Labor leader Anthony Albanese has declined to promise higher wages for public servants but says his party would revitalise the federal bureaucracy while putting Treasury and the Finance Department to work in weeding out "rorts" and waste.
Mr Albanese on Sunday renewed Labor's promise to reduce outsourcing and to reverse the "gutting" of the public service, but stopped short of pledging higher wages for bureaucrats after years of government-enforced suppressed pay growth.
Asked whether public servants deserved a wage rise, the Labor leader said that in government his party would negotiate in good faith and "in the usual way".
"We need to revitalise the public service. We need to stop the contracting out that's occurred, the use of labour hire, the gutting of the capacity of the public service, and that includes making sure that we can attract the best and brightest to the public service," he said.
"So we'll negotiate in good faith at the appropriate time as part of the award bargaining process."
His comments follow years of muted wages growth for low- and mid-ranking public servants under Coalition government policies capping increases and requiring no overall enhancements to workplace agreements for employees.
After years capping wage rises at 2 per cent, the Coalition marginally softened the policy in 2020 by tying them to private sector pay increases.
Mr Albanese was asked about his stance on public sector pay as the Labor leader continues to argue that minimum wages should not go backwards, despite accusations from the Coalition that he was intervening in an upcoming independent decision from the Fair Work Commission on the minimum wage.
The Labor leader on Sunday vowed to put Treasury and the Finance Department to work in identifying "rorts" and waste to make savings and help fund his agenda.
"This government has created multiple slush funds, whereby it's using expenditure to boost its own political standing," he said.
"We don't know even how much is in all of those funds because there's no transparency under this government. And we believe that does have to be gotten under control."
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