“These front line cuts will have a devastating impact on the community” … Opposition Leader John Robertson. Photo: Dean Osland
TREASURY forecasts reveal the Department of Family and Community Services is expected to shed more than 900 workers over the next four years and the health department could lose more than 3600 over the same period.
Treasury’s internal budget figures show $24 million in labour costs will be cut from the family and community budget this financial year – equivalent to an estimated 242 workers or nearly seven per cent.
NSW Health will lose $88.8 million this year, equivalent to around 906 jobs or more than six per cent of its non-nursing staff.Advertisement: Story continues below
The cuts follows revelations in the Herald this week that the government has no cap on the size of its public sector redundancy program, opening the way for numbers to exceed the 10,000 figure announced in this year’s budget.
The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, said child protection case workers would be those at risk of losing jobs.
”These workers look after children at risk of serious harm, provide support to disadvantaged families and assist teenagers and young people who are homeless and living on the streets,” he said. ”These frontline cuts will have a devastating impact on the community.”
Mr Robertson said paramedics, speech pathologists, radiographers and other specialists were also at risk, along with cleaning staff, caterers and porters in hospitals.
The Family and Community Services Minister, Prue Goward, said the Treasurer, Mike Baird, had said all departments would need to share the load in finding labour cost savings.
“The labour expense cap is outlined in the budget as a target of 1.2 per cent per annum reduction in labour costs growth, which will be applied across the public sector,” she said. ”My director-general has been given flexibility as has every other directors-general to achieve the savings in the most appropriate way to meet service requirements.
“I have instructed my director-general that in meeting this whole of government savings measure that the quality and volume of services should not be diminished. Indeed, we need to improve services to improve lives.”
The director-general of NSW Health, Mary Foley, said the health system was constantly looking to improve its care for an increasing number of patients each year. She said the government had not made redundancies compulsory.