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What public servants say about public service cuts

In the responses to our poll on reducing the size of the public service we had a number of respondents who identified themselves as current or former public servants. I thought their forthrightness should be rewarded by dedicating a separate post to them.

There may be other respondents who were Queensland public servants, but unless they told me that they were, I have no way of knowing, so the have not been included.

So, in their own words, here are what public servants think.

I am a public servant and I know that there has been excessive employment of advisors and spin doctors and bureacratic systems like 'travel management' that should be trimmed with concentration on 'fat' top heavy departments like State Development that routinely and unfairly employ staff at higher levels to do the same job as more modestly paid officers in other Dept's. Male 55-64

I believe it's more a matter of wages than just the numbers. I have worked in and with the public service for many years. It's clear to me that public service wages are inflated for non-technical and bureaucratic roles. It's my observation that many people in these roles are not working to the level that I would expect for the money they receive, and the quality of leadership and management is extremely poor. Many projects are inadequately managed, resulting in outputs that are shelved or abandoned altogether - a disgusting waste of time and public money. Those sections of the public service that operate this way definitely need a clean out. This is not my observation for people in technical and professional roles. Female 45-54

I was one of the public servants to lose me job because of the cuts. I agree that the public service is too large, and there are people who are just doing busy work, I don't agree with the way in which it has been managed. Male 15-24

Bligh created a public service nightmare. I am a permanent public servant. In my previous department I worked with people who were on temp & casual contracts. Most wanted full time employment and these were ones who went interstate to get permanent jobs but there were heaps that preferred to stay on a temp basis because it suited their lifestyle, it enabled them to have secondary employment and their renumeration was higher than full time employees. Female 55-64

I am a Queensland public servant, and know that both staffing and expenses have been continuously reviewed and cut since the Goss government got into power in the late 1980s. Any cuts will damage the services that Queenslanders need, and I believe this is the real reason. Regulation and survelliance will nolonger be effective, and when community services break down, the government systems will be blamed, so that the services can be privatised or contracted out. Female 65-74

Being a public Servant, our work loads are high now, I also do not want to see the Queensland people suffer, because of this. Male 35-44

I worked in a building full of obese public servants and a lot did not seem to do anything at all. I can't comment - I think there are a lot of scams in private business (i KNOW there are a lot of scams), but I suspect there are some public servants who are useless too. Thast said, ambulance drivers, teachers, nurses and other useful ppl are public servants. Female 35-44

I am a public servant and during the period of the previous Govt I saw the staff levels increase at an exhorbitant rate by creating of jobs for the boys and appointment of outsider ALP party hacks to jobs over existing public servants. Until those party hacks are removed, this Govt does not stand a chance. Female 55-64

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+3 #1 HR Consultant/Prin cipalRoger Fry 2012-07-25 10:13
As an ex public servant and now a consultant working mainly in the Public Service, I have seen the impact of the premiers slash and burn approach to downsizing. Cutting contract staff may be a good idea but to refuse to renew ALL contracts, regardless of the impact on services, outputs or outcomes, is just crazy! In one agency all the data management staff were contractors. They are all gone now! Their replacements worked there years ago and their sskills are out of date...not a sound way to manage an agency's data.
Senior managers are recalling staff from secondments and acting positions to fill skills gaps left by departing contractors. Recalling staff who no longer live in your regional centre and whose technical skills may have decayed over years, is necessary under the circumstances, but not really sensible under 'normal' conditions.
+1 #2 RE: What public servants say about public service cutsRob 2012-07-25 14:18
Roger Fry - then good news! ALL contracts were NOT refused regardless of impact. I and my team are all contractors, with most of us up for renewal on June 30. We all were renewed.

I guess in our case, we deliver. They would lose more by not having us working than we cost. That's what a contract is. An agreement to work for a rate between two dates. You can't expect to be working past the end of your contract. Whether or not you do depends on the value you contribute.

I sympathise with those who thought that they had a safe 'government' job, but unless you are a permanent, you have no right to expect anything past the end of your contract, unless it's worth their while to keep paying you. That's how contracts have always worked, and how it should be.
-1 #3 RE: What public servants say about public service cutsRoss 2012-07-30 19:26
Labor Govts love huge bureaucracies to insulate them from their excesses.

I know people who work within the NSW Education Dept and they admit it is a big wasteful joke.

If you want real prosperity then we need a real constitution that limits the size of Govt and makes our RBA a creator of money for our banks.

Our banks just borrow OS from private central banks that create it with the click of a computer mouse.Why cannot our RBA have equal footing with the private central banks? This new money represents our increases in productivity.Pr esently our productivity gets expressed as debt.

This is why the West is consumed by debt that it cannot escape.
+1 #4 ex-Principal Personnel OfficerJeff Popova-Clark 2012-07-31 15:57
I was a Qld public servant for more than a decade. The public service does a lot of useless busy work and has many management support services (e.g. HR, risk, OH&S, policy officer, analyst etc) that would not be needed if promotion was based on merit rather than nepotism/cronyi sm/longevity. Meanwhile the actual service deliverers (police, nurses, ambos, teachers, fireys etc) are underpaid and underfunded. Improving efficiency takes more than wild swings of the budget axe. Newman is cutting randomly and will slice some meat and bone as well as some fat. He should increase duties and royalties on the big end of town, vastly increase the number of and pay level of service deliverers whilst ruthlessly cutting the useless management support services. However if what he is trying to do is increase unemployment in a key federal election state, he is doing what he needs to do.