Public sector cuts are killing the country, says research

FURTHER slashing of public sector jobs could cause irreparable damage to some of the country's vital government branches, the Centre for Policy Development has warned.

Releasing its paper - Death by a Thousand Cuts on Monday, the CDP revealed rising expectations of public services could not be met in the face of "blind, across the board cuts".

Reflecting on recent cuts in Western Australia and the federal public sector, the CDP recommends that governments stop "avoiding responsibility" for service shortfalls when making budget savings by announcing across the board cuts rather than looking at specific services which could be reduced.

Researcher Chris Stone said the approach was "ultimately self defeating" and exacerbated the challenges already affecting the workforce capability of the public sector.

He said in Western Australia, where 23% of public servants will reach retirement age within in the next 10 years, skill shortage was becoming a critical issue.

He also warned the salaries would be hit hardest in regional and remote areas.

The report gives a list of recommendations to increase public sector productivity through enhanced employee engagement, reduce loss of corporate knowledge and protect rural services from staffing shortages.

"Ineffective services and less engaged public servants can lower the popularity of the government in power, hamper the enforcement of laws and regulations and reduce popular engagement with the democratic process," the report reads

"A blunt instrument method of across the board cuts that does not acknowledge the issues at hand will produce budget savings only in the short term and will create significant long term problems."