NSW public service will not keep pace

By Angela Dorizas

The New South Wales Government must increase the public service to meet the challenges of population growth, a new report has found.

An independent report by Eureka Economics revealed that the NSW Government must employ on average 4700 extra public service workers each year over the next 20 years to keep up with demand for essential services.

The report, released by the Public Service Association (PSA), also found that on a global scale NSW is a laggard on public service employment levels.

PSA general secretary John Cahill said public sector employment represented 16 per cent of the state’s total workforce, compared to an average 18 per cent across the OECD.

“Since 1985 the population in NSW has grown by 1.7 million people, but the public sector has been contracting rather than keeping pace,” Mr Cahill said.

“An extra 1.6 million people will need access to essential services such as health, transport, education and police over the next 20 years.

“Even if we cap our public sector workforce at the current ratio, below OECD standards, we will still need an extra 95,000 workers to keep up with demand.”

He said that was a conservative estimate that did not take into account for future demands on the health and aged care sectors dealing with an ageing population.

“The basic purpose of government is to provide the essential public services that underpin our communities,” Mr Cahill said.

“If you cut back on public servants you are also cutting back on public services.”

Read the full report: Keeping Pace – the impact of population growth on NSW public services [PDF]

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