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Budget 2008: Labor's further job cuts to public service.

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Wed, 14th May 2008


Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Human Services

Following the Rudd Government's Budget announcement last night, concern is growing for the welfare of jobs throughout the public service sector as well as Centrelink, Human Services Shadow Minister Helen Coonan stressed this morning.

While slashes to Centrelink funding already sparked a rumoured prediction of 2000 job cuts earlier this year, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) now holds fears for 3,300 commonwealth public service jobs as a result of the Budget.

''It's evident the Rudd Government is deliberately selling out to increase unemployment. This is a strange, given all their rhetoric about increased productivity,'' Senator Coonan said.

With Labor introducing new reviews and systems to Centrelink programs, such as means testing the baby bonus and launching a new welfare debit card, cutting staff to the organisation and other areas of the public service will stretch them beyond their capacity to deliver.

''There are going to be longer waiting lines, longer telephone queues and longer waits for information with the onset of all these programs because Centrelink and the public sector won't have the staff or the resources to manage the increased workload.''

''It's outrageous to introduce new programs into any organisation, only to then follow up by slashing staff,'' Senator Coonan said

CPSU national secretary Stephen Jones also added to Senator Coonan's concerns.

''Whether it's the 11,000 workers in the tax office or the 450 workers in the Department of Human Services, we can see at each end there is going to be increased difficulties in government achieving its big policy agenda,'' Mr Jones said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has budgeted for an extra 123 staffers to his own department.

The CPSU calculated the job cuts based on the Labor Government's promised efficiency dividend.