No plan to slash PS jobs: Tanner

By Angela Dorizas

Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has denied claims that the Government will slash public sector jobs to find budget savings.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) last week warned that the Federal Government was planning to impose a boosted efficiency dividend on departments and agencies.

In its Budget submission, the CPSU said it had been advised by the Australian Tax Office that further budget savings were to found in addition to the annual efficiency dividend of $15.4 million in 2009-2010 and a further $31.4 million ongoing in 2010-11.

“This equates to a total of $41.8 million or just under 400 jobs,” the CPSU said.

Mr Tanner said the Government was seeking savings across the public service, but did not confirm whether an efficiency dividend had been set.

“We’re certainly looking for any savings we can find right across the activities of Government,” Mr Tanner told ABC Radio.

“But I can’t respond to speculation that we would have any kind of increase in the efficiency dividend, but we are certainly seeking savings, and what they consist of is a matter for individual agencies and departments to propose, but we’re certainly seeking savings from any areas of the budget we can find, because we’ve got to get the budget back into surplus.”

Mr Tanner said the Government had “no agenda to start hacking into the total size of the public service”.

Opposition to slash jobs

Shadow minister for finance, Senator Barnaby Joyce, last week floated plans to cut staffing numbers in the public service to fund the Coalition’s climate change scheme.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, Senator Joyce said costs needed to be controlled.  

“The only way you can save jobs in the future of the public service is to control costs now,” he said.

“If you don’t control costs now, you are putting at risk more people in the public service.

“You’ve got to cut the suit to fit the wearer.”

However, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott later contradicted the Senator’s statement.

“The Coalition supports the public service,” Mr Abbott said.

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