The Australian coalition government has asked public service sector not to renew contract worker positions or enter into any new contract work arrangements, and the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) on Friday issued a guidance to help public service sector meet this target of axing 12,000 positions "through natural attrition".
According to the APSC,"the Guidance for departments and agencies regarding interim arrangements for APS recruitment processes"aims to help meet the government's commitment to a reduction of 12,000 employees through natural attrition.
"To meet this commitment and minimize redundancies, it will be necessary to control engagements very tightly. At the same time, we need to maintain viable front line services, particularly in regional locations, and preserve the skills required to meet the government's priorities," the APSC confirmed.
"Accordingly, the government has agreed to a set of arrangements that make the redeployment of displaced employees, within agencies and across the APS, the first priority when filling vacancies," the statement added.
According to figures of the local media, from June 2012, there were 14,273 non-ongoing employees in the public service. Most of them were engaged for a specific term, while others had irregular or intermittent duties and only 4 percent were hired for a specific task. Two dozen agencies had at least one-quarter of employees engaged on a non-ongoing basis and 61 percent of workers on these contracts were women.
The biggest users of the positions are the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Human Services and the Australian Electoral Commission.
In addition, the decision also affects science research sector. According to the Australian Associated Press (AAP), the CSIRO, Australia's premier science research body, has announced a recruitment freeze and a ban on entering into any new, or extending existing term or contract employment arrangements.
Local media estimate one in five of its workers, or about 1400 people, are casual or on term arrangements. This means that the jobs of up to 1,400 scientists and researchers at the organization are suffering a hiring freeze imposed by the Abbott government.
Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek criticized the decision on Friday. She said Prime Minister Tony Abbott had pledged not to touch health and medical research. "This is a contrast to what the prime minister said before the election," she said in Sydney on Friday.
"You see a pattern here of saying one thing before the election and doing something completely different after the election," she said.