No limit to NSW public job cuts
Updated: 21:02, Tuesday July 3, 2012
The NSW government announced a 1.2 per cent annual labour expense cap in its June state budget but now says this could mean axing more than 10,000 jobs.
The government announced a 1.2 per cent annual labour expense cap as part of its June budget, saying this could result in the loss of 10,000 public sector jobs over the next four years.
The foreshadowed cuts came on top of 5000 redundancies announced in September.
Unions are now condemning the uncertainty around redundancies after a leaked Treasury note indicated there may be no upper limit to the cuts.
The internal email from a NSW Treasury official, dated June 12, states ‘there is no floor or cap on redundancies’.
It also says the job losses announced in the budget were only an ‘indicative figure’, Fairfax reports.
Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner confirmed on Tuesday there were never any caps and no guarantees.
‘We deliberately didn’t put any number on public sector job cuts,’ he told reporters in Sydney.
‘It may not be anything like 10,000 jobs but neither is 10,000 a cap beyond which departments couldn’t go.
‘There’s no guarantees in this life.’
However, Mr Stoner said he hoped no more than 10,000 would be lost, with government departments working to save money in other ways.
‘That could include (cutting) overtime, it could include contractors, that could include temporary staff,’ Mr Stoner said.
The note sparked outrage from the Public Service Association (PSA).
‘We are concerned that there will be pressure from the government on government heads to fund the 1.2 per cent cut,’ assistant secretary Steve Turner told AAP.
It was hard to get information out of the government departments, Mr Turner said.
‘There is so little information flowing that the stress is just building.’
Opposition Leader John Robertson said the email exposed that frontline jobs were under threat.
‘This email confirms there are no caps on redundancies and there are no protections for frontline workers,’ Mr Robertson said.
‘That means paramedics, firefighters, child protection workers, teachers’ aids and physiotherapists are among the thousands of workers that could be sacked.
The government denied this, saying frontline jobs were quarantined from its cost cutting measures.