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Issue #1674      February 25, 2015

ABS staff: More funding, end job cuts

Australian Bureau of Statistics staff are calling for increased funding and an end to job cuts in order to enable workers to deal with any overhaul to the Census.

In anticipation of a decision by government on the future of the Census, the Community and Public Sector Union said that funds were urgently needed to upgrade computer systems and ensure that staffing levels could meet the ongoing demand for its services.

CPSU president Alistair Waters said: “It is vital that government and the ABS protect the reputation of what is a vital public service and national institution. The ABS performs a crucial role in underpinning so much of what we need to know about Australia to provide good public services and it is too important to be allowed to decline.”

Waters said that is why the government must ensure the ABS can do its job and do it to the best of its ability. Successive budget cuts and efficiency dividends have already taken their toll with one in ten staff positions axed and almost $80 million taken from its budget over the past two years. “This has led to a significant loss of skills and experience and various programs such as Measures of Australia’s Progress and Australian Social Trends being discontinued. This cannot be allowed to go on.”

Staff continue to raise the issues of mounting workloads and an antiquated computer system with management, Mr Waters said.

“Staff constantly deal with change and embrace it but they can only do so much. At this critical juncture we once again call upon the government to properly fund the ABS so that it can continue to provide first class statistics and information to government and other stakeholders. Without good data, government can’t make good decisions.”

ABS has 2,528 full-time equivalent staff.

Next article – Big jump in child removals

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