The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the largest union covering government workers, has slammed the Australian Federal Governments decision to dramatically increase 'efficiency dividend' cuts on the Australian Public Service.

The Government increased the efficiency dividend from 1.5% to 4% for 2012/13 today, as part of the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) statement. The Government has also announced a 20 per cent cut to capital budgets for Commonwealth agencies The CPSU claim this $710 million cut will mean further job losses and deterioration of public assets.  CPSU estimate that there will be up to 3000 job losses across the public service which will lead to reduced services in such frontline agencies as Customs, Medicare and Centrelink.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood says the efficiency dividend increase will mean redundancies for staff and longer queues for people using essential public services.  “Frontline agencies spend over two-thirds of their budget on employees. Our best analysis shows up to 3000 jobs could be lost across the public service. It’s a shocking decision,” Ms Flood said.

The CPSU also points to recent polling by Essential Media which shows that 71% of Australians would prefer the Government to delay returning the budget to surplus by 2012/13 and, instead, maintain public services and invest in infrastructure.

“The Australia community supports services more than our politicians do. What’s needed is a mature and rigorous debate involving the whole community about what public services are needed and how they should be paid for,” said Ms Flood. for full copy of the press release.