Public service cuts stress staff

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WA PUBLIC servants are feeling more stressed in a climate of uncertainty, a survey has found.

Stephen Teo, of Edith Cowan University, who did the poll, said almost half the respondents had no conversations at all with their managers about changes to the public sector, leading to an atmosphere of uncertainty. “People don’t know how to plan their lives or make vital decisions,” he said.

The poll also revealed 57 per cent of respondents reporting some degree of stress relating to restructuring, while 65 per cent reported feeling tired for no good reason and 60 per cent reported feeling nervous at work.

“There is significant stress at the questions measuring overall level of psychological stress — in 10 questions designed to evaluate stress broadly, roughly 20 per cent could be classified as highly stressed,” Professor Teo said.

In April, Premier Mark McGowan announced plans to merge WA’s 41 government departments down to 25, while a service priority review is set to recommend more changes and budget cuts of up to $750 million.

A spokeswoman for the Premier’s office said the Machinery of Government changes were about ending the silo culture in WA.

“It is by far the largest reform of government in decades and will assist with budget repair,” the spokeswoman said.

“Overall, the reform is anticipated to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We’ve been open and transparent about Machinery of Government changes … and interim directors-general have been working closely with their departments to communicate openly as information becomes available.”



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