State Budget 2018-2019

04 September 2018

Treasurer Rob Lucas, MLC, today handed down a State Budget characterised by job and service cuts and privatisation.

The Public Service Association (PSA) strongly opposes the Government’s decision to privatise the Adelaide Remand Centre and close essential Service SA centres and TAFE Campuses as announced today in the State Budget.

The further decision to threaten SA Pathology and SA Medical Imaging with privatisation if they do not meet arbitrary targets shows how little respect there is for the South Australian community and the workforce who deliver these essential services.

The decision to further reduce the capacity of the public service with the announcement of an increased and accelerated job reduction plan shows the Government’s true priorities by choosing not to support our community services through their failure to adequately resource the public sector.

In February this year, Premier Steven Marshall attended the PSA’s Special Pre-Election Forum and said to members "We don't have a privatisation agenda.” He went on further to say "The best chance of the public service getting larger is under the Liberal party... because we are unashamedly for growth of our economy and as you grow your economy you need to increase the size of your public service."

It is obvious that the now Premier was not frank or upfront with PSA members or the public of South Australia. If members were ever unsure of the level of respect the Government would afford the Public Sector, this is a clear indicator.

In delivering the budget the Treasurer stated the budget “unashamedly is directed towards this reform agenda to create jobs, lower costs for struggling families and provide better services for all”.
This budget appears to do the exact opposite – it reduces jobs, will create more struggling families and reduces services for all.

The Government had a choice to adequately budget for community services that all South Australians require, but instead has chosen to re-use the negative rhetoric reserved to attack and cut hard working South Australians at budget time.

The Government has chosen not to invest in world class public services for our community and has clearly demonstrated that the wellbeing and sustainability of the South Australian public sector is not a priority for their government.

The announcement to fund TVSPs means that there will be fewer people doing the same amount of work. Every TVSP granted is a position lost for good and to the detriment of those who remain in the Public Sector trying to continue providing services to the community. The Enterprise Agreement outlines clear procedures to ensure the impact on workloads is assessed and taken into consideration prior to declaring any employee excess to requirements.

The PSA finds no comfort in the Treasurer stating that front-line services will not be impacted. There are currently three front-line staff for every one so-called back office staff – further cuts mean front-line staff will have to spend more time on what the government has decided is “non-essential” support.

A perfect example of why we need the so-called back office public servants is clear in the Government’s own budget announcement to fund 48 civilian public servants to fill non-operational police roles to free up front-line officers. This clearly shows the contradiction of cutting so-called back office roles that are interlinked to provide effective community front-line services.

The PSA is undertaking further analysis of the budget and will provide agency specific updates as required.