Unions NSW has rejected the state Government’s attempt to sugarcoat its 2013-14 budget, warning that it continues to create a deep social deficit that will need to be addressed by future generations. The budget papers confirm that the Government is shedding jobs faster than expected, with more than 5000 positions cut from the public sector in the 12 months to June alone.
Today’s announcement of a further $750 million efficiency dividend will take the total budget cuts to $19 billion over six years – almost exclusively at the expense of public sector wages and jobs.
Trade union members have seen the practical impact of these cuts in recent weeks, including:
The disbanding of specialist adolescent units for at risk youths at Kings Cross and Cabramatta;
The closure of Orange Hospital’s palliative care ward, leading to the removal of 10 beds and nine nurses in the ward as well as the removal of five surgical beds and five nursing positions at Bathurst Hospital;
The reduction of in-house security officers at the State Library from 18 to four.
“The Government cannot continue to claim there is no impact on frontline services from its deep cuts. Ask anyone who works in the state’s health and justice systems or community services,” Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon said.
“This is a budget that puts crude short-term cost-cutting ahead of our state’s longterm social and economic needs.
“Make no mistake, cutting jobs and services will only create a deep social deficit.
“More job losses and cuts from the state’s public sector will mean ambulances take longer to arrive, fire stations will be closed and patient care in our hospitals will suffer.
“The state Government’s plan to slash $19 billion from the budget over six years is highly irresponsible. The Government appears to think the public sector is an endless reservoir of savings, but the well has run dry. Public services should be restored, not cut.
“The budget papers also confirm that public sector workers will suffer a decrease in real wages in 2014-15 and 2015-16, when the Government absorbs further superannuation increases into their wages.”
The state Government will also sell off Newcastle Port, ridding itself of a crucial long-term revenue stream.
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