"Fat cats": NSW public sector cuts revealed

By Harley Dennett

March 24, 2015

NSW Parliamentary Budget Officer Stephen Bartos has costed, and now revealed, the efficiency dividends and cutbacks the Baird government and Labor’s Luke Foley are seeking to impose on the “fat cats” in the state’s public sector.

Under a Coalition government, the public sector would see a 1.5% cut across the board. However, Treasurer Andrew Constance said in a statement yesterday that frontline services would be exempt, sparing more cuts to police, nurses, teachers, and emergency and community workers. Instead savings in those agencies are expected to come from corporate services and other public service roles.

Under a Labor government, the public sector would see cuts to spending on consultants, travel, legal advice and advertising. It would also see the senior executive service reduced, accompanied by cuts to ministerial staff.

Foley told reporters yesterday that instead of targeting services, “we’ll take an axe to fat cats.”

Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley said in a statement that their policies were fully costed and fully funded, without the uncertainty of sale income of the electricity network:

“Labor’s new spending commitments are offset by responsible savings measures which support a leaner government without cutting funding to areas that are most important to NSW families.”

The areas where Labor will cut the public sector include over the four-year period a $900 million reduction in government spending on consultants and contractors, cutting travel, legal advice, and advertising by $152.4 million, and a reduction in the number of SES to save $220.3 million. It also plans cuts to ministers’ offices in the order of $44.4 million.

Bartos calculated that the Coalition’s 1.5% efficiency dividend would save $593,752 over the four-year period. Further savings will come from the trial of government car sharing ($6.3 million), elimination of unnecessary duplication across government ($80 million), and implementation of 10 whole of government procurement savings initiatives ($286.8 million). Changes to cash management practices in Treasury are expected to save $286.8 million, while Department of Premier and Cabinet will reduce its contingency fund by $29.7 million.



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