Public service wages blowout

NICK CLARK

17 August 2011

THE State Government overspent on public service wages by $112 million in the last financial year, the latest report on Tasmania’s finances shows.

The figures, contained in the State Government’s Preliminary Outcomes Report 2010-11 released this week, sparked a strong attack by the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the Government’s financial management.

TCCI chief economist Mark Bowles said the Government sector was getting more bloated and the community no better off.

“The Tasmanian Government has a long history of cutting back on operating costs whilst ramping up salaries,” he said. “Since 2004-05, total staff costs have risen by more than $1 billion, or two-thirds, yet during the same period other operating expenses fell by $4 million.”

“We have ended up with public servants conducting lots of meetings and writing reports but fewer funds for programs to be implemented.

“It is an absurd situation. We need a much smaller but well resourced, public sector. ”

The report showed that supplies and consumables came in $57 million below budget.

TCCI chief executive Robert Wallace said the chamber was not confident that Premier Lara Giddings could deliver a strong 2011-12 Budget.

“Now is the time for the Premier to hold ministers and department secretaries to account,” Mr Wallace said.

Liberal leader Will Hodgman said the report showed even after Ms Giddings started talking tough about the Budget, she continued to overspend.

“Now more than ever we need to adopt the Liberals’ quarterly budget report proposal,” he said. “Tasmanians have the right to find out every three months if the budget is on track.”

Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, the ACT and the Federal Government all reported at least quarterly.

“It’s no coincidence that as soon as Labor scrapped quarterly reporting in 2003, it started to spend more than it had budgeted,” Mr Hodgman said.

Mercury HERE

Earlier on Tasmanian Times: The wasteful, greedy aimless public sector gurus’ Henry Jones indulgence