(Episode 775: 14 minutes 19) Listen on iTunes.
There's a tendency to think of the public sector as bloated, bureaucratic and ever-expanding. The truth is, it seems, very different.
In today's BTalk James Whelan, Public Sector Research Director at the Centre for Policy Development, says the sector saw a massive cut in the '90s, and a similar increase in the last decade. In effect, we're back where we were 20 years ago, but we have incurred massive redundancy costs in the process.
Whelan explored whether or not the public sector is over-resourced in a new paper, "Staffing the public service, how many public servants are enough?" It might dispel a few populist myths about the sector. You only need to look through OECD data to see that, in Australia, government expenditure accounts for 35 percent of GDP, compared to an OECD average of 46 percent.
So next time a politician promises to cut jobs in the public sector, we really need do need to ask, "Where are those cuts going to happen and what services will be reduced or removed as a consequence?"