Govt admits 1200 public service jobs will go

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Govt admits 1200 public service jobs will go

The public sector union says the Federal Budget will cost 3300 public service jobs ¯ but Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says the number will only be 1200, and most will find new jobs in other Government departments.

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The public sector union says the Federal Budget will cost 3300 public service jobs — but Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says the number will only be 1200, and most will find new jobs in other Government departments.

Last night’s Budget included widespread cuts in spending in the public service, contributing to $33 billion in savings across four years, including a one-off 2% efficiency dividend across Government departments.

The cuts include more than $7 billion in 2008–09.

CPSU national secretary Stephen Jones said he expects 3300 jobs will face the axe from the Government’s razor gang.

Significant cut

‘I don’t call 3300 jobs minimal,’ he said. ‘I call that a significant cut in the front-line workers who are delivering policy and services to the Government and to the Australian public.’

Overnight Treasurer Wayne Swan would not put a figure on predicted job losses but said he is not expecting a huge number. However, today Tanner quoted a figure of 1200 jobs.

However, he said most public servants who lose their jobs will be able to find positions with other departments.

‘It is reasonable to assume that some people, possibly a fairly substantial portion will actually just move from one area of their existing employment to another,’ Tanner said.

Tight labour market

‘It’s a very tight labour market in Canberra, unemployment is very low, the competition for skilled staff is pretty intense.'

‘So we believe that this will not have a negative impact on the Canberra economy.’

Tanner says job opportunities in the public service are continually created because of natural attrition.

‘As people move on, as people retire, as people switch from public to private, as people move to State agencies or decide to go overseas or whatever — so you get a very substantial churn and in most cases agencies will absorb those who lose their existing positions and want to stay in that agency as a result of that churn,’ he said.

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