Standing up for Canberra

Abbott Budget cuts Canberra Public Service Jobs

Last night's budget underscored the Abbott government's complete disdain for Canberra and its complete disdain for the Public Service. In his budget speech the Treasurer paraded the fact that at least 16,500 public service jobs would be cut—and he wore it almost as a badge of honour. It is almost as if he had no idea that those 16½ thousand job cuts were actually people—people with families, many of them in my electorate of Canberra. However, I fear that the total number of Public Service job cuts from this budget may be much higher than 16½ thousand. In addition to these cuts, the government is increasing the efficiency dividend by 0.25 per cent. It is cutting 230 programs, It is abolishing 70 government bodies. And all of those decisions will see more job cuts.

I ask those opposite to imagine for a minute that they are a 27-year-old public servant who has been made redundant as a result of these job losses. They cannot access Newstart for six months after they have lost their job. So what do they do? How do they live? Perhaps, if they are lucky enough, they can move back in with their parents. But their parents are already struggling with the higher cost of living—thanks to the fuel tax and the GP tax—and they are worrying about their retirement as their property investments in Canberra lose value. This 27-year-old will try to get another job but the indefinite hiring freeze in the Public Service means it is not an option. This is not a pretty picture for Canberra.

Download a copy of this speech.