WA slashes 500 public service jobs

By Staff Writer

The West Australian Government has announced plans to cut 500 public service jobs through a $48 million voluntary redundancy package.

Treasurer Troy Buswell said the decision to pursue job cuts was an additional measure to restore the State’s finances and help achieve a three per cent efficiency dividend.

“In 2007-08, employee costs in the general government sector grew by 11.6 per cent; nearly double the budget projection of 6.2 per cent, to $7.6 billion,” Buswell said.

“With a significant slowing in the State’s revenue now evident, and flat revenue growth projected for the next two years, the public sector cannot continue to grow at these sorts of rates.

“In instances where positions have become, or are likely to become, surplus to agency requirements we will assist director generals and chief executive officers of government agencies to identify and fund voluntary severance packages for employees.”

The voluntary redundancies would require the approval of the Public Sector Commissioner and would be in accordance with the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

Buswell said the redundancies, offered to employees over the next 15 months, would need to be agreed to by both the public servant and the department’s director general.

“We are not considering involuntary redundancies,” he said.

Public servants who take up the redundancy offers are entitled to three weeks pay for every year of service, along with holiday and long service leave entitlements.

The Community and Public Sector Union said agencies may have trouble finding 500 employees willing to be made redundant and warned that the cuts would further weaken morale in a stretched public service.

Opposition Leader Eric Ripper has criticised the Barnett Government for the timing the public sector job cuts.

“If they do leave the public service, they’ll be going into a job market where prospects are getting worse,” he said.

“That’s the issue, 500 more competitors in a job market already under threat.”

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