THE Keneally government has broken its own moratorium on hiring staff, with plans to recruit a team of spin doctors to join the overworked office of the Premier and her strife-torn cabinet.The government had pledged to only replace frontline public servants but yesterday placed ads for vacancies in ”a number of state ministers’ offices”.The ads call for policy and media advisers to assist ministers and their chief of staff. Salaries are negotiable.A June 2009 memo by former premier Nathan Rees said a jobs freeze applied to ”filling of all non-frontline jobs”.A spokesman for the Premier said the jobs offered yesterday were considered temporary positions and were therefore outside the scope of the jobs freeze.He denied the roles were considered temporary because the state government faced an election walloping, according to the latest opinion polls.There has been an ongoing shake-up of media advisers, with Phil McCall and Lee Davelaar punted recently from the Premier’s office to other ministers.Andrew Stoner, deputy leader of the opposition, said the hiring plans were another example of the Keneally government’s dedication to spin over substance.”This shows Kristina Keneally’s spin focus – three ministers gone in three weeks and she still wants to hire more spin doctors. Surely the people of NSW have stopped listening,” he said.”The state budget is in disarray because the government can’t control expenditure.”Recent data shows that the government has failed to contain wage growth across the public sector. Its total wage bill jumped 4.3 per cent last year.It’s not the first time the government has been accused of handing out jobs against policy. In November it advertised for jobs worth $2 million a year for the Sydney Metro Authority. The metro was abandoned at an estimated cost of $400 million.The Public Service Association last week estimated that NSW would need more than 100,000 public servants by 2030 as a result of job freezes imposed over the past decade.
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