Friday, June 11, 2010

The public service

Piers Ackerman has written today that "fat cats" (equals public servants" are in bed with their "labor paymasters".

He quotes some interesting statistics from the budget papers on wage rate increases in the NSW public sector versus the private sector and other public sectors. Unfortunately, wage growth isn't the right measure - it is wage comparability. If NSW was lagging badly in 1997 but comparable now then they'd need to have been greater increases than the average.

The figures also miss some of the other intricacies. Public sector wage rates used to be lower but were balanced by better terms and conditions in leave, superannuation, employment tenure. These have all changed and so the salary needs to change to match it.

And there is the unfortunate fact that Sydney is a more expensive part of Australia to live in - not because of State Government induced inflation but because of capacity constraints.

Finally, the reason proposals to cut public servant numbers at the last NSW State election was NOT because of the public sector votes - as you note they were labor's already. It is because swinging voters know that cutting staff in labour intensive service delivery means less service.

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