End of the staffing cuts, public sector freeze lifted

The Abbott government has pulled back from more staffing cuts to the Australian Public Service, holding staffing levels at last year’s headcount and lifting the tight recruitment rules it implemented on coming to office.

From July 1 new control rules will allow agency heads to manage their own recruitment, including graduate recruitment, without need for external approval.

The government effectively froze all new recruitment after assuming office in November 2013, and requiring agencies let go all non-ongoing staff as their contracts expired.

Agencies have struggled to fill specialist roles as they compete with each other to hire from the APS’ shrinking pool.

However, the government has signaled it will take a tough line on public sector pay rises, declaring future wage rises will be offset by productivity gains to ensure they are affordable, sustainable and in line with community expectations.

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