The decision by the Coalition Government today to extend the efficiency dividend and lift the rate by 0.5%, effectively cutting some $2.7 billion from the Australian Public Service (APS) over the next four years is ill-conceived and one I oppose.
While budget repair is needed, it should not come at the cost of the APS. The pandemic has shown how vital it is to have a strong and well-resourced public service.
The efficiency dividend is applied equally across the entire APS, and disproportionately impacts smaller agencies who deliver important work.
People across the community are feeling the negative impacts from the cuts already made to existing APS capacity.
We’ve seen reports of service delivery falling down across the board whether that’s in processing the claims off or our veterans, those seeking support from Services Australia or with the resourcing of frontline like the Australian Federal Police.
The APS cannot do its job for Australians if it is running on a skeleton crew. This is a time to invest in the APS, not rip money out.
This is a short-sighted approach that will do more harm than good and lead to greater inefficiencies in the long run.
Our APS does incredible work for the community and deserves to be valued and properly resourced.
This ongoing threat to the APS is another reason why we need an independent voice in the Senate standing up for ACT and the future of our public service.
More than ever, we need public servants delivering frank and fearless advice to the government of the day, developing good public policy and helping restore integrity and accountability to the political process.
Yet again, this shows the disrespect for Canberrans and the expertise and professionalism of our public sector.
Each dollar ripped out of the APS is yet another dollar ripped out of Canberra.
Wherever I go around Canberra, across hundreds of conversations this is something the community raises with me.
Cutting down on government waste, pork-barrelling and mismanagement would be a much better start when it comes to improving the budget bottom line.