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WA Labor to cut managers, agencies by 20%

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Greg Roberts

WA Labor has threatened to sack a raft of the state's highest paid public servants as part of plans to cut costs and repair a budget weighed down by record debt and deficit.

Labor would start a review if elected in March, to reduce by 20 per cent the government's 267 agencies and 510 people in senior executive service positions.

That would significantly reduce costs, representing a "revolution" that would would drive cultural change within the public sector, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said.

The directors-general and chief executives would also have 20 per cent of their salaries linked to key performance indicators.

Depending on their department, KPIs such as growing local jobs and increasing tourist numbers would have to be met.

"This is a revolution in how government is conducted," Mr McGowan told reporters at a business breakfast.

"If you want to be a public servant under a government I lead you are required to deliver and delivery requires solving major issues that have confronted our state for a long period of time and I think it's time we held people to account."

"Most ordinary people in the public sector would understand there's too many people at the top and not enough doing the jobs at the bottom, it's not about sacking people it's about getting more efficient delivery."

WA's budget and economy will be key election issues, with the government seeking to reassure voters last week by announcing it expects to raise $11 billion to solve it's financial woes by privatising 51 per cent of utility Western Power.

WA's domestic economy shrunk by 3.8 per cent during the September quarter and the unemployment rate was the nation's highest in October, a record budget deficit is forecast to hit $3.9 billion this year, and debt is approaching $30 billion.

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said the state government had reduced the size of the public service in recent years and since 2012 there had been zero growth in public sector numbers.

"We've done that by very careful control, reorientating labour force to the front-line services, restraining the growth in back office, including senior executive service, and we've done that without firing anybody," Dr Nahan said.

Examples of possible mergers Labor proposed included the Treasury and Finance departments, Planning and Transport and Economic Development and Commerce.

Labor's plans were supported by the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry as being helpful in regaining a AAA credit rating.

The Community and Public Sector Union declined to condemn or support the policy, saying it would ensure its member's rights were upheld in relation to job cuts.

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