Public sector cuts will hurt in times of crisis

Premier Barry O’Farrell communicated his intentions before the state election: we could expect to see fewer ‘‘back room bureaucrats’’ but rest assured that this wouldn’t mean fewer public servants to deliver ‘‘frontline’’ services like health, education and policing.

In developing this platform, the Premier took advice from John Howard’s adviser Max ‘‘the axe’’ Moore-Wilton, who described the NSW public service as “a mess” and urged “real surgery”.

The NSW Coalition is following a well-worn Liberal path. In 2007, then opposition leader Peter Debnam promised to cut 30,000 public service jobs. While Debnam’s public service policy was considered one reason for his electoral failure, John Howard promised to wield an axe through the Australian Public Service and, in fact, retrenched about 10,000 public servants each year during his first three years in office. After five years, one third of the service had been retrenched.

Read the full article in the Newcastle Herald online >

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