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Get out of town: Treasurer's $3 billion plan to cap public service, abandon CBD towers

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Labor will cap the size of Queensland’s public service and push more staff into work centres outside the Brisbane CBD if it wins the October election.

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New Treasurer Cameron Dick plans to save $3 billion over four years by ensuring the public service doesn’t swell any further than it already has.

The bureaucracy will be capped in size for a year, excluding frontline workers. Vacancies will be filled internally.

Other savings will come as external consultants and contractors either lose government work, or get less of it.

A chunk of the public service will also be forced out of the Brisbane CBD, where the Government has under-utilised and expensive office space.

Dick said coronavirus has shown not all public servants need to be in offices.

He said some would continue to work from home while others – up to 1500 – will be told to work within their communities at distributed work centres of the type already in operation on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

“We don’t want any more public servants being appointed to positions in the Brisbane CBD. We have enough of them there,” he has told ABC radio.

“We need to now look at distributed and decentralised work locations.”

The public service has swelled by more than 28,000 full-time equivalent positions since Labor was elected in 2015, after the former LNP government axed 14,000 public service jobs.

Dick earlier told The Australian he could save $3 billion over four years without having to sack public servants, reduce frontline services or sell public assets.

The current size of the public service is not clear as the latest data has not been released. Dick’s plan will be part of the economic and fiscal update he’s due to deliver in September.

With unions fearing austerity measures, and privatisation, Dick will also legislate a ‘locked box’ that will prevent assets being sold and only allow trade between Government-Owned Corporations.

The Government has blamed coronavirus for its decision not to deliver a full budget before the October 31 state election.

-AAP

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