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Last of the summer wine for the Public Service?

By johnboy 19 June 2013 33

As the nightmare of an Abbott Government looms ever larger on Canberra’s horizon the ABC has the unhelpful news that the cardigan set have seen their wages grow 5.8% over the last year:

The research by the Public Service Commission shows median wages grew 5.8 per cent last year.

The increase is nearly double the federal government’s wages growth target of 3 per cent.

Wages for non executive staff grew by 5.9 per cent last year compared to 4.7 per cent for senior executives.

The 2012 APS Remuneration Report includes information from all Australian Public Service (APS) agencies covering 153,622 employees.

The commission says the rapid wages growth was fuelled by a lower recruitment rate, with fewer low-paid positions being filled and more pay rises due to increments within enterprise bargaining agreements.


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Last of the summer wine for the Public Service?
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The Antichrist 8:03 pm 20 Jun 13

anybody in the private sector in the ACT, who whinges about public servants getting paid too much – clearly does not need a lobotomy because they have already had one…..

Losing 12-15,000 pubes out of the ACT is going to hit the local private industry really really hard, regardless of how much those pubes are actually earning in their cushy arse-polishing jobs !

too many punters here have nil memories of the effects of Jackboot Johnny’s boot-scoot in 1996.

A_Cog 4:11 pm 20 Jun 13

davo101 said :

I’m sorry, where does this myth that private sector workers are not getting pay rises come from? That’s not what the stats say.

Davo, that’s bang on.

But people who want to hate the APS and the gubmint only see what they want to see, and misinterpret everything else.

“Well, you can prove anything with facts, can’t you. I rely on instinct and blind prejudice” – Stewart Lee.

davo101 3:53 pm 20 Jun 13

Mav said :

Mate, you’re getting ripped.

watto23 said :

Completely agree, when you hear about public servants getting upset at a guaranteed 2-3% payrise when the rest of the workforce just doesn’t get a payrise, because it can’t be afforded by private companies.

I’m sorry, where does this myth that private sector workers are not getting pay rises come from? That’s not what the stats say.

Tetranitrate said :

you’re inevitably going to see the average wage increase as people get promoted, which aside from pay-scales, also involves things like Graduates completing their grad year and moving onto a aps4 or 5 role(which is part of the deal).

Actually you wont. The average is calculated from a stratified sample based on grade level, so if someone moves from the top of one grade to the bottom of the next this will weigh the average down. If the APSC could be bothered to stratify the sample down to grade and year then the average would probably drop to about 3% which would match the public sector WPI.

A_Cog 3:48 pm 20 Jun 13

Tetranitrate said :

How do we define ‘fine’ anyway?

Even the Seasonally Adjusted totals come with a caveat – down the bottom where it says ‘gee, our numbers for NT, TAS and ACT are a bit wobbly’ which basically means “you can’t trust 5% of our total”. I stick with raw totals, because seasonals or trends manipulate the raw totals. Imagine changing Usain Bolt’s 100m record time from 9.58 to 9.87 because he is so much taller than his competitors and he takes fewer strides. Same thing with seasonal adjustments and trend estimates. Yeah it’s weird, so I stick with raw totals.

And in sticking with the raw totals, those new car sales numbers are fine. I define ‘fine’ simply by new car sales records being broken. Yeah we could argue that numbers should increase monthly in line with inflation or population growth etc, but that would be under normal conditions.

I’m specifically disputing arescarti42’s assertion that times are as tough as he says (due to the tail of the GFC), so for me, ‘fine’ means breaking records set prior to the GFC when everything was hunky-dorey. And I’m using car sales to make that argument, because as the second largest purchase ever made by the average person (after a house), breaking records of new car sales indicates people’s ability to swing significant amounts of cash/debt. If times were as tough as arescarti42 asserts, then at the very least, new car sales would drop and people would buy cheaper second-hand cars.

If arescarti42 was right and times were tough, unemployment would not be 5.5%, inflation would not be healthy, interest rates would be close to zero (and maybe the RBA would print money like several northern hemisphere economies are doing), house prices would be falling (because people without jobs or with little money would not be able to buy), consumption would be declining, etc.

But arescarti42 is not right, I am.

I didn’t want a discussion about ‘APS pay rises being justified’ to turn into some spat about car sales.

arescarti42 started it.

bundah 3:37 pm 20 Jun 13

Abbott and great now there’s an oxymoron if ever I saw one!

thebrownstreak69 3:37 pm 20 Jun 13

johnboy said :

or possibly facetious.

hard to see Abbott being great for canberra even if he turns out good for the nation

True, although it’s really not his first priority to be good for Canberra. He’ll be awesome for Queanbeyan though.

Darkfalz 3:17 pm 20 Jun 13

The “nightmare of an Abbott government” hey. Nice to know you’re open minded.

    johnboy 3:23 pm 20 Jun 13

    or possibly facetious.

    hard to see Abbott being great for canberra even if he turns out good for the nation

Tetranitrate 2:58 pm 20 Jun 13

A_Cog said :

No, you’re quoting the Trend Estimates. These are misleading, as are the Seasonally Adjusted figures.

Yeah I realized after – but if trend is down, that does mean overall activity is falling. Raw numbers jump around month to month. There’s not really anything disingenuous about making inferences from the trend though.

A_Cog said :

Stick with the raw totals.

umm… maybe. Seasonal adjustment is good enough for plenty of other figures. (GDP… Unemployment)

A_Cog said :

Car sales are fine, ergo, general economic activity is fine too.

Except for the states that are in recession (based on state final demand).
The job market is not exactly crash hot in Qld and NSW either though.

How do we define ‘fine’ anyway?

A_Cog 2:36 pm 20 Jun 13

Tetranitrate said :

Ummm, hate to burst your bubble, but the figures on Macrobusiness are exactly the same figures as the ABS ones you linked to.

Car sales HAVE fallen this year – copy-pased from the relevant ABS table:
Total, all vehicles, Australia

Given the context is a growing population, flat-lining/falling car sales aren’t a great sign.

Also it took until May last year before the series passed the previous Jan 2008 peak of 90650 – and the country would have gained a million or so extra people in between.

No, you’re quoting the Trend Estimates. These are misleading, as are the Seasonally Adjusted figures.

Stick with the raw totals.

Car sales are fine, ergo, general economic activity is fine too.

Tetranitrate 2:29 pm 20 Jun 13

Tetranitrate said :

Ummm, hate to burst your bubble, but the figures on Macrobusiness are exactly the same figures as the ABS ones you linked to.

Car sales HAVE fallen this year – copy-pased from the relevant ABS table:
Total, all vehicles, Australia
96365 -Nov-2012 (peak of the series)
96218 -Dec-2012
95696 -Jan-2013
95098 -Feb-2013
94518 -Mar-2013
93978 -Apr-2013
93439 -May-2013

Given the context is a growing population, flat-lining/falling car sales aren’t a great sign.

Also it took until May last year before the series passed the previous Jan 2008 peak of 90650 – and the country would have gained a million or so extra people in between.

Massive oops here. Wrong one. I was quoting the trend and not the raw numbers.

Tetranitrate 2:15 pm 20 Jun 13

Dunno why I kept writing ‘series in that post’. Either way, it’s understandable enough.

I don’t actually think that the numbers in the OP reflect out of control wage growth though, since if you’ve slowed hiring of 3’s, you’re inevitably going to see the average wage increase as people get promoted, which aside from pay-scales, also involves things like Graduates completing their grad year and moving onto a aps4 or 5 role(which is part of the deal). I would expect this would look quite different by the end of the year though.

You’d also have fewer people higher up leaving as the private sector is moribund at the moment. Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria are (officially) in recession, and as far as the jobs market goes it’s not particularly great anywhere.

Tetranitrate 2:04 pm 20 Jun 13

A_Cog said :

Further, arescarti42, your link was to macrobusiness, not the ABS.

So, since you seem to gather your alleged ‘facts’ via google, here are three news stories about 2010-13 car sales to overcome your obvious confirmation bias (you should google ‘confirmation bias’ too):

Car dealers post record breaking sales in 2012
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-16/car-dealers-have-best-sales-on-record-in-2012/4631896

4WDs lead car sales to record highs
http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/4wds-lead-car-sales-to-record-highs-20130104-2c850.html

New car buyers in Australia break new sales record in January [2013]
http://www.news.com.au/business/companies/new-car-buyers-in-australia-break-new-sales-record-in-january/story-fnda1bsz-1226566908324

Ummm, hate to burst your bubble, but the figures on Macrobusiness are exactly the same figures as the ABS ones you linked to.

Car sales HAVE fallen this year – copy-pased from the relevant ABS table:
Total, all vehicles, Australia
96365 -Nov-2012 (peak of the series)
96218 -Dec-2012
95696 -Jan-2013
95098 -Feb-2013
94518 -Mar-2013
93978 -Apr-2013
93439 -May-2013

Given the context is a growing population, flat-lining/falling car sales aren’t a great sign.

Also it took until May last year before the series passed the previous Jan 2008 peak of 90650 – and the country would have gained a million or so extra people in between.

A_Cog 1:09 pm 20 Jun 13

Further, arescarti42, your link was to macrobusiness, not the ABS.

So, since you seem to gather your alleged ‘facts’ via google, here are three news stories about 2010-13 car sales to overcome your obvious confirmation bias (you should google ‘confirmation bias’ too):

Car dealers post record breaking sales in 2012
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-16/car-dealers-have-best-sales-on-record-in-2012/4631896

4WDs lead car sales to record highs
http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/4wds-lead-car-sales-to-record-highs-20130104-2c850.html

New car buyers in Australia break new sales record in January [2013]
http://www.news.com.au/business/companies/new-car-buyers-in-australia-break-new-sales-record-in-january/story-fnda1bsz-1226566908324

A_Cog 12:59 pm 20 Jun 13

arescarti42 said :

Oh that’s funny, the ABS seems to disagree with you. New vehicle sales for May 2013 were flat, following four consecutive months in falling sales, and have only registered a 0.2% increase over the year.

Again, you’re misrepresenting statistics, but you’re also flat-out wrong. Your link is not to the ABS, but this one is: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/9314.0May%202013?OpenDocument

I suggest you actually go to the ABS data for new car sales, and turn the spreadsheet into a graph, then look at where the blue line (car sales) hits the black line (sales per month of 100,000 cars or more). New car sales have repeatedly broken records since the GFC, and for the recent 12 months are above the pre-GFC average of 85,000/month in 9 out of 12 months.

arescarti42 said :

I guess I also missed the memo that made (made up) new car sales the leading indicator for the Australian economy.

If Australians are spending $30K to $60K on new cars IN RECORD NUMBERS then, yeah, car sales are a pretty good indicator of good economic conditions (as well as low inflation, low unemployment, healthy interest rates… I could go on, but I’m guessing you either don’t understand or don’t want to recognise these measures either). People are buying these new cars with either cash or debt, which means they are doing just fine.

arescarti42 said :

Profligacy in the public service comes at the expense of people who actually generate wealth and value in the economy.

You seem incapable of recognising the point that the APS payrise shows the stinginess of the private sector, not the “profligacy” of the APS.

p1 12:54 pm 20 Jun 13

watto23 said :

I’d rather the coaltion government just had a pay freeze and realignment of pay to match the australian average. A fair majority of public servants get payrises because it is easier to give them a payrise than it is to not.

At first glance I like your idea… then I wonder exactly how the hell you define what the Australian average pay rate is for a given public servant should be? Seriously. Do you compare my wage with the average for a private sector worker of my age and education?

I am certainly a little concerned about the coming purges, but am quietly confident that (even with the most ultra conservative, fiscally responsible incoming government) it wont take that long for them (and everyone else) to realise that there are some things the governments kinda need to do, and that they kinda need some staff to do it.

I just hope that there are still some people ’round who know how to do things when the dust settles.

HiddenDragon 12:15 pm 20 Jun 13

switch said :

HiddenDragon said :

I think we’re all in for some sobering times ahead.

Unfortunately I think only some of us are in for sobering times ahead.

I was going to say something like that, but even though many will remain comfortable (even if a little less relaxed than hitherto), I think the flow-on effects of the likely cuts, combined with the broader economic transition which Australia faces, means that few, if any, will feel that they’ve never had it so good.

watto23 12:10 pm 20 Jun 13

HiddenDragon said :

Mav said :

I work in the private sector and have done since leaving the RAAF back in 1990. Things are far from rosey that is for sure. My last wage rise was in 2008 which was a whopping 2%. Since then no further wage rises have been forth coming and there are none planned in the future. There is no EBA or Certified Agreement with my current employer and my previous employer had also ceased having an EBA.

Sounds familiar – which is why the huffing and puffing and stamping of feet by people who are outraged at not getting CPI-plus annual pay increases is sometimes amusing, sometimes annoying, and occasionally infuriating. It’s also why some in this community are somewhat more sensitive to the level of increases in government, and government-influenced, rates, taxes, charges, tariffs etc. etc. – it must be easier to be relaxed and philosophical about those hikes when your already comfortable income is going up on a regular basis.

I think we’re all in for some sobering times ahead.

Completely agree, when you here about public servants getting upset at a guaranteed 2-3% payrise when the rest of the workforce just doesn’t get a payrise, because it can’t be afforded by private companies. I’d rather the coaltion government just had a pay freeze and realignment of pay to match the australian average. A fair majority of public servants get payrises because it is easier to give them a payrise than it is to not.

switch 11:24 am 20 Jun 13

HiddenDragon said :

I think we’re all in for some sobering times ahead.

Unfortunately I think only some of us are in for sobering times ahead.

HiddenDragon 10:52 am 20 Jun 13

Mav said :

I work in the private sector and have done since leaving the RAAF back in 1990. Things are far from rosey that is for sure. My last wage rise was in 2008 which was a whopping 2%. Since then no further wage rises have been forth coming and there are none planned in the future. There is no EBA or Certified Agreement with my current employer and my previous employer had also ceased having an EBA.

Sounds familiar – which is why the huffing and puffing and stamping of feet by people who are outraged at not getting CPI-plus annual pay increases is sometimes amusing, sometimes annoying, and occasionally infuriating. It’s also why some in this community are somewhat more sensitive to the level of increases in government, and government-influenced, rates, taxes, charges, tariffs etc. etc. – it must be easier to be relaxed and philosophical about those hikes when your already comfortable income is going up on a regular basis.

I think we’re all in for some sobering times ahead.

Mav 9:53 am 20 Jun 13

I work in the private sector and have done since leaving the RAAF back in 1990. Things are far from rosey that is for sure. My last wage rise was in 2008 which was a whopping 2%. Since then no further wage rises have been forth coming and there are none planned in the future. There is no EBA or Certified Agreement with my current employer and my previous employer had also ceased having an EBA.

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