The Liberal Government has a long-term Plan for Tasmania to grow the economy, deliver essential services and create jobs.
Our Budget contains record spending in health and education and that will not change – those two departments will receive their record funding.
Our Budget contained a pay freeze which saved around $177 million in public sector wages. After 127 days without a serious and sensible pay freeze proposal from the unions, they squandered their last chance to save their members’ jobs and a pay freeze is now off the table.
Public servants will now get a pay rise instead of a wage freeze and as a result the Budget does not contain sufficient funding to keep the public sector at its current size.
In particular, the reduction in staff at the Department of Education is on the head of the Australian Education Union as;
• They have refused to acknowledge the record funding for education of $1.4 billion;
• They have failed to acknowledge a pay freeze would save their members’ jobs; and
• They now want to shut schools on November 27th to the detriment of our children.
It’s important to note that we will protect the frontline as much as we can, with significant savings to be made in the State Growth restructure which will offset the reduction in staffing numbers in health and education.
Unions are now planning to take strike action later this month, despite our repeated attempts to save jobs and despite CPSU secretary Tom Lynch conceding today it is the Government that decides the size of the public service – not the unions.
When asked if he accepted it was the right of Government to determine the size of the public service, Mr Lynch answered “Absolutely it is.” 1
The unions may think they’re the Opposition, but they’re certainly not the Government.
The time for a pay freeze has passed. The Government is now getting on with the job of fixing the Budget mess and additional job reductions are on the unions’ heads.
1 ABC Mornings, November 13 2014.
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer