HRM dissects last week’s budget, and what effect the cuts will have on various industries, workers and sadly, animals.
The reverberations from last week’s budget are still being felt in some quarters. And the impact on one of Australia’s most vulnerable groups – endangered animals – is causing particular disquiet. The federal Department of Environment is losing up to a third of its staff, according to the ABC in a move that one ecologist from the Australian National University, Professor David Lindenmayer has called “an absolute calamity for the Australian environment and for the conservation of Australia’s ecosystems and threatened species”.
The Department of the Environment and Energy were told that “approximately 60” full-time equivalent staff will be lost from the biodiversity and conservation division in the next financial year. As the division currently employs a little over 200, that is clearly a significant loss.
The cuts come in the wake of the department’s first national review of threatened species monitoring, which shows around one third of 548 endangered species were not being tracked at all. The lack of monitoring is only likely to grow worse following the job cuts.
“The biodiversity and conservation division are really critical and this is a heavy cut,’ says Beth Vincent-Pietsch, deputy secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).“The crucial works they do both in terms of good policy, good administration, good regulation – how can that continue without the staff there to do it? It doesn’t make sense.”
Easy as ABC?
The ABC itself was another one to feel the axe – and were clearly unprepared for the announcement that $84m was to be chopped from its funding. ABC News director Gaven Morris warned that it would not be possible to implement the cuts without affecting output and staff.
“There is simply no way that we can achieve that without looking at content creation, and certainly looking at jobs within the organisation,” he says.
This comes on the back of around 20 redundancies expected as a result of the ABC’s Local Journalism Initiative, which is restructuring the broadcaster’s capital city newsrooms.
Meanwhile, some public servants are also bracing for cuts and more outsourcing.
The Department of Human Services has been singled out for a large share of cuts. Nearly 1300 positions will go at the department in 2018-19 in a move that is certain to provoke anger among unions and community services advocates – particularly the announcement that the department is set to contract out work to run call centres.
These cuts follow the loss of 1200 jobs in last year’s budget.
The Defence Department is another surprising loser as they increased their staffing last year. The budget however announced that more than 1000 positions would be going in a mixture of cuts and reorganisation.
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