Australian public service unions are against a proposal by the Coalition to outsource federal jobs to state governments. Community and Public Sector Union National Secretary Nadine Flood warned of the danger of reversion to a 1980s policy which could result in axing of thousands of federal jobs.
She responded to the plan by the Opposition, announced by Coalition finance and deregulation spokesman Andrew Robb, to turnover administration of environmental laws to states in a bid to reduce red tape and downsize the payroll of the federal government. The proposal includes handing over health and education tasks.
In defending the proposal, Mr Robb said the federal government is not abandoning its policies; rather the states would act as agents of the federal government in administering national policies.
The proposal is the Coalition's response to its observation of the bloating of the federal bureaucracy designed more to leave a paper trail to cover the hides of federal workers.
Ms Flood said the Coalition proposal is a return to the 1980s when each state did its own thing. She said it would lead to businesses and citizens working through seven different sets of state regulations.
Parliamentary Secretary Mark Dreyfus described the Opposition plan as a tool to axe public sector jobs under the guise of outsourcing.
"We've had quite a lot of contacts already with Coalition governments and (state) oppositions, particularly in the environment area. And we are looking at using that as the model for other areas. We've reached agreement that we will, in a sense, outsource environmental approvals to those states that wish to take up the offer and I think it will be enthusiastically embraced, from the reaction we've had," The Australian Financial Review quoted Mr Robb.
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