Page 1120 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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levels; lift public sector wages by 4% p/a over the next four years to pull wages up across the private sectors; and limit outsourcing to labour hire firms and the big four accountancy firms to 7.5% of the agency’s budget;

(2) calls on the Speaker on behalf of the Legislative Assembly to write to the Leaders of the Australian Labor Party, The Australian Greens, the Federal Liberal Party and the National Party noting the Assembly’s support for the creation of a strong Australian Public Service and secure public sector jobs;

(3) calls on the Federal Coalition to drop their policy of massive job cuts in Canberra; and

(4) commends both the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens on their policies of developing and strengthening the Australian Public Service and supporting policy frameworks that will provide a pathway to secure employment.”

The motion moved by Mr Hanson on behalf of Ms Lee this afternoon is astounding for both its misconstruing of Labor Party policy and its clear opposition to providing secure jobs and a well-resourced Australian public service. The plan that has been presented by the Australian Labor Party to bring the skills and workers that provide critical government services to the community back into direct government employment is a good, commendable plan.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, the coalition government had cut more than 12,000 jobs from the APS. This has led to severe damage to the capacity and capability of the public service to provide the critical functions for which it exists. While also cutting front-line jobs and agency funding, the coalition has also implemented a rapid increase in wasteful expenditure on private external labour.

This includes not only contracts with the big four consultancy firms to provide services but also an extreme level of reliance on labour hire firms to provide general labour for the public service. This essentially means paying a company to recruit an employee who does ongoing APS work full time, but the labour hire company gets a fee for every hour they work and they often get paid less than a directly employed APS employee would. This not only costs more, but these workers are technically employed on a casual basis and have no job security; they do not get sick leave and they do not get annual leave and they are generally treated as not as equal. The National Disability Insurance Agency is one of the agencies most impacted by this kind of employment system and this is one of the factors that leads to the extreme staff turnover in the agency, as staff will leave if they can find a permanent position in another area.

The Labor plan put forward in this election is to stop this kind of unfair and wasteful method of employing public servants. The plan will see many of these labour hire employees able to transition into secure employment within the APS. This does not mean cuts to jobs in Canberra; this means more secure, fair and direct employment for the public servants who do excellent work within the territory. The claim by Ms Lee in her motion that this will all lead to job cuts and skills loss for Canberra is not only ridiculous but also disingenuous. The opposition knows very well what the proposal by Labor actually is and the opposition is merely behaving as a mouthpiece for the desperate panicking of a Liberal senator who thinks he is going to lose his job.

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