During the last state election the opposition LNP promised a freeze on public service hiring in order to save money. Premier Bligh promised that the government would be creating jobs, not cutting them.
Now the public service is so bloated that even she sees the need tor cutting the fat, rather than making the surplus redundant, she has formed an elaborate scheme to offer voluntary redundancies. In order to appear to keep her promise she is spending millions to get rid of 3,500 public servants over three years. It has been pointed out that natural attrition would do this in half the time for free.
The true nonsense is in the figures. The offer is 30 weeks pay, plus three weeks for every year served, up to sixty weeks. The really nonsensencical aspect is that with straight redundancies, there are considerable tax breaks that do not apply if it is voluntary. When I was made redundant when the company I worked for went into receivership, the payout was taxed at such a low rate that I talked to my accountant to see if it was correct.
We as Queenslanders are paying extra to make Bligh look better in her own eyes. Worse, much of it goes to the federal government in taxes which will be shared among the other states unnecessarily:
THE Bligh Government will take three years and spend millions of dollars on cuts to the bureaucracy that could be achieved in a little over 18 months for free.
According to the Public Service Commission, there are 200,000 people employed by the Government and 80 per cent of them deliver frontline services.
That leaves about 40,000 who are eligible for the voluntary redundancy program now being offered by the Government.
With the separation rate in the public service hovering at around 5.5 per cent annually, a hiring freeze on non-frontline staff could reduce the bureaucracy's size by the 3500 now being targeted in about 18 months.
If it took twice as long it would still be achieved in the Government's timeframe - but for free.
Instead, the rolled gold solution being offered to the public service will be seen as nothing more than pay-off for supporting the Government at the last election.
This came after the Liberal Nationals proposed an efficiency dividend, funded partly by natural attrition, that the Government said could not be done.
Everything from spending on crayons to catheters was going to be cut from schools and hospitals.