Strong progress on Savings Targets
Thu 17 May 2012
The Premier, Lara Giddings, today commended Government agencies for their hard work to achieve the savings targets outlined in last year's Budget.
An update on the 2011/12 savings strategies has been released with today's State Budget.
"The report shows that apart from health and prisons as highlighted in the Mid-Year Financial Report, Government agencies are achieving their savings targets," Ms Giddings said.
"I do not underestimate the size of the challenge or the sacrifice that has been made by the public service and the wider community to achieve these savings.
"But strong Budget discipline has been crucial in avoiding a deeper slide into net debt."
Ms Giddings said a significant part of the overall savings target had been achieved through strong vacancy control.
"Our single biggest expense is in staffing, and our Workforce Renewal and vacancy control programs have seen a reduction in public sector employment of around 1100 full-time equivalent positions without the need for involuntary redundancies.
"Wherever possible these staffing reductions have occurred in non-frontline areas. For example, Health is on track to achieve its target of reducing 150 departmental positions."
Ms Giddings said the Government is also focussed on eliminating waste, streamlining service delivery and reducing spending on things such as cars, travel, phones and supplies and consumables.
Luxury cars are being phased out as contracts expire and the overall size of the Government vehicle fleet has been reduced from 2759 to 2603, resulting in savings of $6.4 million in 2011-12 and $3.7 million in 2012-13 increasing to $4.2 million in 2014-15.
Spending on interstate and international ministerial travel has almost halved from more than $135,000 in 2009/10 and 2010/11 to around $67,900 in the financial year to date.
"I have also been leading from the front by introducing legislation to cap MPs wage increases in line with the public service and eliminating 27 positions from Ministerial offices since I became Premier," Ms Giddings said.
Ms Giddings thanked Public Sector Unions for playing their part in accepting a 2 per cent wage agreement as part of the new Tasmanian State Service Agreement which covers the majority of the public service.
Worsening economic conditions have necessitated further savings in order to maintain our overall $1.4 billion savings target outlined in the last Budget.
"All Agencies, with the exception of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Police and Emergency Management, have been given additional savings targets.
"This will equate to a further $8.5 million in 2012-13, rising to $22 million by 2015-16.
"Staff across our health system have worked hard to cut costs and improve efficiency without compromising patient care, however increasing the savings target in health would unduly affect critical health services.
"Accordingly, we have taken the decision to reduce the savings target for Health by $27 million in 2012 13 to $100 million."
Over the Budget and Forward Estimates period the savings targets for the Department will be reduced by $120 million.