No major public service cuts in Victorian budget, Pallas says

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday November 23, 2020

Tim Pallas (AAP Image/Erik Anderson)

The Victorian Public Service will be spared in Tuesday’s state budget after a review found major cuts would not deliver any value.

The state government is set to deliver a $23.3 billion budget deficit next financial year, and will reach more than $155 billion of net debt within three years.

But Treasurer Tim Pallas says that despite the blowout, making cuts to the public sector at a time when Victorians rely on crucial services is not desirable.

“We won’t be rolling out wholesale changes at the moment because our view very strongly is that the one thing that the community needs is a government attentive to their needs [for] the provision of services that there is increasing demand for in this environment,” Pallas told ABC News.

“Therefore, there is no great value from a base review perspective of having wholesale reductions at this time.”

Under the Andrews government, the public sector wage bill has increased by 43%, reaching more than $27.2 billion in 2019-20. The workforce has also grown from 217,000 in 2014 to almost 300,000 in 2020.

Read more: Victoria to build 12,000 homes under $5.3b public housing blitz

So far, the state has spent $13 billion on its COVID-19 response, including $7.6 billion in support measures for businesses.

Pallas has already revealed that the budget will allocate roughly $19.6 billion to be spent on infrastructure every year for the next four years.

Other measures include $5.3 billion for a public housing blitz, $1.6 billion for a disability inclusion package, and $870 million for mental health.

According to the ABC, the budget papers will also outline $80 million in incentives to bring global companies to the state.

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