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Public Service asked to find $580 million under the couch

By johnboy - 12 May 2013 16

The Australian has grim news of just how the Gillard Government is going to plug the gap of its runaway spending.

With the bodies of EL1s and 2s it seems:

Finance Minister Penny Wong said the public service would be asked to find $580 million in savings to help fund the NDIS and Gonski.

The savings, over four years, will be made through management changes, reducing office space and consolidating administrative functions across departments.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
Public Service asked to find $580 million under the couch
dtc 3:26 pm 13 May 13

deepsouf said :

Some interesting numbers from a CT poster made me rethink my opposition to all these cuts: “45% of APS workers in Canberra are executive level or above (see APSC statistical bulletin) earning a total package of between $115,257 and $343,532 (see APSC remuneration report)”.

45% of people in the head office of [insert ASX 200 company name here] are executive level as well. Of course APS offices in Canberra are at EL level; this is the head office of the APS.

Rollersk8r 2:47 pm 13 May 13

JessP said :

Also in the article;

Ms Wong said the government would also reduce the density target for its workplaces from 16 to 14 square metres per employee.

The latest audit of public service offices, carried out in 2009, found almost three in four workplaces had too much room.

That report said the median occupational density rate was 20.6sqm.

The then finance minister, Lindsay Tanner, said meeting the target of 16sqm per work station would save taxpayers about $100 million a year.

Does this mean they will refit all the offices so that we only have 16sqm…..? At a huge cost for each refit?

Yes and no. They won’t refit every office – but they will where they can get whole floors off the books.

dpm 12:53 pm 13 May 13

A_Cog said :

deepsouf said :

Some interesting numbers from a CT poster made me rethink my opposition to all these cuts: “45% of APS workers in Canberra are executive level or above (see APSC statistical bulletin) earning a total package of between $115,257 and $343,532 (see APSC remuneration report)”.

Yeah, SCREW these people, earning lots and being so senior! What have they done for me lately?!?

The EL1s and EL2s are some of the most valuable public servants. They’d design policy, add the most value, have such huge organisational and historical memories, anticipate problems… Without them, disasters are guaranteed. Demonising them because they earn $100K or $130K is bizarre, because unlike people in the private sector, EL1s and EL2s are actually contributing to the quality of society, in addition to paying significant amounts of income tax.

On the flip side, there are 30,000 EL1s and 14,000 EL2s, so you could make your $580m over four years by cutting 1,500 of them. That is about 3.5%. I’d guess that a bunch of the +50 year olds would take the package.

But pushing these guys out the airlock and not replacing them is a great way to destroy capacity. Where will the next completely predictable debacle occur next?

Probably where someone uses next two times in a sentence. Are you one of the fabled MVPSs? 🙂

deepsouf 12:14 pm 13 May 13

A_Cog said :

deepsouf said :

The EL1s and EL2s are some of the most valuable public servants. They’d design policy, add the most value, have such huge organisational and historical memories, anticipate problems… Without them, disasters are guaranteed.

I would be the first the recognise how important public servants are to our country; the point was that this is very big money for a very big proportion of the APS and one understands why people in other states look on in disbelief. You are quite wrong to believe 1 in every 2 public servants in Canberra is designing policy and preventing national disasters.

JessP 12:07 pm 13 May 13

Also in the article;

Ms Wong said the government would also reduce the density target for its workplaces from 16 to 14 square metres per employee.

The latest audit of public service offices, carried out in 2009, found almost three in four workplaces had too much room.

That report said the median occupational density rate was 20.6sqm.

The then finance minister, Lindsay Tanner, said meeting the target of 16sqm per work station would save taxpayers about $100 million a year.

Does this mean they will refit all the offices so that we only have 16sqm…..? At a huge cost for each refit?

davo101 12:04 pm 13 May 13

fromthecapital said :

No surprises that defence is exempt. The amount of waste in the civilian side of the defence department is staggering

The waste on the fighty side makes the civilian side look like chump change. Brian Toohey had an article in the AFR pointing out that the Collins class is heading towards a billion dollars a year to run (with the interesting titbit that HMAS Rankin has been in a shed in Adelaide since 2008). How about Seasprite or perhaps the F-35?

fromthecapital 10:50 am 13 May 13

No surprises that defence is exempt. The amount of waste in the civilian side of the defence department is staggering

A_Cog 10:06 am 13 May 13

deepsouf said :

Some interesting numbers from a CT poster made me rethink my opposition to all these cuts: “45% of APS workers in Canberra are executive level or above (see APSC statistical bulletin) earning a total package of between $115,257 and $343,532 (see APSC remuneration report)”.

Yeah, SCREW these people, earning lots and being so senior! What have they done for me lately?!?

The EL1s and EL2s are some of the most valuable public servants. They’d design policy, add the most value, have such huge organisational and historical memories, anticipate problems… Without them, disasters are guaranteed. Demonising them because they earn $100K or $130K is bizarre, because unlike people in the private sector, EL1s and EL2s are actually contributing to the quality of society, in addition to paying significant amounts of income tax.

On the flip side, there are 30,000 EL1s and 14,000 EL2s, so you could make your $580m over four years by cutting 1,500 of them. That is about 3.5%. I’d guess that a bunch of the +50 year olds would take the package.

But pushing these guys out the airlock and not replacing them is a great way to destroy capacity. Where will the next completely predictable debacle occur next?

Rollersk8r 9:53 am 13 May 13

There’s a lot I could say but it basically comes down to: Do I think there are too many senior APS staff? Yes. Do I want to lose my job? No.

Erg0 9:48 am 13 May 13

Shared services would take a lot longer than 4 years to get off the ground and actually start saving money. Have a look at the debacle in WA for an example of how things tend to go wrong when you underestimate the complexity involved.

deepsouf 8:39 am 13 May 13

Some interesting numbers from a CT poster made me rethink my opposition to all these cuts: “45% of APS workers in Canberra are executive level or above (see APSC statistical bulletin) earning a total package of between $115,257 and $343,532 (see APSC remuneration report)”.

gooterz 11:16 pm 12 May 13

I’d expect many services that are free will be axed.

Won’t be long before Julia starts outsourcing jobs up north.. (probably as far as China)

HiddenDragon 10:33 pm 12 May 13

Sounds like the Feds copying savings ideas from other jurisdictions – shared services (ACT and others?), re-profiling (NSW?). If most, or all, of these cuts came from the SES, that would be rather dramatic, but I doubt it – I think we will have to wait a little longer for anything quite that spectacular.

farnarkler 7:45 pm 12 May 13

We’ve got an ses 1 who does sweet FA. We’ve also got an EL1 training officer who sends a group email every six months. There’s $250k saved already. Anyone else?

mezza76 5:38 pm 12 May 13

That comment leads me to think that they are going to implement shared services across departments, sharing payroll, HR, possibly accounts payable, etc. That would probably save a considerable sum – although there would be a fair chunk of pain in terms of both head count and acceptance of new services.

There is plenty of people at the EL1 & 2 levels that are used as a recruitment and rentention measure over the last decade when the labour market was tight. Equally, there are plenty of technical experts that hold those jobs as a means of competiting with the private sector. If these changes are done right, there is a chance that things will be ok.

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