30/01/2015 - 14:47

Belt tightening squeezes finance, commerce

30/01/2015 - 14:47

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The Department of Finance and the Department of Commerce are among those cutting wage costs hardest as the state government reacts to reduced revenue, according to the latest BNiQ research.

Belt tightening squeezes finance, commerce
Premier Colin Barnett.

The Department of Finance and the Department of Commerce are among those cutting wage costs hardest as the state government reacts to reduced revenue, according to the latest BNiQ research.

Comparing the latest figures to the 2014 Book of Lists, Business News found the bureaucracy key to managing the state’s finances had led the way in cost cuts.

Finance axed more than 150 staff, to 1,227, while the commerce department shed 117 employees, to 806.

Also reducing staff was the Department of Agriculture and Food, which decreased numbers from 1,148 to 1,084.

The cuts follow the state government’s announcement in October that it would open up 1,500 voluntary redundancies to the state’s public service.

Over the forward estimates, the redundancies would add to a series of other measures to cut spending by about $2 billion, Premier Colin Barnett said at the time of the announcement.

Other departments to experience staff cuts included: the Disability Services Commission, which fell from 1,675 to 1,517 staff members; Main Roads WA, from 1,069 to 1,023; and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, down 24 employees to 460.

Moving in the other direction were: the Department of Corrective Services, up to 4,322 staff from 4,133; the Department of Training and Workforce Development, which increased by 80 to 555; and the Public Transport Authority, now 1,532 after coming in at 1,470 in the 2014 Book of Lists.

The state’s two single largest employers, the Department of Health and Department of Education, also seemed to have been spared major disruption.

According to the data, the Department of Education employs 35,914 staff, just up on the 35,858 reported in the 2014 Book of Lists, while the Department of Health came in at 35,674, down 22 from 35,696.

BNiQ found total revenue for the Department of Health in the 2014 financial year was nearly $6.2 billion, up $600 million from the previous 12 months, while Education was up around $130 million to just under $4.5 billion.

Bryant Stokes remains as acting director general in health, after nearly two years in the role.

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