A 1.4 per cent decline in the Western Australian (WA) public service over 2013-14 is due to 1000 voluntary redundancies, hiring freezes, and moves to limit wage increases, according to a report released by the WA Public Sector Commission.
WA had the largest workforce decline of any state aside from Queensland and Victoria for 2013-14.
However, Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope says that the WA public service has a great deal to be proud of.
“Against a backdrop of fiscal constraint and increasingly complex policy and service delivery priorities, our public sector has continued to innovate, collaborate and deliver,” Wauchope remarks in the report.
The report suggests improvements in service delivery have and will be driven by technology, making specific mention to:
- Housing Authority’s mobile application enabling better recordkeeping procedures;
- Department of Fisheries’ innovative shark alarm which alerts via twitter and a website; and
- WA Police’s social media strategy for its Frontline 2020 service delivery reforms.
WA is responding to a slowdown in mining investment and decline in iron ore prices, as well as low allocation of GST funding. The Treasurer claims that each $US1 per tonne fall in the iron ore price reduces royalties by approximately $49 million per year. The resource accounts for approximately one-fifth of the State’s total revenue base.
In October 2014, Premier Barnett announced a voluntary redundancy scheme which will see a further 1500 employees leave the WA public service.