The Gillard Government today announced a one-off increase to the efficiency dividend of an additional 2.5 per cent to apply next financial year. This is one-off measure to contribute savings across Government in the 2011-12 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
Smaller agencies have been exempted from the one-off efficiency dividend, including our national cultural institutions, and the Government’s strong expectation is that agencies will continue to meet the efficiency dividend without resorting to forced redundancies.
Federal Labor representatives for the ACT, Senator the Hon Kate Lundy, Gai Brodtmann and Dr Andrew Leigh, welcomed the announcement to exempt smaller agencies and protect jobs, but expressed their concern the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Capital Authority had not been included among the list of agencies exempt from the temporary efficiency dividend.
We will be making strong representations to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation Penny Wong, the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Simon Crean, and Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Tony Burke, to ensure these important national cultural institutions are protected.
A working group involving the Community and Public Sector Union, Australian Public Service Commission, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance and Deregulation will advise on the implementation of this measure and wider public sector reforms including Senior Executive Service reforms. The group will be led by the Special Minister of State Gary Gray and report to Minister Penny Wong.
At a time of considerable economic turbulence, the Gillard Government is determined to deliver savings and expects agencies to find savings in a range of areas including:
- Reductions in the use of consultants and contractors;
- Replacing domestic and international travel with the use of the Government’s virtual meeting (telepresence) facilities;
- Reductions in agency spend on hospitality and entertainment;
- Minimising media and advertising expenditure;
- Reductions in printing and publication expenditure; and
- More efficient and consistent delivery of training.
The efficiency dividend is a one-off measure and will return to 1.25 per cent in 2013-14 and 2014-15.