Ministers and staff escape cuts

Finance Minister Penny Wong.
Finance Minister Penny Wong. Inga Williams

FEDERAL ministers and their staff have escaped cuts of $550 million in the public service budget, including restrictions on business class flights over the next four years.

Finance Minister Penny Wong announced the new savings measures on Tuesday, a day after the government revealed it continued to suffer from a drop in company tax receipts.

The new savings come after a series of cuts in public service spending this year, which included $240 million in travel allowances for the public service.

But those cuts did not go far enough, with Ms Wong announcing the government had found potential for another $30 million of savings each year in across-the-board air travel spending on top of the previous cuts.

The latest savings also included annual cuts of $60 million to departmental budgets for external consultants and contractors; $2 million on job advertising by moving more ads online and about $6 million in savings on printing costs by publishing more reports online.

While Ms Wong would not say whether ministers and their staff would be subject to the cuts, APN Newsdesk understands the savings will only apply to public servants.

Ministers and their staff were already subject to tight restrictions on travel, with only about 8% of all ministerial staff able to travel business class.

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