26 September 2023

Labor promise to cap APS staff caps

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The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has promised to abolish staffing caps in the Australian Public Service (APS) and cut back on the use of external contractors and consultants.

It has also promised to allocate $500 million to create 1,080 new staffing positions at Services Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the National Disability Insurance Agency if it is successful at the Federal Election.

In a statement, the ALP said the Independent Thodey Review of the APS, released in 2019, and the Australian National Audit Office had both found that spending on consultants alone had more than doubled since 2013.

It also found that the use of contractors and labour hire had grown at a similarly alarming pace.

“The Thodey Review identified the Liberals’ staffing cap and growing reliance on private external labour as a key driver in the loss of capability and capacity across the APS,” the ALP said.

“It also raised serious concerns about the value for money achieved through these arrangements.”

It said that while the Thodey Review had recommended the abolition of the staffing cap to enable Agencies to better manage their own resources and achieve cost efficiencies, the caps were still in place.

It said a Labor Government would “work constructively with the Public Service and unions to re-build an effective public sector and achieve greater value for taxpayer money”.

It said it would abolish the staffing cap and end excessive reliance on contractors, consultants and labour hire companies for work that could be done more effectively by members of the Public Service.

“Labor will also conduct an audit of employment within the APS and, as a model employer, take steps to create more secure employment where temporary forms of work are being used inappropriately,” the party said.

“This will include converting labour hire, casual or contract roles into ongoing APS jobs.”

Further details of the election promise can be accessed on the ALP website at this PS News link.

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