MYEFO brings more public service cuts

By The Mandarin

December 15, 2015

Every federal portfolio is going to have to tighten their belt a bit more as Christmas cheer got a douse of MYEFO’s cold reality.

But some portfolios were hit harder than others, while some were almost spared entirely. The lucky ones are Agriculture and Water Resources, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Immigration and Border Protection, which will keep most of their programs intact.

Industry, Innovation and Science has a lot more room to work, as some $450 million in funds roll in to support the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The already ravaged Communications and the Arts is getting a proportionally devastating cut to arts programs that are culturally less mainstream, a new efficiency dividend of 3% and the divestment of much of its land assets to pay for subsidies to two new blockbuster films. $47.3 million will go to Sigourney Weaver’s latest, Alien: Covenant, and Thor: Ragnaro, which at least stars an Australian, Chris Hemsworth.

Cancelled deliverables include the Australian Consensus Centre at the University of Western Australia, a mature age employment program, and a program to improve access to radiation oncology. The National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Programme hasn’t been used since 2013, so it too has been taken off the forward books.

One of the more interesting cross portfolio programs has been spared being cancelled entirely, but will be a shadow of what it was. Covering youth unemployment and environment, the Green Army program is getting a capped at 500 projects per year, saving about $360 million.

Mergers from the Smaller Government reforms continue. Australian Institute of Criminology, CrimTrac Agency and the Australian Crime Commission joining up is expected to save about $6 million.

Shared services and consolidation will net a further savings of $41 million over three years.

The biggest savings come from welfare integrity measures at around $2 billion.

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