Today’s release of the General Government Sector Employment report for the 2014-15 financial year shows that the Government remains on track to deliver the four year savings we set out in the 14-15 Budget, with the heavy lifting being completed in our first year.

We are ensuring that we have a public sector that Tasmania can afford, to provide the services Tasmanians need.

As the Preliminary Outcomes Report showed, we are exercising fiscal discipline to get the budget back on track, with the best bottom line performance since 2010-11.

Our first Budget set a target of reducing the public sector by 861 FTEs in 2014-15 with a total reduction of 1,200 FTEs over our first term.

Today’s update shows the heavy lifting has been done and we are on track to meet our target, with General Government FTE levels now 916 fewer at June 30 than they were at the start of the financial year as a result of greater than anticipated interest in voluntary separation programs.

The reduction of 916 FTEs has been applied across the public service as follows:

• Health and Human Services – 337
• Education – 251
• State Growth – 121
• Other Agencies – 207

Importantly, since we released our last update in March, there’s been no frontline reductions in areas such as hospital clinical services. The report shows that the Government has delivered on its commitment to preserve frontline roles to the maximum extent possible, for example in the Department of Police and Emergency management the number of sworn officers has increased by 22 over the year and there are 42 more prison service employees in the Department of Justice.

The Department of Health and Human Services was able to bring forward a number of its FTE reductions associated with corporate consolidation from 2015-16 into 2014-15 through higher than anticipated interest in the program of Workplace Renewal Incentives and Voluntary Redundancies.

Over the past year there’s been no reduction in nurse numbers and, as we indicated in March, the end of year estimate of teacher numbers has changed as schools recruited to the capacity of their School Resource Packages meaning the number of teaching FTE reductions has decreased from 185 to 158, which is a reduction of less than one teacher per school on average.

Importantly, the reduction in overall FTE numbers has been achieved without any forced redundancies and are the result of voluntary redundancies, the cessation of fixed term contracts and natural attrition accompanied by active vacancy control.

A total of 663 people applied for and received a Workforce Renewal Incentive Program payment at a cost of around $14 million across the year, 324 people applied for and received a voluntary redundancy at a cost of around $18.5 million. There has been no material change in the average cost of WRIPs and voluntary redundancies since the last update in March 2015.

The Government is delivering the savings needed to put the budget on track for surplus. We will continue to provide the public services that Tasmanians need and deserve and provided by a public service that Tasmania can afford.
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer