The Western Australian Government will offer its workers a new round of voluntary separations this year as part of its public sector reform program.


Treasurer Christian Porter said the new round of separations will build on this work,” Mr Porter said.


“Under the previous Labor government, we saw employee costs (salaries and superannuation) surge by 11.6 per cent to $7.6billion in 2007-08.


“The Government has brought public sector growth and salaries expenditure under control through measures such as voluntary separations, the introduction of a ceiling on full‑time equivalent staff numbers and a new public sector wages policy.


“Since we enacted these measures, 802 public sector employees have taken voluntary separations and underlying growth in salaries expenditure fell 5.7 per cent in 2009-10 - the lowest rate of growth since 2003-04.


“The actual rate of growth in salaries expenditure in the December 2010 quarter was just 4.9 per cent,” Mr Porter said.


The Treasurer said the State Government would offer 400 voluntary separations this year at an estimated up-front cost of $40 million.


“The ongoing salaries savings from the latest offer are estimated at $29.2million per year, of which 50 per cent will be retained by participating agencies and the remainder ($14.6million per year) returned to the Consolidated Account,” he said.


“This is in addition to about $42million annually …saved …through the previous two rounds of voluntary separations.”


Mr Porter said the first separation offer was in support of the three per cent efficiency dividend with full year savings of about $30million.  The second offer achieved full year savings of $11.9million.


The up-front investment of $40million for the 2011 separation offer would be repaid in two to three years, with ongoing savings providing a non-debt source of funding for essential community services and infrastructure.


The funding, and the associated savings, would be reflected in the 2011-12 State Budget to be handed down on May 19, 2011.


The 2011 Voluntary Separation Offer is aimed at surplus staff in general government sector agencies identified on a case-by-case basis by the respective agencies, and will be administered by the Public Sector Commission.


Employees who accept the offer will be entitled to three weeks’ pay for every year of service up to a maximum of 52 weeks, in addition to holiday and long service leave entitlements (and, where applicable, 12 weeks’ pay in lieu of notice).


In the case of Senior Executive Service officers, an amount up to a maximum of 12 months’ remuneration would be payable.


Employees wanting to take up the offer will need to exit the public sector between July 1 and September 29, 2011.