CPSU welcomes Labor win, new era for engaging ‘respectfully’

By Melissa Coade

May 25, 2022

Jim Chalmers
Treasurer Jim Chalmers is to conduct a review of the RBA.(AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Labor party’s sweep to power in federal politics is good news for the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which says the change will mean ‘significant improvements’ for its members. 

Anthony Albanese’s new government will offer the reset the APS needs, according to the union. 

Scrapping the Coalition’s ASL staffing cap is one of the union’s first agenda items, in a move that will enable government agencies to avoid labour-hire arrangements and employ people directly. The CPSU said this change would lead to more effective use of taxpayer money and better pay for employees. 

During the election campaign, Labor treasurer Jim Chalmers said investing in APS capability was a core focus for an Albanese government.

“We do agree that there are first-class public servants in the Department [of Treasury] and right around the public service,” Chalmers said.

“But as governments or alternative governments, we need to make sure we’re investing the right amount in their capability and their capacity.”

The Labor government has also committed to audit and reduce wasteful spending on consultant contracts and reinvest almost $500 million in the first phase of APS capability restoration. The union said this would create 1,080 new secure frontline service delivery jobs at Services Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the National Disability Insurance Agency.

In a statement published after the election was called, the CPSU said the change was an opportunity to engage ‘constructively’ and ‘respectfully’ with the federal government about lifting wage caps and bargaining for a real wage rise to drive national economic growth.

“These commitments didn’t happen by accident. Thousands of members worked hard to build community and political support for our positive agenda. Together, we made this happen,” the statement read. 

“The Australian Labor Party has made solid commitments on genuine bargaining and real wage rises, tackling insecure work, better workplace relations in the federal public sector, as well as climate change and the cost-of-living crisis,” the statement read.

An APS target for net-zero emissions by 2030 was also on the cards under the new government, the union said. 

So too will be the goal to enshrine secure work for all employees as an objective of the Fair Work Act, with a new ‘same job, same pay’ law. 

The union’s message to members said the organisation would work with the APS to ensure the new government delivered its commitments, and in such a way that also benefited them. In particular, it would negotiate to address insecure work and better workplace relations in the federal public sector.

“It’s a big and exciting agenda for our union, but it’s one we are ready for,” the statement said. 


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