Queensland Budget 2021: What is happening to the staffing cap?

Posted on June 16, 2021

The Queensland government has announced new budget principles as part of the state budget. In a significant reform, after lobbying and pressure from union members, the government has moved away from a previous budget principle (Principle 6), which limited the growth in staffing levels to population growth.

This budget principle had seen the number of the public servants reducing, as the growth of Queensland Health employment was higher than population growth. It was important that our health system grew to meet demand but it should not have been at the expense of the rest of the sector.

This budget principle was also resulting in departments increasing the use of labour-hire arrangements as a way around the budget principle.

The budget papers state that:

"A narrow focus on FTEs could also create perverse incentives for agencies to outsource services at higher cost to the state."

This change shows that the government has listened to public servants and your union on the need for reform on how the sector is managed. This is an important reform which should see an appropriate focus on services to the community rather than an obsession with staffing levels and how they are reported (or mis-reported) by the Courier-Mail.

"Recruitment freeze" concerning

However the government has announced the creation of 'the Pool' and a new revised process for establishment management, to be led by the Public Service Commission.

The Treasurer has been reported as announcing a continuation of the "public service recruitment freeze."

Together is gravely concerned that the these two announcements will result in a de facto process of natural attrition with the public service for positions not considered 'frontline.'

Together has sought an urgent meeting with the Public Service Commission so we can be briefed on what these announcements will mean for members.

We have also sought urgent clarification from the Treasurer on the announcements and confirmation that the government's policy in relation to public service employment level remains consistent to the commitments given by the ALP to the Queensland community and the Queensland public service prior to last year's state election.


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