Fri Nov 04 2016
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will shed up to 150 jobs through voluntary redundancies as it struggles to deal with a diminishing budget.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) claimed staff were briefed by management on Friday morning and has criticised the Federal Government for “short-sighted budget decisions”.
The ABS has faced public criticism after its botched handling of the 2016 census and a 40-hour website outage that saw thousands of Australians unable to complete forms on August 9.
In an email to ABS staff, chief operating officer Jonathan Palmer called for expressions of interest and said most offers would be made before February 9.
Mr Palmer said the redundancies were needed to “transform the workforce for the future and manage effectively within our budget”.
Redundancy offers will be accepted from those no longer required to work on the census and staff working in Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin offices, along with the Canberra headquarters.
CPSU deputy national secretary Melissa Donnelly said she was concerned the staff cuts would further impact the quality of ABS data management.
“We are seriously concerned that the ABS is continually being forced to make decisions solely based on its meagre budget,” she said.
“The Bureau needs adequate funding to provide robust, accurate data, and that’s clearly not currently the case.”
An ABS spokeswoman said the redundancies were necessary and at least 100 redundancy packages would be offered to staff.
Ms Donnelly said the jobs cuts were announced weeks after the ABS admitted it would consider scaling back collection of retail and housing data due to budget pressure.