AUSTRALIAN Progressives policy directory Nicolle Burt has slammed the Morrison Government, saying its cuts to the Australian Public Service is a swipe at the public sector.
“Coalition governments have never been at ease with an impartial and professional public service. The consolidation of 18 agencies in to 14 does nothing to break bureaucratic congestion, improve decision making or ultimately, deliver better services,” Ms Burt says.
The changes, which come into effect on February 1, include the Arts and Communications Department being added to a newly formed Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and, environment functions are moved to a new Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, with emissions reduction added to Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
The Australian Progressives are now strongly urging the Morrison Government to reconsider the changes.
“Canberra is not a bubble as the Prime Minister claims. It is the seat of our national government, created by our nation for our nation. The only bubble in Canberra is the one on Parliament Hill which is replete with 149 FIFO workers in the House and 74 in the Senate,” Ms Burt says.
“These ongoing changes are a huge cost to the taxpayer and are designed to slash the already diminished expertise of the APS.
“It’s all about reducing the actual numbers in the APS, [which means] many agencies lose their in-house expertise and [will] require the services of more expensive external contractors and consultants.
“These skills are required to fill knowledge and capability gaps in order to deliver against Government mandated programs.”
Ms Burt says more than 65 per cent of the total Australian public service are located outside of Canberra. APS employment in Canberra, as a percentage of the workforce, has decreased from 32 per cent in 2011 to 28 per cent in 2016.
“These new changes will result in more costs to taxpayers through redundancies, administrative changes and job losses,” she says.