Government spends more to sell off Australian Visa System

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) reveals more funding to sell off Australia’s visa processing system, while doing nothing to restore public services or deal with the Morrison Government’s illegal Robodebt scheme.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg released the updated Commonwealth accounts this morning, revealing the Government has increased spending on privatisation of public services, while the ASL cap continues to add to the flatlining wages growth. The government is missing a crucial opportunity to use the public sector to stimulate rather than suppress wages growth. With drought continuing to rage across the nation Scott Morrison has an opportunity to make a significant contribution to local communities by restoring and adding to the APS regional footprint. Creating more frontline roles in the Department of Human Services (DHS), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would improve service provision in regional locations at a time of crisis and improve local economic sustainability.

CPSU analysis MYEFO update includes:

  • $418.9m since 2017-18 invested in the government’s visa privatisation plan;
  • $1.5 billion of cuts as part of the government’s extended efficiency dividend;
  • No action on the illegal Robodebt crisis;
  • No additional funding for desperately stretched frontline services such as those provided by Centrelink and Medicare;
  • $15.1 million to implement Thodey Review into the Australian Public Service will be over 2 years; and
  • $40.4 million for the ABS after criticism from the outgoing Chief Statistician.

As noted by Melissa Donnelly, National Secretary CPSU:

“Today’s fiscal update signals another broken promise from the Morrison Government. Wages are flatlining, and the government refuses to listen to its own advice and reverse the ASL Cap. Only last week the Thodey Review recommended reversing this cap and investing in the public service from the efficiency dividend. Today we see more of the same; no action on staffing and deeper cuts.”

“3,000 jobs are on the chopping block under the government’s plan to privatise the visa system, and this increased funding shows that the government are pushing ahead no matter the consequences. The increased funding for privatisation today shows the government continues to ignore the international warnings from those that have gone down this path.”

“Visas are already expensive in Australia, and costs have risen rapidly in the UK in just a few years since visa processing was privatised there. Short term budget gain will end in long term pain for the Australian community under this plan. MEYFO shows that nothing is safe from privatisation under the Morrison Government.”

“This economic update confirms that the government does not have a plan to deal with stagnant wage growth or vital service shortfalls.

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