||Issue No. 294||10 February 2006|
Interview: Court's in Session
Industrial: Whose Choices?
Politics: Peter's Principles
Environment: TINA or Greener?
History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
Education: No AWA - No Job
Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
Review: Charlie the Serf
The Locker Room
Belated Merry Whatmas?
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
I Think Therefore I Scam
A Taxing Answer
Leslie John Turner
Backlash on Job Cuts
That's the message from NSW voters in key state seats, the public no longer believe the private sector delivers either better quality services or better value for money.
Wholesale public sector job cuts are on the political agenda, with the NSW Opposition vowing they would cut 29,000 public sector jobs - or one in three jobs across the sector excluding police, nurses and teachers - if they were to win power at the March 2007 election.
Meanwhile the Iemma Government is already talking about a round of 4,000 voluntary redundancies and is flirting with the idea of going further and breaking its commitment to no forced redundancies; given reported statements by Finance Minister Michael Costa that the public sector was bloated.
Launching a state wide 'Public Interest - Job Cuts = Service Cuts' campaign, PSA general secretary John Cahill said public services has reached a 'tipping point' and that any further cuts would severely compromise service delivery.
And he has warned that PSA members will refuse to carry out the duties of colleagues whose jobs are cut from the public sector by the current or any future state government.
When asked to choose between public or private sector on a range of services, voters sent the overwhelmingly message they would prefer public sector workers deal with:
- administrative support for police, nurses and teachers
- looking after public parks, gardens, state forests and national parks
- running jails
- caring for the elderly and disabled
- running hospitals and the health system generally
- running power stations
- running the sewage and water systems
- building and operating roads
- running buses and trains
- and operating and maintaining schools, hospitals and other government facilities.
Rather than privatising services, the majority of voters actually want to see more staff in key government departments such as public transport, police administration, child protection rural services and care of the elderly and disabled.
The findings, based on a poll of conducted by Auspoll for the Public Service Association over summer, will form the basis of a state wide PSA campaign to support public services over the coming 12 months.
Cahill says the findings send a potent message to both sides of politics that the days of bashing public servants are over.
"Politicians have had a lot of fun over the years in making a scapegoats of public servants, but more and more the public seems to be making the connection between public sector jobs and the provision of public services," Mr Cahill said.
"And when they look at the alternative - core services being carried out by the private sector - they see through the spin and recognise the only winners are big business.
"This shows that the public does respect and value the work that PSA members perform - and this is a something that we will be stressing over the coming 12 months."
The public opinion research shows that voters would punish either side that pushed the agenda with:
- 45 per cent less likely to vote Liberal if they cut 30,000 jobs from the NSW public service
- and 31 per cent less likely to vote for Labor if they were to cut 4,000 NSW public service.
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