Members will be aware by now, I hope, of my concerns over the government's planned mass public service job cuts, and how they are going to affect my electorate of Canberra. One area that I am particularly concerned about is Defence. There are around 10,000 defence staff based in Canberra, and they make up a significant part of the Canberra workforce, and contribute significantly to the Canberra economy.
I was particularly concerned, therefore, when the Minister for Defence, the Hon Senator Johnston commented on 7 October that the Department of Defence is 'too heavy' and needs to be 'trimmed.' These comments have left Defence employees—particularly civilians—nervous and fearful of losing their jobs.
Understandably, employees—particularly civilians— of the Department would like to know what these comments will mean for them. How does he plan on 'trimming' the Department? How much does he intend to trim? Are these part of the $5.2 billion worth of Public Service job cuts promised by Prime Minister Abbott prior to the election, or are they additional cuts? How are jobs going to be cut? Only through natural attrition, as promised prior to the election? Or can we expect to see redundancies?
The government has shown its disdain for Canberra by its promise to cut at least $5.2 billion worth of Public Service jobs—the least it could now do is provide Defence employees—particularly civilians— with details of its plans.