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Public service battles more job cuts and staff shortages

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30th August 2012 -For immediate release

Public service battles more job cuts and staff shortages

The Public Service Association is questioning just how far the government is willing to rundown the public service.

The latest update on staff numbers within the core government administration shows another 555 positions have been taken out of the system and as part of that 526 people have lost their jobs in the six months from December 2011- June 2012.

“The government is continuing to chip away at the public service and take away frontline jobs. These latest figures mean that since National took office about 3000 workers have been forced out of work. It’s just more evidence that the cap on the public service is really about cuts,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“We haven’t yet seen the impact of the MBIE merger on jobs nor the fallout from other departments having to shave a further $1 billion dollars off their budgets. There is a lot of restructuring fatigue and a lot of anxiety over where the axe will fall next.”

Government budget cuts and endless restructuring within the public service are also creating major staff shortages with the number of unfilled positions increasing by 700 this year to 3263.

Brenda Pilott says “in some agencies the number of unfilled vacancies is as high as 30 per cent. These vacancies put huge pressure on existing staff in terms of workload. Ironically the States Services Commission, which is responsible for co-ordinating the government’s better public services programme, is carrying unfilled vacancies of more than 20 per cent.”

“The government has set some very ambitious targets in terms of delivering better public services but the capacity to meet them is being constantly undermined.”

The PSA also believes red flags need to be raised over the Local Government Amendment Bill which will extend the government’s public service cap ideology into local government.

“We’ve already seen caps on staffing numbers in central government putting immense pressure on workers and duplicating that in local government will only make it harder for councils to provide the services that their communities want and ask for.”


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