Nervous wait for public servants

Thousands of Canberra public servants face a nervous wait to learn if their jobs will be axed in the latest round of Federal Government cuts.

The Coalition is expected to confirm on Monday it is either abolishing or merging 175 Federal Government agencies and bodies as part of the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The majority of jobs are predicted to be cut from Canberra.

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Treasurer Joe Hockey has previously said the Senate’s refusal to pass some savings measures and the fall in commodity prices have combined to make the budget situation worse than expected.

Nadine Flood from the CPSU, the union representing public servants, said the latest cuts were bad news for workers ahead of Christmas.

“If the Government moves to major outsourcing of functions in these areas we could see anywhere between 1,000 and 8,000 to 9,000 jobs to go,” she said.

“That is if they want to take the public service back to where it was 10 years ago.

“This is pretty tough news for thousands of public sector workers, it is all very well for the Treasurer to say these cuts won’t hurt the community, [but] these people are part of the community.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Canberra had already felt the sting of federal budget cuts.

“There is an expectation that a large number of these agencies operate out of ACT, so then it is quite serious news compounding what’s already been a rolling program of cuts from the Federal Liberal Government, he said.

“We are very concerned that this compounding impact will put even more pressure on economic growth in the ACT and certainly will lead to a loss of jobs.”

He said the ACT budget would look to counter the cuts.

“We have to make more of our own economic luck, there’s no doubting that,” he said.

“These sorts of decisions, that come on top of previously announced cuts make it even harder for the territory economy to grow, but we will do everything we can to support jobs growth in the territory. ”

ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja was approached for comment.

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