Lots of applications for redundancies

A $6 MILLION voluntary redundancy program, aimed to reduce staffing in the combined Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport, by up to 60 jobs, has been flooded with applications.

A Senate Estimates Committee meeting yesterday heard that the department had received a total of 90 applications for the project.

Deputy secretary Geoff Leeper told the committee that the redundancy program, a long-term cost-cutting measure, was made possible by a $6 million grant from the Department of Finance.

Department secretary Glenys Beauchamp said changes in the machinery of government, when the arts and sport portfolios were rolled into one department, had meant cuts could be made in some areas.

"Primarily, there are reductions in the number of employees due to a number of one-off programs coming to a close at the end of June 2012.

"We're in the process of offering the 60 voluntary redundancies for expressions of interest."

Mr Leeper said the program would expire on June 8 this year, with final decisions on which employees would be successful in getting the voluntary redundancies.

"Adjusting for the drop in number of employees from around 660 employees to 550 to this year, of that, the department secured the $6 million grants from the Department of Finance.

"We offered the program up to expressions of interest, and around 86 or 90 employees expressed their interest.

"But we expect that not everybody offered one will actually take them."



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