Standing up for Canberra

Hiring freeze demonstrates the Abbott Government’s disdain for the public service

Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh, Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, and Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy have criticised the Government’s announcement of a public service-wide hiring freeze as naïve. 

The three ACT Labor representatives say that the Abbott Government is taking a simple-minded, blanket approach to the public service, with no consideration for demand, efficiency or specialisation.

“This Government is again showing disdain for highly skilled public servants and the complex work they do. Let's remember Liberal MP Don Randall's contemptible description of public servants as people who 'feed on others'," Dr Leigh said. 

“Today's announcement adds to already high job insecurity in Canberra. Prime Minister Abbott has shown no concern for this city's economy and its future."

The three say that small, specialist agencies and frontline services will be especially hard hit by today’s announcement.

“After months of silence, we finally get some detail about how this Government plans to implement its mass cuts, but today’s announcement has actually provided more questions than answers,” said Ms Brodtmann.

“How long will these interim arrangements be in place? What are ‘critical roles’? How will it be determined that a suitable employee cannot be found within the APS? Will any frontline staff, or small and specialist agencies - such as cultural institutions - be exempt?

“The Government needs to provide more detail about what this policy actually means, and how the public service is supposed to continue to function with less people, with less specialist skills, doing the same amount of work.”

“Today’s announcement continues to prove that this Government is bad for Canberra,” Senator Lundy said. “12,000 job cuts and a hiring freeze will have a significant impact on the economy of the whole ACT region, especially our unemployment figures.

“We want Prime Minister Abbott to say what he is going to do to support the economy of the ACT region, given all he’s done so far is intentionally wreak havoc on it.”