The CPSU cautiously welcomes the Morrison Government’s commitment to action on disaster resilience and recovery, but its past actions leave room for doubt.
CPSU members are on the forefront of climate science and protecting our nation from the effects of climate change, but sustained cuts and job losses have weakened our natural disaster mitigation capabilities.
The Coalition Government has taken an axe to the public sector and our nation’s ability to fight the effects of climate change, including dismantling the Climate Commission and the Climate Change Authority. It has also axed the Carbon Pricing Mechanism and the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program and cut over half a billion dollars from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Deep funding cuts and severe job losses have been felt across all agencies and departments that have any climate science mandate.
The Government has also slashed jobs from rural and regional areas which are on the front line of drought, fire, and climate change. Since December 2013:
- APS regional jobs have been slashed by 1,743 or 7.9%;
- Regional QLD jobs have been slashed by 570 or 10.2%; and
- Townsville has lost 293 staff or 14.9%.
If the Government is serious about this announcement, it must reinvest in regional jobs in Queensland.
Quotes Attributable To CPSU Queensland Regional Secretary Sally Gunner:
“CPSU members cautiously welcome this announcement and hope to see a staffing announcement to ensure that the recommendations of the Bushfire Royal Commission can be carried out.
“But the fact is we have communities in QLD and the Torres Strait who are in the frontline of climate change – they need more than just a fly-in-fly-out announcements. They need long-term investment in their communities.”
“Since 2013 this Government has cut over 10% of jobs in regional Queensland and 14.9% of Townsville public sector jobs, all while slashing climate change mitigation funding.
“If the Government really wants to support communities and mitigate future risk, then it must invest in feet on the ground and in the agencies with climate mandates. You can’t support communities and mitigate risks if you don’t have the local staff to do it.”
Heat map illustrating regional Queensland APS job losses since December 2013.
Source: APS headcount data by Statistical Area 4 for December 2013 and December 2020 from the APS Employment Database