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Poll delivers strong message on public sector cuts

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22nd May 2012 - For Immediate Use

Poll delivers strong pre-Budget message on public sector cuts

A Fairfax poll sends a strong pre-Budget message to the government on further public service cutbacks.

The poll of 2000 readers shows that just over 50 present think that public service cuts have already gone too far.

The PSA says the rubber is really set to hit the road as the government looks to slash $1 billion from government departmental budgets.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says “we’ve already seen up to 2500 public sector jobs lost and reduced services to the public.”

“As the government rushes to bring the Budget back into surplus we can expect to see more redundancies, more running down of essential services, more user pays, more spending on private consultants and more 0800 call centres replacing frontline staff.”

“A zero budget will not deliver better public services and austerity measures will do nothing to promote much needed economic growth. I think the public is becoming acutely aware of that,” he says.

The government is moving to a four year Budget reporting cycle and that means for this year funding lines will be blurred and there will be an increasingly lack of transparency as to how the government is managing and spending taxpayer money.

“Each year there are fewer details in the Budget documents and it is becoming more difficult to track where funding is coming from and how money is being spent,” says Mr Wagstaff.

The government claims that so-called savings from cuts to public services or user pay policies such as increases to prescription charges will be pumped back into providing more operations or improved cancer treatment.

Richard Wagstaff says it is misleading of the government to label that as new money or extra funding.

“It is reallocated money taken from across the government’s accounts and as a result it is very hard to track. You can’t have a robbing Peter to pay Paul approach to public sector funding without providing evidence that Paul is actually being paid and services are being improved.”

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