Ghost of Eric Abetz haunts Christmas wage offer at Immigration - Joint Media Release


Joint media release with Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Brendan O'Connor

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has taken the Liberals’ attack on the public service to a new low with its latest enterprise agreement offer at the Department of Immigration.

At the last election, the Abbott-Turnbull Government promised that there would be no more than 12,000 public service job losses. Having broken that promise by sacking 17,700 public servants in the past two years, the Government is now proposing to dismiss a further 680 staff from Immigration as part of a pay deal that already offers workers below-inflation pay rises and cuts to conditions.

Suggesting 680 workers have to go in order for their colleagues to receive such a meagre pay deal shows just how much the extreme industrial relations approach of Eric Abetz continues to infect the Government’s public service bargaining.   

Over the past decade, no OECD country has seen a faster rate of immigration than Australia. Many of those coming here already face long delays in the processing of their paperwork because of the department’s workload.

Immigration’s own figures show overseas migration to Australia is set to grow from 193,100 in 2015 to 246,500 by 2019 – an increase of 28 per cent. How will the department manage this new inflow if its workforce is slashed by 5 per cent?

News of this terrible pay offer caps a year of uncertainty for Immigration’s thousands of Canberra-based staff. The Government left workers dangling for over 12 months about whether the department would be dragged from its long-term home in Belconnen, before eventually abandoning this plan thanks to a strong campaign by the local community.

Yet again under this Liberal Government, public servants in Canberra and around the country are heading into Christmas with worries hanging over them about what the new year will bring for their jobs.

The Turnbull Government needs to exorcise the Ghost of Ministers Past from its APS bargaining. It must come up with a deal that supports a strong Immigration Department so it can continue supporting Australia’s strong migration.



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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.