Jobs to go in SA budget

Rob Lucas says the government makes no apologies for its strategy to cut costs.
Rob Lucas says the government makes no apologies for its strategy to cut costs.

More than 1500 public sector jobs are set to go in South Australia but Treasurer Rob Lucas says the cuts will target back office staff with the government locked in to protecting, doctors, nurses and police.

The SA budget forecasts the reduction in 2019/20 while total job numbers will continue to fall in 2020/21 before rising slightly in the following two years.

Mr Lucas says the government makes no apologies for its strategy to cut its wages bill which continues to soak up a significant proportion of total spending.

"The issue is we have a budget to run; it's a $21 or $22 billion budget that we have to balance," he said.

"It's a measured, targeted, moderate response."

Mr Lucas said the job cuts were also "nowhere near" the numbers forecast by public sector unions under a Liberal government.

Tuesday's budget also makes allowances for some public sector wage rises, though the treasurer warned the government had no "mad money" to pay for big increases.

He is currently negotiating across a number of sectors, among them the state's public school teachers who this week rejected the government's offer of a 2.35 per cent pay hike.

Mr Lucas said the government believed the increase was fair and reasonable and hoped to settle other enterprise agreements within a similar ballpark.

"We have budgeted for reasonable increases but we have reduced the provision for mad money, as I've referred to, that is excessive salary and wage increases," he said.

"That's assisted us in meeting the revenue shortfalls that we're getting from the GST."

Australian Associated Press