The redundancy payments for planned public sector job cuts will hit $1 billion before 2017, and could be higher if the federal axe swings deeper, reports say.

The golden handshakes set aside for the 14,473 bureaucrats already will not stretch much further, according to Fairfax Media reports this week. Analysts say the Treasury also has a habit of woefully underestimating the cost of redundancies; leading to the suggestion the total could be considerably more.

The Federal Government paid $261 million to cover redundant public sector workers in the 2012-13 financial year, but it will exceed that figure in each of the four forward estimates years as a result of more cuts.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey blamed this and most other negative parts of the budget update on the former government.

“Further expenditure includes provision for the unfunded redundancies associated with the reduction of the Australian Public Service by 14,473 staff,” Mr Hockey said.

“This was a decision taken but never announced by the previous government and, of course, it was never properly funded.”

According to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the departments will decide who they can afford to lose.

“Funding will be provided following an agency-by-agency assessment of the need for funding to reduce staffing levels and to avoid operating losses and place them on a sustainable financial footing,” the MYEFO papers state.

“Funding for this measure is not for publication while assessments are undertaken.”

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said it is another sign of the dire future awaiting many thousands of workers.

“We've seen Treasurer Hockey argue in the Parliament and now MYEFO that Labor savings equate to some sort of secret plan to cut 14,500 jobs in the public service and therefore they'll be loading 12,000 job losses on top of that,” she said.

“We think that is a patently ridiculous claim.

“A least one public sector job has been lost for every hour this Government has been in office,” Ms Flood said.

“These cuts come on top of severe cuts imposed by the previous government. The only thing many departments have left to cut is jobs.”