Weatherill spends $449 million to reduce public servants – What happened?

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today the Weatherill Labor Government had spent $448.7 million on separation packages to reduce the number of public servants yet had actually increased the number of public servants by 3501.

This is yet another example of the financial mismanagement and incompetence of the Weatherill Labor Government. Clearly whilst the Government is spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to get public servants out the front door they are replacing them and employing thousands more through the back door.

The Auditor-General in his recent report to parliament noted that from 1 November 2010 to 30 June 2017 total TVSP (Targeted Voluntary Separation Package) payments to 3985 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) staff were $448.7 million. The Auditor-General also noted actual costs would be higher as this figure didn’t include fees paid to Shared Services SA for administering the scheme, payroll tax, employee assistance and executive termination payments.

Workforce Reports issued by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment show actual public service numbers were:

June 2017: 83006 FTE
June 2010: 79505 FTE
Growth: 3501 FTE

It seems almost incomprehensible that a Government would spend so much taxpayers’ money on trying to reduce the size of the public sector only to fail so spectacularly. Sadly, it appears that Treasurer Koutsantonis and the Government are unconcerned about whether or not this scheme is actually achieving what it was meant to achieve.

If elected in March 2018 a Marshall Liberal Government will initiate an urgent review into the operations of the TVSP scheme to ensure it operates in the best interests of taxpayers as well as the public servants involved.

A key weakness of the current scheme is that Ministers and Departments have subverted the key requirement for the offering of each TVSP which is that there has to be a net reduction of one public service position for each TVSP. Instead, job positions are being renamed and replaced immediately or after a short time period.

Any review of the scheme should also consider the financial sense and value of offering TVSPs to 76 year old public servants as revealed in evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee.

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