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Canberra growing fat on a nation’s suffering?

By 15 December 2011 57

The Daily Telegraph is incensed with the rising wages of the top end of the public service:

Now comes shock news of further federal government largesse, this time directed towards Canberra’s ever-expanding top tier of public servants, some of whom will now haul in annual salaries beyond $700,000.

Once public service pay hits the half-million mark, surely the phrase “public servant” requires some revision. Just who is being served here? It hasn’t escaped the notice of those who frequently travel between our various capitals that Canberra features a disproportionate number of building sites for big new hotels.

While most state capitals are working hard just to maintain some momentum in a tight financial era, Canberra is growing fat on big public service expansions.

That expansion is taking place mostly at the very top of the public service, where pay is already extremely generous. Lower-level public servants – those who actually have to deal directly with the public – are set for far less extravagant wage rises.

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57 Responses to Canberra growing fat on a nation’s suffering?
#1
Holden Caulfield10:03 am, 15 Dec 11

Did Tony Abbot write that?

Great big new building sites.

Great big public service expansions.

#2
NoImRight10:15 am, 15 Dec 11

Im keen to know about these big public service expansions? Which departments? How many extra staff?

Plus Im not fat Im big boned so keep the name calling to a minimum thanks.

#3
Erg010:18 am, 15 Dec 11

Where are all these big new hotels they’re talking about? Other than the The Realm/Burbury precinct, I can’t think of any others that have opened recently or are currently being built.

For that matter, can anyone explain to me what hotel development has to do with Canberra’s prosperity? Surely that relates more to the prosperity of our visitors.

#4
harvyk110:23 am, 15 Dec 11

Could I please give the sorts of responses that the daily tele is looking for…

“Bloody fat cats sitting on their arses whilst the rest of Australia works, sack the lot of them”
“Juliar does deserve a cent of her pay”
“that’s be right, here I am working hard and the bloody fat cats in Canberra go out for wine lunches every day”
“just get rid of Canberra, bulldoze the whole place, and give the land back to NSW”

Ah that felt better. Whilst I don’t disagree that giving out large pay rises probably not the most tactical move the gov’t ever made considering that there are various unions who are fighting for pay rises to keep inline with inflation, I personally believe anything written in news limited exists only to make bogans angry, because angry bogans “get involved” in comment sections (and thus see advertisements)

#5
Classified10:23 am, 15 Dec 11

Erg0 said :

Where are all these big new hotels they’re talking about? Other than the The Realm/Burbury precinct, I can’t think of any others that have opened recently or are currently being built.

For that matter, can anyone explain to me what hotel development has to do with Canberra’s prosperity? Surely that relates more to the prosperity of our visitors.

During sitting weeks, you can’t find accomodation easily because it can be all booked out.

#6
harvyk110:23 am, 15 Dec 11

Oh, very nearly forgot the most important one – “Call an election now and get rid of this mob”

#7
Skidbladnir10:26 am, 15 Dec 11

This would be a story from Steve Lewis, responsible for OzCar\Godwin Grech.

“Canberra, how dare it have a growing economy and require a matching growth accomodation!”
“How dare those public servants responsible for budgets which can be measured in percentages of GDP be paid a fraction of their Private Sector equivalent!

#8
rosscoact10:33 am, 15 Dec 11

dey turk err jurbz!

#9
p110:34 am, 15 Dec 11

For anyone tempted to be outraged by this story (or anything that comes out of Mr Abbott’s mouth), I direct you to this.

#10
BimboGeek10:38 am, 15 Dec 11

They are always welcome to come and open a hotel since it’s so lucrative.

#11
poetix10:40 am, 15 Dec 11

If you follow the link you’ll notice that the story immediately below the one about the Canberra fat cats is about ‘a looming bloodsucker boom’ from mozzies. The needle seems to have got stuck there…

#12
Waiting For Godot10:42 am, 15 Dec 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Great big new building sites.

Great big public service expansions.

Sounds like Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s “crane index” in the 1970s and ’80s. When journalists interviewing the former Qld premier asked him how well the state’s economy was going he would tell them to look out the window at the number of cranes on building sites. That was all the proof that was needed.

#13
Rollersk8r10:44 am, 15 Dec 11

The Daily Tele / A Current Affair / Today Tonight audience loves nothing more than complaining about people who have more stuff than YOU. No matter who you are, how hard your job is, how hard you’ve worked to get there – you don’t deserve it!

#14
Thumper10:44 am, 15 Dec 11

Sounds like standard Canberra bashing to me.

When ever a government is under fire switch to some good old Canberra bashing.

Works a charm on the bogans in Western Sydney, you know, the salt of the earth, real OZtralians mate. Might even get a run on ACA…

#15
Erg011:07 am, 15 Dec 11

Classified said :

Erg0 said :

Where are all these big new hotels they’re talking about? Other than the The Realm/Burbury precinct, I can’t think of any others that have opened recently or are currently being built.

For that matter, can anyone explain to me what hotel development has to do with Canberra’s prosperity? Surely that relates more to the prosperity of our visitors.

During sitting weeks, you can’t find accomodation easily because it can be all booked out.

…by people from Sydney, Melbourne and other capital cities that are supposedly doing it tough. If the point is that politicians are employing too many staffers, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Canberra as a city.

#16
dpm11:39 am, 15 Dec 11

How many big new hotels are being built ATM?

It’s funny, I remember when I used to vist Syd/Melb/Bris quite a lot about 10 years ago, they all had lots of new buildings going up. Every time i’d return to Cbr there were no large construction activities – no big cranes in the skyline. Just because there are a few now doesn’t mean too much, surely? Maybe Cbr is just balancing out with the growth in other caps in the last ten years?

Anyway, surely hotels don’t really indicate much about Cbr itself, except maybe the hotel owners are expecting more people to visit here? Or are they saying people who live here in Cbr are so rich they all live in hotels? Hahaha! Weird….

#17
Jim Jones11:39 am, 15 Dec 11

TERK ER JEEEERRRRRBS!!!

#18
sarahsarah11:46 am, 15 Dec 11

Classified said :

Erg0 said :

Where are all these big new hotels they’re talking about? Other than the The Realm/Burbury precinct, I can’t think of any others that have opened recently or are currently being built.

For that matter, can anyone explain to me what hotel development has to do with Canberra’s prosperity? Surely that relates more to the prosperity of our visitors.

During sitting weeks, you can’t find accomodation easily because it can be all booked out.

Pretty much this! And woe betide you if you are trying to find accommodation during both a Parliament session, Floriade and school holidays! Nigh impossible!

#19
Deref11:59 am, 15 Dec 11

Two words capture all you’ll ever need to know: “Daily Telegraph”.

#20
BimboGeek12:41 pm, 15 Dec 11

DEeEeRK er DEeEEeeEeERBS

#21
arescarti421:22 pm, 15 Dec 11

p1 said :

For anyone tempted to be outraged by this story (or anything that comes out of Mr Abbott’s mouth), I direct you to this.

All in all that ABC opinion piece is pretty poorly written and somewhat misleading. A couple of things that stood out to me:

1. GDP growth is totally meaningless unless it is on a per capita basis. If your population is growing at 4%, you need 4% GDP growth just to not go backwards.
2. The assertion that the prosperity of the last few decades was not a big unsustainable debt bubble because government debt is low. Lets just ignore the fact that Australian private debt per capita is now larger than it was in the US before their debt bubble exploded.

Sure, the Daily Telegraph story is mostly just bogan pandering bullshit, but it does touch on the more substantive notion that Australia is an increasingly unequal society and that Canberra is in many ways isolated from the realities of the rest of Australia.

The-riotact.com highlights this in many ways, according to the 2009 RA media kit, 68% of rioters earn more than $50K a year, almost 20% earn more than $125K. According to the ATO, the median full time earnings of Australian employees was $44,222 in 08/09. That means that 50% of Australian employees earn less than $44k a year.

#22
Classified1:46 pm, 15 Dec 11

arescarti42 said :

p1 said :

For anyone tempted to be outraged by this story (or anything that comes out of Mr Abbott’s mouth), I direct you to this.

All in all that ABC opinion piece is pretty poorly written and somewhat misleading. A couple of things that stood out to me:

1. GDP growth is totally meaningless unless it is on a per capita basis. If your population is growing at 4%, you need 4% GDP growth just to not go backwards.
2. The assertion that the prosperity of the last few decades was not a big unsustainable debt bubble because government debt is low. Lets just ignore the fact that Australian private debt per capita is now larger than it was in the US before their debt bubble exploded.

Sure, the Daily Telegraph story is mostly just bogan pandering bullshit, but it does touch on the more substantive notion that Australia is an increasingly unequal society and that Canberra is in many ways isolated from the realities of the rest of Australia.

The-riotact.com highlights this in many ways, according to the 2009 RA media kit, 68% of rioters earn more than $50K a year, almost 20% earn more than $125K. According to the ATO, the median full time earnings of Australian employees was $44,222 in 08/09. That means that 50% of Australian employees earn less than $44k a year.

Some very good points, especially about Canberra and the RiotACT not being representative of wider Australia.

#23
NoImRight1:51 pm, 15 Dec 11

The story is a light light on detail and balance beyond its shock horror motif

#24
knuckles2:00 pm, 15 Dec 11

Isn’t the Daily Telegraph aimed at this demographic?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUfTaey7NGk&feature=related

#25
Postalgeek2:05 pm, 15 Dec 11

arescarti42 said :

p1 said :

For anyone tempted to be outraged by this story (or anything that comes out of Mr Abbott’s mouth), I direct you to this.

All in all that ABC opinion piece is pretty poorly written and somewhat misleading. A couple of things that stood out to me:

1. GDP growth is totally meaningless unless it is on a per capita basis. If your population is growing at 4%, you need 4% GDP growth just to not go backwards.
2. The assertion that the prosperity of the last few decades was not a big unsustainable debt bubble because government debt is low. Lets just ignore the fact that Australian private debt per capita is now larger than it was in the US before their debt bubble exploded.

Sure, the Daily Telegraph story is mostly just bogan pandering bullshit, but it does touch on the more substantive notion that Australia is an increasingly unequal society and that Canberra is in many ways isolated from the realities of the rest of Australia.

The-riotact.com highlights this in many ways, according to the 2009 RA media kit, 68% of rioters earn more than $50K a year, almost 20% earn more than $125K. According to the ATO, the median full time earnings of Australian employees was $44,222 in 08/09. That means that 50% of Australian employees earn less than $44k a year.

100% of RiotAct will happily tell you 50% of RiotAct is isolated from reality. Don’t need stats for that.

#26
poetix2:19 pm, 15 Dec 11

Postalgeek said :

100% of RiotAct will happily tell you 50% of RiotAct is isolated from reality. Don’t need stats for that.

You’re wrong! Just wrong!

#27
basketofcat2:21 pm, 15 Dec 11

What I’d like to know is how many of these highly paid public servants are real Canberrans. I bet most of the upper echelons of the SES are in fact FIFOs who wouldn’t otherwise dream of coming to Canberra.

In fact, do you know what we need? We need a tax on power. The higher up the APS you go, the more tax you pay. The further away from power you are, the less tax you pay. The Secs. of AGs, Defence, etc should be paid absolutely nothing.

The stupid people of Western Sydney, with the influence they wield over the nation, should be paying us all for the privilege of being allowed to live…

#28
Jivrashia2:36 pm, 15 Dec 11

rosscoact said :

dey turk err jurbz!

Jim Jones said :

TERK ER JEEEERRRRRBS!!!

BimboGeek said :

DEeEeRK er DEeEEeeEeERBS

DEEERRRP???

#29
harvyk13:06 pm, 15 Dec 11

Here is the thing, if the nation feels that Canberra has such great job prospects compared to the rest of the nation, why do they not just get off their collective arse’s and move to Canberra?

It’s not like there is Customs \ Immigration \ Visa issues which would stop them from coming here. In years gone by many a person has moved because there was greater opportunity for work in other towns.

Of course the answer as to why not is it’s far easier to sit there and complain how life is not fair…

#30
Classified3:52 pm, 15 Dec 11

harvyk1 said :

Here is the thing, if the nation feels that Canberra has such great job prospects compared to the rest of the nation, why do they not just get off their collective arse’s and move to Canberra?

It’s not like there is Customs \ Immigration \ Visa issues which would stop them from coming here. In years gone by many a person has moved because there was greater opportunity for work in other towns.

Of course the answer as to why not is it’s far easier to sit there and complain how life is not fair…

The same reason lots of people do (or don’t do) a whole range of things. The path of least resistance.

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