Tasked with reducing the national government's budget down, the federal Treasurer Joe Hockey revealed on Thursday the Commission on Audit recommendations to the federal government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott's reign which have caused alarm for many people.
1. COA recommends massive job cuts. Instead of cutting down jobs from the originally promised 12,000 figure prior to the election, the commission recommends cutting down the public servants by 15,000 which already includes the already announced 6,000 job cuts towards the end of the year. The figures indicated in the recommendation may still be higher in the actual situation. As Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) National Secretary Nadine Flood estimated, the figures may be closer to 25,000.
2. COA recommends tougher eligibility rules and higher premium for universal health care. Doctor's visit will have co-payment of $15 and medicine purchase will incur co-payments under the COA suggestions. Rather than depending solely on Medicare, higher income earners would be forced to shell out their personal pockets for basic health care services.
3. COA recommends privatisation of government bodies. After 2016, ten government bodies will be privatized including COMCAR, Australian Hearing Services, Snowy Hydro Ltd, Defence Housing Australia, the Royal Australian Mint, the Australian Submarine Corporation, and the Australian Rail Track Corporation. Specifically, Comcare will be outsourced to a private organization who will provide its own scheme for worker's wage insurance.
4. COA recommends merger of non-principal government units. According to the recommendation, the Defense Materiel Organization (DMO) will be merged into the Defense Department. Although the commission gave a precaution on the merging of other government functions and the Information Technology (IT).
5. COA recommends rationalisation of government staff. The recommendation stipulated that the Defense Headquarters in Canberra will have to reduce its staff size to the 1998 levels. Instead of the usual project management, the existing staff at DMO will also be refocused to contract management. Specifically, COA mentioned that the secretary of Employment Department will take over the functions of Public Service Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick and the Merit Protection Commissioner.
Although, the afore-mentioned government changes are non-vote the sheer enormity of the COA recommendations are still enough reason not just in Canberra and Queensland but for public servants and ordinary citizens alike with the nearing budget Tuesday week.