Australia's growing unemployment problem may even worsen in the coming months as more job cuts loom, including in the public sector. Amid Thursday's announcement that the unemployment rate slightly rose to 5.1 per cent from 5 per cent, reports said New South Wales (NSW) plans to axe the jobs of 10,000 public workers.
The job cut is NSW Treasurer Mike Baird's strategy to address the state's $826 million budget deficit for the coming financial year. The growing budget gap is partly due to a $5-billion decline in forecast general sales tax payments.
The 10,000 jobs to be shed will add to the 5,000 job cuts announced by NSW in September.
Mr Baird did not confirm the report of job cuts, but acknowledged the state government would have to swallow some bitter pills in the coming days due to its financial problems.
"We inherited a government book of finances that showed spending was out of control. Those days have to end," ABC quoted Mr Baird.
"We will be making difficult decisions in the interest of the people of New South Wale. We will be getting our finances back on track, back into surplus," the treasurer added.
Besides the job cut, NSW also plans to hike speeding fines by 12.5 per cent to shore up the state's coffers. Mr Baird will officially provide details of the new budget on Tuesday, June 12.
NSW Opposition leader John Robertson seized the opportunity to blame the present government for the state's financial predicament because the O'Farrell government inherited $1.3-billion budget surplus, he insisted.
"They've wasted that in their time in government. We've seen debt blow out by $1.9 billion, infrastructure down by $1.5 billion, and a premier that's doing nothing except looking at how he can balance his budget at the expense of everyone across New South Wales," ABC quoted Mr Robertson.
Unions expressed concern that the new job cuts, unlike that in September, will not be voluntary. Although the job cuts will not touch nurses, police and teachers, Unions NSW warned that frontline workers may end up with more tasks.
"These cuts will drown nurses, police and other frontline public sector workers in paperwork and stop them doing the jobs they were employed to do - serving the community," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon.
On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the country's unemployment rate went up to 5.1 per cent despite the creation of 46,100 more full-time jobs due to the entry of more people into the jobs market.
The increase in number of working-age Aussies who joined the labour market boosted Australia's labour participation rate to 65.5 per cent from 65.2 per cent in April.
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