APS cuts more than 3600 jobs over last year

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood.
September 29, 2017

The Australian Public Service (APS) cut more than 3600 jobs in the past year, the latest report on the sector says. Many of the jobs lost appear to be from the APS contract workforce.

The APS employed some 15,000 temporary staff in June, or 9.8% of employees. A year earlier it had some 18,000 non-ongoing staff, which was about 11.55% of the workforce.

Overall, 152,095 people were employed in the APS on June 30, compared with 155,771 last year, the latest APS Statistical Bulletin noted. It said the decline in public servants was “driven by annual declines in ongoing employees”.

Meanwhile, the number of employees working part-time steadily increased from 12% in 2007 to 16% this year.

The APS Statistical Bulletin counts permanent and non-ongoing employees of Commonwealth agencies, but does not count people employed indirectly through labour hire companies.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) national secretary Nadine Flood said on September 26: “The Coalition caused enormous damage with massive job cuts during its first years in government. Slashing more than 3600 Commonwealth jobs is another huge blow to the quality and reliability of Commonwealth services.

“The government’s ideological obsession with the size of the Commonwealth public sector is doing enormous damage, with thousands of permanent staff gone from places such as DHS [Department of Human Services], the courts, CSIRO, Immigration and Border Force. In other places they are trying to paper over the cracks by employing people through labour hire firms.

“Today’s figures also take no account of the billions of dollars the Turnbull government throws at multinational consulting firms like EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG. It’s a number that keeps on growing as service standards keep falling.

“We don’t know how many people are employed through labour hire arrangements, but what we do know is that these contracts cost the taxpayer more as labour hire firms profit at the expense of their workers. That extra cost also delivers less, because labour hire staff are generally paid less, provided with inadequate training and have no job security.

“The reality is that the size of the Commonwealth public sector should have grown along with Australia’s population, providing essential services as well as quality, secure jobs for communities around the country, particularly in regional areas. Australians deserve to be able to access services like Medicare through staff who have the right training and resources to help.”

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