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State Budget 2016: Public Service Jobs at Risk Again

31 May 2016

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

[10.11 a.m.]

After Deloitte last week proposed more public sector job cuts to meet your own Budget targets, the Treasurer effectively ruled it out while stressing there is a 2 per cent state wages policy to contain wages growth.  Yesterday, however, you said that 2 per cent is the upper limit for pay negotiations with public sector unions.  You are clearly getting ready for another round of public sector bashing.  Having already put 1 200 public sector workers on the scrap heap, gutting essential services, can you confirm that your Government's strategy to get rid of more public sector workers is to threaten them with less than 2 per cent or the loss of their jobs, as you did with the failed pay freeze?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Denison for her question and the opportunity to point out that the wages policy I referred to in the previous two answers was not just the wages policy of the Labor government.  It was also the wages policy of a Labor-Greens government, although back in 2009-10 it was a wages policy of no greater than 1 per cent.  That is what happened under a former government.  Our policy is for public sector wages to be no greater than 2 per cent - exactly what I said yesterday. 

The other important point to reinforce is that the heavy lifting has been done.  It is demonstrated in a balanced Budget that delivers cumulative surpluses that take the state back into surplus this year, three years ahead of schedule, a foreign concept to members opposite and indeed the Tasmanian public, who have not enjoyed a government budget surplus for seven years.  It is not dependent on the TT-Line dividend or on FTE cuts.  We have no need for structural savings measures, which is exactly what the Budget papers say, and exactly what the Treasurer and I have been saying for a number of days.  Irrespective of whatever other financial commentators may say, our Budget does not depend on them.