Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Are Canberrans Really Safe from the Axe?

A recent article in the Canberra Times optimistically reported that Canberra-based public servants were largely safe from the federal government's suspected trimming of the public service. In the 1990s massive cuts occurred to the Commonwealth public service and created major economic problems in the capital (although the resultant property price crash would be welcomed by some in Canberra!). The never-ending 'efficiency dividend' imposed on government agencies has resulted in vacant jobs going unfilled, non-renewal of contractors and the like. But for how long can dividends be delivered using this approach? In combination with the Prime Ministers phenomenal work ethic and his seemingly never-ending demands on public servants to follow his lead has caused a lot of fuss around Canberra (see earlier posts). And, whilst the Territory government might be 'confident' they will be spared the razor gang's cuts, their optimism might be seen in months to come, to be over-inflated.

It's also to believe that cuts won't be made in Canberra in what are mainly policy parts of Departments to enable service expansion around the country when we are getting closer and closer to a dreaded recession. Demand for governments services will clearly increase - something recognised recently by the reconfiguring of rules in the Job Network to enable those made redundant to immediately access job placement and training services - at a cost of almost $300M. When push comes to shove will the government really want to save Canberra, or invest its ever-dwindling funds into services for what will be an increasing pool of unemployed people across the coutry?

1 comment:

  1. One of the major problems with government cost-cutting is that the quality of services is reduced in a time when government services are in greater demand. Professor John Wanna's 'document' for the ALP in Queensland adequately sums up the risks. See: