Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Critical APS roles 'at risk' of shortages - More evidence of Fox News’ stranglehold on the Republican Party

 Critical APS roles 'at risk' of shortages - ( ANAO is aware - There is no longer time to dance, but time to advance as APS has too many chiefs and not enough Indians)

A NATIONAL explosion of the Omicron variant could cause public service staff shortages, including for critical service delivery roles, adding pressure on the federal government to set public service-wide working from home rules.

The peak union body has described the federal government's inaction as "reckless", urging it to step in and provide clarity for concerned critical staff who are still required to attend offices during major outbreaks.

Public Service Minister Ben Morton last week conceded working from home arrangements were not yet a "thing of the past" as Omicron, and future variants, risked unravelling plans.

But agencies, such as Services Australia, have been more resistant to sending staff home.

It's prompted concern over possible staffing shortages for critical service delivery roles.

The welfare agency told staff working in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, ACT and Queensland on Tuesday morning they would now be allowed to work from home until the end of January.

Public servants in Northern Territory and Tasmanian offices will, however, still be required to attend workplaces in person despite a rapid rise in cases.

APS staff shortage risk over varying WFH rules

While cases in Western Australia remain in the single digits, the Northern Territory and Tasmania recorded a combined total of nearly 2000 cases on Tuesday.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions slammed the federal government's inaction on the inconsistent messaging, urging them to go back to the drawing board.

Union secretary Sally McManus said the federal government needed to stop pretending outbreaks affecting critical service delivery staff weren't also happening in the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

"Australia's professional public servants have served on the front lines of the fight against this virus. Public servants deserve our gratitude and our respect, as do all the workers who have carried Australia through this crisis," Ms McManus said.

"By putting our hard-working public servants at risk, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is jeopardising the delivery of essential public services that Australians are relying on to make it to the other side of the COVID pandemic."

Labor's public service spokesperson Senator Katy Gallagher said clear advice was needed due to the challenges presented by the Omicron variant.

The ACT senator called on the federal government to be reasonable and do the right thing by public servants who had worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

"Some APS jobs can't be done easily from home, but it's upon the government to do the right thing by its workforce and at least provide consistent advice across departments on what the official APS position is when it comes to working from home during outbreaks," Senator Gallagher said.

"Making this position clear will also help to protect the health of public servants, their families and the communities that they live in."

Mr Morton previously told The Canberra Times agencies should respond in line with the health directions provided by states and territories.

More evidence of Fox News’ stranglehold on the Republican Party