APS cuts: tough times for Canberra, no economic armageddon

The ACT economy faces a tough two years ahead due to public service job losses, but not the disaster widely talked up by Canberra’s local politicians and journalists.

In its latest Business Outlook report, Deloitte Access Economics notes that federal public service cuts are yet to take their toll on the nation’s capital, foreshadowing a “bitter pill to swallow” in the form of 6000-7000 local APS jobs to go over the next two years — but hardly the economic ruin that Canberrans have been told to expect.

“The good news is that the medium to longer term outlook for Canberra really hasn’t changed that much,” the report says, adding that the increasingly combative Senate appears likely to knock back further cuts to federal programs that would have hurt the ACT economy.

It also points out that a major contraction of the federal public service has been on the cards for a while:

“For all the screaming headlines about the federal budget, it didn’t really add that much to the woes faced by Canberra’s economy. Labor’s decisions while still in power had produced a pipeline effect that will reduce the size of the federal public service by 14,500 people, and the Coalition’s budget has merely topped that up by an extra 2000 people.”

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