BUDGET 2020: Recovery message undermined by public sector job cuts
Thursday, 8 October 2020
STATEMENT: Quotes attributable to Rikki Hendon, BRANCH SECRETARY OF CPSU/CSA
This budget has been delivered off the back of really extraordinary times in Western Australia.
The McGowan Government should be commended for the approach that they have taken over recent months to the COVID-19 crisis and for ushering Western Australia through this time safely and securely.
There are some good things in this budget that support public services, including investment in affordable access to TAFE and improved physical infrastructure from which public services are delivered.
When we look at today’s budget it is very much focused on a jobs-led recovery. So as the public sector union for WA, the CPSU/CSA is incredibly disappointed that we haven’t seen an investment in public sector jobs as part of that jobs-led recovery.
Public sector workers drove Western Australia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. They assisted us in the health sector, they continued to deliver services when many other industries understandably had to shut down. They provided us with support at a time when we needed it most and they’ll continue to be pivotal as we move forward. It is incredibly disappointing that they’re not seeing further investment.
Public sector jobs are real jobs that contribute to our economy and that includes jobs in place like the Department of Communities.
Over recent weeks we’ve learned that the Department of Communities is conducting a functional review.
We have been advised by the department that severances are likely.
That obviously has a huge impact not only on services but on people who work in those services, on their livelihoods and families and the communities they live and work in.
Fundamentally, as a government, you can’t lead a “jobs-led recovery” while cutting jobs.
Public sector workers are also people in our community who will not have money to spend in local businesses. They are people like Rod, one of our delegates in the Department in Communities, who works in a position which is in the scope of the Functional Review.
Rod does crucial work and he and his colleagues should not have to worry that they might find themselves out of work in the middle of an economic crisis.”
Quotes attributable to Rod Schoneveld, CPSU/CSA DELEGATE AND DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES WORKER:
“I make these comments in a personal capacity – my statements are not to be perceived as official comments on behalf of any government department.
"I have some 40 years’ experience in Facilities and Assets Management and work for the Dept of Communities. My team and I support the front-line staff at the Department to provide services to the most vulnerable members of our WA community. My team works hard so front-line staff are safe and secure at work, are located in readily accessible offices, have safe and well-maintained vehicles and the necessary built-form infrastructure to bring services to those most in need.
"I am worried about job losses and what it would mean for my friends, my family and myself.
"Should I be made redundant at sixty years of age, I’m sure it will be difficult for me to compete with people half my age when there is some thirteen unemployed people for every job vacancy, the vast majority of them much younger than me.
"Needless to say, if I lost my job, I would have to reign in my spending even further, including eating out less often, delaying my holidays and delaying the replacement of my aging car. This obviously has a knock-on effect to my local businesses. I also worry for my son and his fiancé who have delayed their wedding, honeymoon and even the purchase of a home due to uncertainty in the economy. These decisions have obvious repercussions for our local WA economy.”
- The Department of Communities is undertaking a Functional Review of Non-Frontline positions.
- It has been reported that the Department is attempting to rectify alleged overspending.
- Failure by disgraced former assistant director general Paul Whyte to properly implement Machinery of Government changes from 2017 are being blamed for the overspend.
- The CPSU/CSA is concerned that jobs are at risk in the Review.
- The CPSU/CSA has concerns about the Department’s transparency and consultation processes during the Review.
- Also in the Department, 13 workers were recently notified that they would be required to move to Development WA and that they would be required to resign their employment at the Department or become surplus to requirements.
- In September, the CPSU/CSA members in Child Protection and Family Services held a candlelight vigil calling for more caseworkers in the Department to ease workload pressures and ensure children are not left on the monitored list without an allocated caseworker.