It is truly a wonderful thing how the magic asterix fixes budget problems. Finance Minister Penny Wong told us today that part of her budgetary miracle moving towards a surplus is increasing the “efficiency dividend” by a quarter of one per cent for two years – from 1.25 to 1.5 per cent. Departments, it seems, will be expected to cut their budgets by 1.5 per cent for two years but never fear the cuts, thanks to the magic axterix, will be painless. No sacking of staff. No reduction in services.

Senator Wong says efficiencies can be driven in a number of ways, such as coordinating procurement between departments to generate savings. “These savings will help bring the budget back to surplus in 2012-13 and show the Government is determined to lead the way by tightening its own belt first,” she said.

The woman surely is a super worker.

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Peter Fray
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