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Tasmanian Treasurer deciding where to cut 500 jobs

The Tasmanian Treasurer will this week meet with agency and department heads to discuss where jobs can be cut, following an announcement last week that 500 positions were to go from the state service.

The Tasmanian government stated on Thursday that it had “no other option” than to cut the 500 jobs after the upper house decided to delay legislation that would have seen a freeze in public servants’ pay increases for the next 12 months.

This will bring the total full-time equivalent jobs to be cut over the next four years to 1200. A government spokesperson told The Mandarin:

“We are very disappointed with the outcome, we had a strategy to save 500 jobs. Labor and the unions lobbied against this from day one, and now they have what they wanted. The Treasurer Peter Gutwein is this week meeting with ministers and heads of agencies to discuss savings measures and identify where additional positions will have to come from.”

Gutwein said in a statement last week:

“We said if the pay freeze was rejected, 500 more jobs would need to be cut. The Unions were given ample opportunity to negotiate over recent months, but failed to do so. Their claim to want to negotiate now, at the 11th hour, was disingenuous at best. If they were genuine in their view they would have commenced this process when first asked in middle of June.”

Leader of the Opposition Bryan Green accused the government of advancing its agenda through threats and intimidation:

“They’ve simply taken the view they will sack an additional 500 people without bothering to negotiate, which I think is an absolute disgrace and says something about the arrogance of the government and the fact that they won’t listen to people.”

The Community and Public Sector Union’s Tom Lynch said the government’s wage freeze legislation was unnecessary, as a pause in wage rises could be negotiated. He called the government’s approach “arrogant”:

“The government is saying ‘we’re not prepared to talk to you but we will be sacking 500 more people’, this is extraordinary behaviour by an incredibly arrogant government.

“Every Tasmanian needs to see that this government is saying that they would prefer to break their promise around frontline workers … than actually negotiate a wage outcome.”

Author Bio

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.