government was now in the process of reducing the bureaucracy by 16,500 by mid-2018 and was yet to detail how much the total redundancy bill would cost.
Latest figures released by Commonwealth employers in answer to questions on notice were the best progress report yet of sackings up until the middle of 2014 and show some large departments were concentrating significant cuts in Canberra.
Three quarters of the 272 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) staff made redundant by June, who received average payouts of $52,126 plus entitlements, came from Canberra.
Figures show territory-based staff at the massive Department of Human Services made up half of DHS's 254 retrenchments.
The average redundancy payout at the department was almost $90,000 while the total bill had exceeded $22 million and reached more than $34 million once entitlements, such as leave, were paid.
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DHS staff generally received much larger payouts on average compared to the 85 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) staff retrenched in the nine months to June, who received an average of $31,760.
"I think a lot of Human Services staff would generally have a long period of employment within the public service whereas the ACCC would have a fair proportion of younger professional staff who might have spent time in the private sector," said longtime financial adviser to Canberra public servants, Howard Kemp.
Almost half of DHS's 254 redundancies were aged 55 to 64 while 10 were older than 65.
"For most of those between age 55 and 65 it is really a golden time to take a redundancy and they would be throwing their hands in the air with glee," Mr Kemp said.
"In most cases (between 55 and 65) the severance payment would be tax free or close to tax free."
The harshest cuts at DHS were in the budget costs and financial analysis section where 57 jobs were culled out of 254 redundancies as of the middle of this year, followed by human resources, which lost 51 staff.
Eighty per cent were in the executive level 1 or 2 ranks and half of the total number to leave were executive level 1 employees. A quarter of the department's redundant workers had claimed $500 to spend on financial advice.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) made 150 staff, many from the customer service section, redundant between the federal election and the middle of 2014.
The average ASIC employee retrenched had been on a salary of $95,782 and received a payout of $59,845 plus entitlements.
In the same period Comcare retrenched five staff at an average cost of $86,499 plus entitlements.
Mr Kemp said money from job cuts such as these could be expected to buy whitegoods and other retail items but he predicted it would not help the ACT's real estate prices for homeowners.
"A number will sell their home and retire to the coastal regions," he said.
Fraser MP and shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said reducing the public service by 16,500 would create more costs through lost capacity and a big redundancy bill.
"When a public servant has served the government with dedication for years or decades, it is right and fair that they should leave with a redundancy package which recognises that contribution," Dr Leigh said.
"The Coalition's claim that it can make big savings by sacking over 16,500 public servants is really just cover for its obsession with downsizing government."
Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood also said the redundancies would hurt service delivery.
"The Abbott government's wasteful public sector purge is doing real damage across the APS," Ms Flood said.
A total of 15,300 of the 16,500 reductions would be made redundant when a conservative natural attrition rate of 6.9 per cent was allowed for, although the attrition rate had fallen markedly as bureaucrats clung to their jobs or stayed hoping for a payout.
This would result in payouts worth $984 million. One influence driving up redundancy bills was the Commission of Audit's call to reduce the number of middle managers, which was already happening at the Australian Tax Office – an agency cutting more than any other, although its dollar figures so far had not been released.