22 October 2012
Calls by the Institute of Public Affairs to slash the Australian Public Service are misinformed nonsense, the Minister for the Public Service and Integrity, Gary Gray, said today.
“When the IPA talks of slashing these jobs they are telling us we should gut an institution that is a foundation for our prosperity, our economy and society,” Mr Gray said.
“A capable public service has been critical to all successful nations of the 20th century and there is every reason to believe that will be true of the 21st century.
“Hardworking public servants help deliver important programs like the education reforms, NDIS and paid parental leave from Gladstone to Broome, from Hobart to Darwin. They also helped win Australia a seat on the UN Security Council, ensuring a voice for Australia in this key international forum.”
But the public service did more than deliver services. It helped the government of the day to determine issues of national interest and importance.
Mr Gray said the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s ‘Value for Money’ report concluded that Australia remains at the forefront in integrating service delivery to citizens and business. The organisation found that the APS has been highly effective in ensuring efficiency in service delivery compared to other nations.
However, the government was continually improving the APS’s excellent record of efficiency and capability.
“In a few weeks, the Public Service Commissioner will publish the first of a series of Capability Reviews, which are independent, forward-looking reviews that assess an agency’s ability to meet future challenges.
Mr Gray said the IPA should acknowledge that under the former Coalition government, the size of the APS blew out by more than 35,000 positions from 2001 to 2007. At the same time, the Senior Executive Service grew 50 per cent – from 1625 to 2429.
“Since coming to power, Labor has capped the Senior Executive Service and the growth of the public sector has been held at less than the growth of the population that it serves,” Mr Gray said.
“More than $13 billion in public sector savings have been achieved by the Government since coming to office. We’ve also targeted savings of $550 million over the forward estimates in travel, consultancies, advertising and printing.“We will always find new ways of delivering essential government services, while ensuring value for money to taxpayers – and without targeting jobs.”
 OECD, Value for Money in Government: Australia 2012, OECD, Paris, 2012, pp. 9, 11, 23, 97.
|John Arthur - 0408 991 261||www.smos.gov.au|