Essential Report

Do we undervalue our public sector innovations?

Sep 11, 2012

Nadine Flood questions whether governments take our science and other publicly funded breakthroughs for granted.

The CSIRO is one of Australia’s most respected institutions. The Bureau of Meteorology is crucial in times of impending climate crisis. They are also part of the public service. And though their specialty is science, other areas of the public sector are also responsible for innovation — from agricultural land use to new ways of fighting tax evasion.

See a brief history of CSIRO achievements from wi-fi to dollar notes.

It’s a concept that is often lost at Budget time when governments keen to trim down costs often take a knife to the public sector. It’s easy pickings if the millions of dollars saved or made by innovations in technology, energy and health fail to be counted as assets.

The CPSU’s Nadine Flood tells 3Q how the CSIRO’s development of wi-fi technology transformed the world and brought $500 million into Australia through patent fees. Yet if the Opposition has its way, crucial funding of the sciences and other public sector innovation would be lost.
Further cuts on the grounds of “efficiency” will have long term effects on our ability to innovate.

The Smoke Clears

Aug 29, 2012

Once the smoke of misdirection clears, you can pretty much see the truth. John Howard may have gone off message—or least, Tony Abbott panicked enough about Howard’s call to go back to the pre-Fair Work days that he, Abbott, hurried to say, “oh, no, that was back then, we’re not for that”, even though he refuses to say what exactly he is planning when it comes to workers should he become prime minister. But, we know exactly what is on the mind of Abbott because his ideological sidekicks in state governments offer a pretty good roadmap.

Per the Sydney Morning Herald, we know that Barry O’Farrell is pretty much determined to bludgeon the wages and benefits of tens of thousands of people:

AT LEAST 80,000 NSW public sector workers are set to lose salary benefits and conditions under sweeping cuts to their awards.

The O’Farrell government yesterday confirmed it had applied to the NSW Industrial Commission this week to change 98 awards for public sector workers, including 1000 nurses who assist people with disabilities and those in aged-care facilities.

Clerical staff, librarians, parks and gardens staff, school administration assistants, regulatory inspectors and legal officers are also among those set to lose their entitlement to long-held conditions, including an annual leave loading of 17.5 per cent.

The government also plans to cut penalties for all shift workers and allowances for staff stationed in remote areas.

Some sick leave entitlements, flexible work arrangements and parental leave would also be affected by the changes.

Add to that the drip, drip, drip of job cuts O’Farrell is imposing and the picture is crystal clear. NSW Public Service Association’s General Secretary John Cahill terms O’Farrell’s  plans “a disgraceful further attack on the public sector workers”. What Abbott is trying to avoid are the details of what he will do because it is no coincidence that O’Farrell’s popularity has slid—people don’t like losing their jobs, and, actually, they don’t like hearing that their family members and neighbors are going to be axed, either.


Concern about Cutting Public Sector

Aug 28, 2012

Q. How concerned are you that at least 12,000 jobs might be cut from the Commonwealth public sector?









Very concerned





Somewhat concerned





A little concerned





Not really concerned





Don’t know





46% were very or somewhat concerned that 12,000 jobs might be cut from the Commonwealth public sector.

Those most concerned were women (51% very/somewhat), aged 18-24 (61%), Labor voters (70%) and Greens voters (69%).

How will public sector cuts affect you?

May 15, 2012

Nadine Flood believes the public will experience more delays and long queues because of cuts to government services.

There’s a common misconception that most public servants are Canberra based, well paid and underworked. But two thirds of the public sector actually work outside of the national capital and are on average or below average wages.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood tells 3Q that the public will notice the difference when over 4000 cuts are made to the public sector this year.

Read the CPSU’s round up of the implications the Federal Budget will have on the public sector.

And she says Tony Abbott’s plans to slash the public service would be disastrous.


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