Posted November 20, 2018 07:09:33This year, the Government spent almost $5 billion on its workforce, a $2 billion increase on the previous year, as the Government continued to spend heavily on hiring, and spending on training, training, and on hiring more people.
However, while the Government is on the hook for this spending, it is also paying for the salaries of a significant number of staff, including the Government’s Deputy Chief of Staff and the Chief of the Defence Staff.
A new report published by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACSS) finds the Government has been “overwhelmed” by staffing demands and has overspent on staff, particularly in the private sector.
The Government also has a very high number of casual and contract staff, with more than 60,000 staff on the payroll.
ACSS director of workforce and employment, Paul Murphy, said the Government needs to be able to “step back and reflect on how to ensure that it can sustainably operate and grow the workforce.”
He said the lack of workforce growth was a major factor behind the “dire financial situation”.
“If we are not able to find sustainable ways of hiring, retaining and training our workforce, we will be unable to meet the Government of Australia’s long-term investment commitments,” he said.
“This has a significant impact on the financial sustainability of the Government, and our ability to meet its commitment to reduce unemployment and poverty.”
What the Government saysThe Government’s budget for 2018 included $1.9 billion for “fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21”.
This money was earmarked for: The Reserve Bank’s economic stimulus fund; the Australian Government’s “rebalancing” programme to boost the economy; The “Australian Investment Bank” to support Australia’s infrastructure; and A key Government programme to support employment.
The Government said it had already invested $5.9bn in the Reserve Bank.
“Our economic plan is designed to help strengthen the economy by encouraging businesses to invest in infrastructure, creating more jobs, and reducing unemployment,” the Government said in a statement.
“The Government has also spent over $2.6 billion to strengthen the National Investment Bank to increase lending to the Australian economy.”
But Mr Murphy said the Reserve Board had “gone backwards” in recent years and had been unable to support the Reserve Fund.
“They have not been able to do anything about their balance sheets and that’s the big issue,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“That means that the Government can’t just sit back and say ‘well, we’re in a position now to do a little bit of this, a little of that’.”
“If you look at the Reserve Account, they have actually gone backwards for a number of years.”
The Reserve FundThe Reserve Account is the Government debt held by the Reserve Banks, and provides the Government with funding to finance its spending.
It is set to become fully operational in December 2019.
But in 2018, the Reserve had a $3.9-billion deficit.
The shortfall was primarily due to a $7.2-billion reduction in the value of the Reserve’s cash reserves, which has resulted in a $1 billion cash shortfall over the past year.
“We are spending more than we need to in the form of our Reserve Bank balance, and the Reserve has had to make tough decisions to reduce its cash reserves,” Mr Murphy told the ABC.
“I think that is a major source of concern.”
The Government is now taking steps to restore the Reserve to its pre-crisis balance.
However, Mr Murphy warned the Government must find other ways of managing its cash holdings and that the Reserve would be “dreadfully short” in the future.
Labor says it’s the government’s responsibilityThe Opposition has released a statement in support of the $5bn Reserve Bank spending and the Government had “absolutely no” responsibility for its spending over the last year.
Labor Senator David Feeney said the Coalition had to “stop the overspending and the debt-fuelled spending”.
“The Treasurer should be focused on providing the resources the Government desperately needs to fund its economic recovery,” he added.
“Rather than wasting taxpayer money on the debt and the deficit that the Coalition is running, the Treasurer should take the lead in providing the funds the Government really needs to deliver jobs, increase incomes, and strengthen the national economy.”
The Federal Government says the Reserve will have $2bn in surplus in 2019-2020, after spending $4.9b in 2017-18.
Mr Murphy said he expected the Reserve Reserve to have “more money in reserve” than the $4 billion in 2017 and 2018.
“It’s going to be a big surplus, it’s going be bigger than the deficit and it’s a really good thing that the Treasurer is