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Wong to swing the axe at the public service again

By johnboy - 25 September 2012 39

The National Times has word of further major cuts to the Public Service with Penny Wong wanting another $550 million in savings over four years on top of the swingeing 4% efficiency dividend.

She has some piddling ideas as to where savings can be made:

— Almost $30 million a year through across-the-board reductions in air-travel spending, including restrictions on business-class flights.
— Over $60 million in 2012-13 by cutting public servants’ reliance on external consultants and contractors.
— $2 million a year through advertising jobs online rather than in other media.
— Cutting printing costs by about 5 per cent by increasingly publishing online only, saving about $6 million a year.

That leaves a lot of bone and muscle to make up the numbers.

UPDATE 25/09/12 13:27: Penny Wong’s office has sent in her release:

What’s Your opinion?

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39 Responses to
Wong to swing the axe at the public service again
rosscoact 3:03 pm 25 Sep 12

It was interesting that the last term of the Keating Government cut almost as many PS as Howard did, albeit not in one go. Approximately a third of the public service was retrenched 1991-1999 but it’s back to where it was 20 years ago through increases in staffing by Howard and Killard.

Governments are always gung ho about cutting PS but less so about cutting their programs therefore the bombast by either party is only a temporary measure to appeal to the Joe Sixpacks out there who think that less public servants is a good thing (until they need some service).

fromthecapital 2:59 pm 25 Sep 12

Why do defence get quarantined?

dpm 2:45 pm 25 Sep 12

Truthiness said :

And the difference between labour and liberal is?

“Our methodical and responsible approach to finding savings in the public service is in stark
contrast to the Liberals. State Liberal Premiers had the opportunity to progress considered
savings, but instead chose to indiscriminately cut jobs.
We will always find new ways of delivering essential government services, while ensuring
value for money to taxpayers – and without targeting jobs.”

So, apparently they are finding efficiencies, not cutting jobs (consultants/contractors apparently don’t have jobs)…

I also love the last bit (which should be spoken quickly, like at the end of a pollie/Govt Ad on TV!):
“The Department of Defence has been excluded from this arrangement. It also does not
apply to the Departments of the Senate or the House of Representatives, reflecting the
importance of the chamber departments in the functioning of the Federal Parliament.”

So, they get to keep their plush travel, reflecting their ‘importance’ over the rest of the PS! 🙂
They’ve probably earned themselves another pay rise with this work.

noma 2:27 pm 25 Sep 12

Truthiness said :

And the difference between labour and liberal is?

hmm not much actually, except that Labor cuts public service sneakily over time whereas Liberal was upfront about cutting PS

Darkfalz 1:49 pm 25 Sep 12

Ah. When Labor cut PS jobs, they’re making it “more efficient”. So it’s a good thing they are putting people are out of work. Because it’s efficient.

johnboy 1:30 pm 25 Sep 12

Now with Senator Wong’s statement.

miz 12:57 pm 25 Sep 12

The paperless office is unworkable as there will actually be more covert printing and poor record keeping of same.
Also there are areas where you legitimately must have hardcopy. I can think of several off the top of my head where persons being dealt with do not have access to computers – prisoners in Australia or OS (mutual assistance, extradition), areas requiring proof of identity. There is also the problem of retrieval in a software environment where more than five years old is ancient and not maintained, preventing softcopy access. IT areas in public service are often run on a shoestring with contract staff who don’t have any longstanding corporate knowledge.

I have experienced all of the above. Sure you might ‘save money’ in the short term but at what cost? The public service would cop it big time if record keeping was found (through some media scandal) not to be up to scratch.

Mysteryman 12:36 pm 25 Sep 12

Truthiness said :

And the difference between labour and liberal is?

Liberal are honest about wanting to cut PS expenditure. Labor lie about it.

Truthiness 12:04 pm 25 Sep 12

They wouldn’t need so many contractors if they could lend skills between departments. In my experience many people contract because a department hires them for a single project and then let’s them go. If the APS just hired people to work for the government, and then moved them between departments as needed, there wouldn’t need to be so many contractors.

You find me a permanent role doing what I do, and I’ll stop contracting, until then I’ll be following the work from project to project.

p1 12:01 pm 25 Sep 12

– Over $60 million in 2012-13 by cutting public servants’ reliance on external consultants and contractors.

Because that work should be done by all the lazy staff who are sitting ’round all day doing nothing.

schmeah 11:38 am 25 Sep 12

She must have thought of this saving measure only after her and her parliamentary colleagues gave themselves a second pay rise in 12 months ..

switch 11:30 am 25 Sep 12

Be pretty ironic if she destroys the Dept. of Climate Change before Abbott does, since it was in setting it up that she came to the fore…

dtc 11:26 am 25 Sep 12

The problem with cutting consultants is that the APS often just doesnt have the skills. So everything takes twice as long and costs more, negating the savings.

Lets be real, there are some areas in the APS that waste money. However, its pretty rare when you are looking at things like travel or publishing. If you want to cut the APS, you need to reduce what they do – cut some procurements or programs or whatever.

Truthiness 11:14 am 25 Sep 12

And the difference between labour and liberal is?

Mysteryman 11:00 am 25 Sep 12

In before the typical “but, but Abbott is worse he’ll cut all the jobs and destroy the public service hurr durrr”.

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