The Government’s latest Budget will see its first major cut in the Commonwealth’s ‘guan’ budgeting system since it was introduced in 2014.
The budget, released on Thursday, will see Commonwealth departments cut more than $1 billion from the departmental budgets of over 1,400 staff in 2019.
In the wake of the announcement, the ABC has spoken to Commonwealth employees, and has been able to speak with those who have seen a drop in their pay or job status since the announcement.
It is understood that the department’s budget cuts will result in the loss of more than 100 jobs across the Commonwealth, and could even mean that some departments could be forced to close.
Many Commonwealth departments already struggle with staffing issues, particularly in the areas of financial management, IT, and support for the Commonwealth Parliament.
While the Government has made some changes to the budget, it has yet to announce the specific details of the budget cuts.
The cuts to the departmentary budget come as the Government continues to make major changes to its funding model.
First announced in 2019, the Government is expected to announce a new ‘gum tax’ on superannuation contributions, with the Government saying it will make the change over the next four years.
The Government’s budget is also expected to cut the Commonwealth Council of Trade Unions (CCUTU) funding, with a number of unions expected to see their funding cut.
Some of the cuts are expected to affect organisations including the Commonwealth Office of Communications (COC), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Commonwealth Education Union (CEU), and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACSSS).
The Budget will also see the Government make significant cuts to other funding categories, including Indigenous Affairs, the Northern Territory’s Northern Health, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioning and Training (ATICTA).
These cuts come as Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is facing calls to resign over the Government not providing Indigenous Affairs with enough funding to support the long-running fight to end the use of peatland for fire-fighting.
A number of Indigenous affairs organisations have also criticised the Government for not prioritising Indigenous people over the wellbeing of communities and for the removal of Aboriginal and Pacific Islander rights from the Commonwealth Budget.
In 2018, the Federal Government released a $3.8 billion Indigenous Budget, but the Government did not release a full Indigenous Budget for 2019.
For the budget to be effective, the Department would need to secure a $2.5 billion investment in Indigenous and Pacific islander rights and support in the next 12 months.
There is also a significant gap between the Commonwealth and State governments in funding for Aboriginal and remote communities.
Federal and State Governments have been spending $1.4 billion each year on the Commonwealth Commission for Aboriginal Peoples, with most of that coming from the Federal Treasury.
More than 70% of the Commission’s budget goes to the States.
Since 2014, more than 600,000 people have been removed from the ACT, and over 40,000 have been deported to their home country.
Despite these figures, the ACT is still one of the poorest jurisdictions in Australia, with unemployment at 26.4% and homelessness at 26,000.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more people are living in poverty in Canberra than anywhere else in the country.