Jobs blow in Budget

ARMIDALE public sector workers have felt the brunt of the State Government’s attempt to balance the Budget, with local jobs cuts in the Department of Primary Industries.
Nanjing Night Net

Uncertainty also remains over how many local jobs will be lost as a result of the Government’s decision to axe more than 10,000 public sector positions statewide.

Four people, or the equivalent of 1.7 full-time positions, will be made redundant or redeployed from Armidale’s Crown Lands Office, while three people at the Office of Water have accepted redundancies.

Public Service Association regional organiser Steve Mears said economic growth would not improve as a result of the redundancies.

“The economy’s going slowly enough as it is, especially in the regions, without making further job cuts, so I don’t see the sense in doing this,” he said.

Treasurer Mike Baird yesterday delivered a forecast deficit of $824 million for 2012-2013, with spending cuts slated across the public sector. Some 10,000 non-frontline positions will to be cut over the next four years through natural attrition, as well as voluntary and involuntary redundancy.

Member for Northern Tablelands Richard Torbay acknowledged the tough economic conditions that necessitated the public service cuts, but expressed concern over the lack of information about the job cuts.

“We have been assured that middle and senior management jobs in Sydney will be the first to go but lack of information has made many public servants in our region extremely concerned,” he said. “I’m especially concerned for TAFE teachers, who haven’t been included as providing frontline services. I’ll be doing everything in my power to protect workers in our community.”

Liberal Duty MLC for Northern NSW Scot MacDonald said the state of the economy necessitated cuts to the public sector.

“It’s a tough decision, but we have to get back on track and return the Budget to surplus,” he said. “The job cuts will happen over four years, so it won’t happen overnight and will be handled as carefully as possible.”

Most of the funding for projects in Armidale, including $6.8 million to upgrade Armidale Court House, had been announced earlier this year.

What’s in the Budget for us

• $6.88 million for the Armidale Court House upgrade

• $500,000 for Armidale’s TAFE campus community services upgrade

• $5.4 million for Armidale Hospital refurbishment

• $888,000 for upgrades to state properties in Armidale, Glen Innes and Inverell

• $248,000 for Uralla-based Tablelands Community Transport

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