Media Release - Abbott Liberal Government Attacks on Public Service hit Newcastle

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18 May 2015

Today I will join staff from the Department of Human Services, including Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support staff, in their action to highlight the damage that is occurring through the Abbott Liberal Government’s growing attacks on workplace rights and employment conditions at the workplace.

The Government’s offer to its 30,000 staff of wage increases of just 3.25 per cent over the three years to the end of 2017 represents a real wage cut of nearly 4.25 per cent. This would see a typical DHS employee around $920 worse off each year. Inflation over the same period is forecast to be around 7.5 per cent. The Government is also demanding staff work an extra 4.5 days a year and give up allowances and sick leave.

Labor believes in a productive and affordable public service, but Tony Abbott’s obsession with axing jobs and cutting wages and conditions does not lead to a more effective workforce.

More than 17,000 public sector jobs have been cut since Tony Abbott was elected, including cuts in Newcastle to the ABC, Centrelink, Australian Tax Office and CSIRO.

The Government’s contempt for the public service and inflexible approach to bargaining is stifling real opportunities for improved productivity and service delivery in the public sector.

The Abbott Government should abandon its narrow approach to bargaining and start negotiating in good faith with public sector unions to improve productive performance by increasing skills and training, improve management systems and logistics as well as the quality of service to the public.

Australia and its public service workforce deserve better than this chaotic and extreme government.

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle