22 February 2011

Lundy returns fire on the efficiency dividend

| johnboy
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Labor Senator Kate Lundy has replied to Senator Humphries lamentations of this morning on funding at National Institutions.

“Senator Humphries is being deliberately misleading to allege that the Australian War Memorial has had considerable funding cuts since 2007.

“The Memorial received $38 million from the Australian Government for ongoing costs.

“This funding is comparable with previous years funding, including under the former Coalition Government.”

Senator Kate Lundy today reaffirmed the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to our national cultural institutions.

“Our national institutions are treasured by the Canberra community and one of the reasons so many Australians visit the nation’s capital each year,” Senator Lundy said.

The Government has invested strongly in our national institutions, including the following commitments in this year’s budget:

— $7 million for capital expenditure to the National Museum,
— $4.5 million for capital expenditure for the High Court, and
— $112.9 million over 4 years plus $2 million per year from 2014-15 onwards to establish and maintain the Australian National Institute for Public Policy on the ANU campus.

I’m not entirely sure that a TAFE for public servants on the ANU campus is what the rest of Canberra thinks of as a national institution.

Some comparison of increases of funding would also be nicer than raw numbers.

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More spin as Lundy is being economical with the truth, apart from the fact that they, the ALP, categorically denied any cuts at the last election whilst enthusiastically pointing out that the tories wanted cuts.

Then again, I guess it’s probably all Abbott’s fault.

bd84 said :

The Government needs to stop pretending and making excuses and rectify the funding issues.

Let’s here some positive suggestions please! More taxes perhaps? 🙂

While a lot of people may not know the different types of funding government entities receive, there are some of us who do. Trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the general community by releasing a misleading media release like this is pretty low.

It needs to be pointed out that the Senator is comparing different types of Government funding. The projects listed are funded through one off capital injections (i.e. equity), efficiency dividends are imposed on expenditure and the revenue contributions the Government provides to cover this expenditure (i.e. income statement).

They have no relation to each other, the Government could be funding many capital projects and it will still be imposing efficiency dividends. For example, the National Museum will have some lovely expanded exhibition space, but no staff to adequately staff it or to provide tours, or the High Court’s leaking roof might be fixed but they may need to stop cleaning the building every night.

The Government needs to stop pretending and making excuses and rectify the funding issues.

And this is what the efficiency dividend is all about Kate. Sure, funding hasn’t been cut – but reading between the lines, ‘comparable with previous years’ certainly doesn’t sound like there’s been any funding increase.

Meanwhile, inflation is an inescapable part of life, and people expect wages to at least keep up with it. Yet the government expects that any salary increases must be paid for via ‘efficiency dividends’. Not to mention costs to run the place, which must also increase along with inflation.

I don’t work for a cultural institution, but I do work for a smaller agency (sub 1000 staff). Whenever Enterprise Agreement time comes up, it’s a struggle to find further efficiencies. We’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, and there’s only so much fat you can cut before you begin to hit the muscle.

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