By Angela Dorizas
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has refuted claims that she would cut the public service to pay for election commitments.
Ms Gillard last week announced that there would be “unpopular cutbacks” to fund future policies and return the budget to surplus within three years.
Speaking in Brisbane on Sunday, Ms Gillard reassured government agencies that there would be no public service cuts.
“We made announcements about the efficiency dividend at the time of the budget and those announcements stand,” Ms Gillard.
“I believe Australians want to see a public service that is efficient and effective and gets the job done.
“It is Tony Abbott who says that he will cut public servants.”
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) welcomed Labor’s commitment not to increase the efficiency dividend and called on the Coalition to make clear its position on public service jobs.
In his 2010 Budget response in May, Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott flagged a freeze in public sector recruitment.
Mr Abbott said a freeze on hiring for two years would deliver a saving of $4 billion.
“There will be no redundancies, but for two years 6000 bureaucrats who retire or resign each year will not be replaced,” he said.
Leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, has called on both major parties to guarantee public service jobs.
“You can’t have a growing country with a growing need for public service and at the same time cut back public servants,” Mr Brown said.
“We want a public service that meets the demands of the country for a sustainable future we’re talking about.”
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