Boss Watch: Consultants tell SA to axe jobs and hospital beds


Two of the world's largest consultancy firms, Deloitte and KPMG, have recommended 300 jobs cuts and 114 bed closures in South Australia's health system to save $83 million.

KPMG has previously been criticised over erroneous financial statements for the US mortgage entity Fannie Mae, along with other problematic practices around the global financial crisis. Deloitte was criticised by Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor for compiling a "bogus" report that the government said helped the tobacco industry in its efforts to undermine plain packaging laws.

Yet the SA Labor government has backed the consultancy reports, saying it can achieve the cuts through “natural attrition”. Premier Jay Weatherill said the government released the reports to discuss "how we get the most efficient system".

Australian Nursing Federation SA secretary Elizabeth Dabars said: "By slashing nursing care hours, nurses will be forced to risk compromising patient care while trying desperately to care for the same amount of people.

“We believe patients deserve the best care possible, not the lowest common denominator ... we are certainly not supportive of these recommendations."

Dr David Pope from the Salaried Medical Officers Association said: "There'll be less beds for patients, they'll be forced out of hospital earlier while they're still ill, in potentially dangerous ways."

Caltex to close refinery, offshore jobs

Caltex is shutting the last NSW oil refinery, located in Kurnell, axing 330 jobs plus an unspecified number of contractors, as it turns the plant into an import terminal.

Shell has also decided to close its Clyde refinery in Sydney. NSW now has no local oil refinery. Commentators say Caltex's purely commercial interests take no account of public interest, and leave NSW completely dependent on the global oil market.

Caltex remains profitable, but management thinks it can be more profitable through job cuts and relocation.

Newman's perks for mates, cuts for workers

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's LNP government has planned savage cuts, with up to 15,000 jobs still on the line. But not everyone is feeling the pinch.

Former Northern Territory chief minister Shane Stone has been appointed chair of government-owned corporation Energex. Stone will reportedly work just three days a week and get $77,000 a year.

Newman has defended such cushy positions at a time of huge cuts, saying such appointments are needed to "sort out the mess" that Labor left.

Former federal Treasurer Peter Costello received $3300 a day for his report that outlined savage job cuts. Another Newman appointment is former Howard government minister Warwick Parer.

Two other appointees to receive salaries of almost $500,000 are David Edwards, son of Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s treasurer Sir Llew Edwards, and former Liberal councillor, MP and lobbyist Michael Caltabiano.

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