Union draws map of public-sector job cuts - Public Service Association

Union draws map of public-sector job cuts

SMH – 1 June, 2014

Legal Aid services, art galleries and museums in the city, prisons in regional areas and education and housing in the central west will be affected by job cuts in the public service, calculations by the public sector union show.

But NSW Treasurer Mike Baird’s office said the union’s modelling, based on details received under freedom of information, is incorrect because the budget cuts would not be achieved purely through a headcount.

The government introduced a 1.2 per cent labour expense cap in last year’s budget that would make the equivalent of 10,000 jobs redundant over four years, following the 5000 jobs cut in the previous budget.

It has given department heads discretion in how they will deliver the cuts but has provided little detail on how they will affect communities and services.

The Public Service Association of NSW has used freedom-of-information laws to get detail from government departments on the expected job cuts by electorate. The calculations exclude public servants such as teachers, nurses and police, who are exempt from the cuts.

The PSA has used the information to produce a breakdown of how the O’Farrell government’s cuts will affect each electorate.

The union’s modelling suggests as many as 3666 jobs – or their equivalent in services – will be lost in central Sydney. This area includes the state electorates of Balmain, Drummoyne, Sydney, Vaucluse, Marrickville and Strathfield.

Western Sydney, which includes the electorates of Penrith, Blue Mountains, Granville and Blacktown, stands to lose the equivalent of as many as 2306 jobs, the analysis shows.

PSA general secretary Anne Gardiner said the government had failed to provide any transparency in how it would deliver the cuts, and had failed to provide the public with a plan for which services would be lost.

”This is amateur hour from the O’Farrell government,” Ms Gardiner said. ”It is not open to scrutiny. From bio-security to emergency preparedness, these cuts are going to have long-term consequences particularly in regional NSW.”

Ms Gardiner said the cuts would affect a wide range of services including the arts and agriculture. ”One of our big concerns is in the scientific area,” she said.

People undertaking research, which included the effect of termites on buildings, were ”suddenly disappearing with no one to take their place”.

The PSA analysis also suggests the labour expenses cap will affect the Art Gallery of NSW and museums in Sydney. Legal Aid, the Office of Environment and Heritage and education support staff would also be targeted.

In western Sydney, services to be affected include juvenile justice, the Parramatta Correctional Centre, Roads and Maritime Services and education.

The Berrima Correctional Centre, community services and education support staff in Warilla are among services the PSA said will be affected in the Illawarra.

A spokeswoman for Mr Baird said the PSA modelling was not based on actual jobs because the labour expense cap would not be achieved through a headcount.

Mr Baird said the government was ”very upfront about the fact that last year’s budget included a number of difficult and unpopular decisions, including job losses”.

”In line with our commitments, nurses, police officers and teachers in schools have been quarantined from this measure,” he said. “The government was determined to give the directors-general as much flexibility as possible to achieve the savings required in the most appropriate way to maintain their services.”

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