Published: 10 June 2016

The Hobart Mercury, Blair Richards - June 6, 2016

TASMANIA’S Treasurer says there are no job cuts hidden in the Budget, despite the Government falling short of its original target of 1200 full time job cuts.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein has told a State Budget estimates committee that as of March this year the public service had 531 less full time equivalent (FTE) positions than in July 2014.

The Liberals’ first budget required savings equivalent to 1200 full time jobs over four years.

However Mr Gutwein said as most of the savings task had been completed, there would be no need for further significant cuts to maintain the $77 million surplus.

“While the Government’s 2014-15 savings strategy required the reduction of savings equivalent to 1200 FTEs, this does not mean that a further reduction of 669 FTEs is now required,” Mr Gutwein said.

The Government’s political opponents have raised concerns the Liberals are preparing for more jobs cuts.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest queried the nature of the surplus and the underlying state of the Budget.

“People think the $77 million is a cash surplus. We are still spending more than we are getting in each year,” Ms Forrest said.

“You say you are going to employ more nurses, police and teachers in the system and I find it hard to see how you are going to do it without cutting in other places.”

Mr Gutwein said it was an operating surplus that demonstrated the state’s finances were back on track.

“We are in a significantly stronger position than what we were a couple of years ago,” he said.

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