Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Williams supports Local Land Services proposal

NSW Member for Murray-Darling John Williams has given no indication he will object to massive job cuts in Deniliquin.

November 16, 2012 4:40am

Member for Murray-Darling John Williams has said he will continue to support the NSW Government’s Local Land Services (LLS) proposal, despite the job losses it is expected to deliver to his electorate.

Mr Williams said ‘‘I’m in support of the government’’ when asked repeatedly by the Pastoral Times how he intends to respond to the likely jobs cuts in Deniliquin.

Seven of the eight agriculture-based employees at the local Department of Primary Industries office have reportedly been told their jobs will no longer exist in Deniliquin and that they will need to reapply for positions under the LLS proposal.

And even if they do retain their positions, there is no guarantee any of the jobs will be in Deniliquin.

The Murray Catchment Management Authority has also confirmed 15 of its 30 permanent staff, over three offices including Deniliquin, will be slashed.

It can also not guarantee all positions will be retained in Deniliquin.

Mr Williams said he had not been briefed on the CMA plans, but said the jobs cuts were a regretful consequence of budget cutbacks.

‘‘Each of the departments has been given a reduced budget and they have had to make that fit,’’ he said.

‘‘If that results in job losses, then that’s the way it needs to be.

‘‘We as a government have been elected to manage the finances of this government.

‘‘I’m in support of the government and the actions we need to take, but obviously I’m not happy about losing jobs.’’

Similarly, NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said she could not ‘‘keep jobs for the sake of keeping jobs’’ when speaking to the Pastoral Times yesterday.

‘‘I recognise it will hurt in the short term, but in the long term it will deliver a better system,’’ she said.

‘‘Everything I do is about what is best for the farmer, and farmers want efficiencies.

‘‘What we’ve had in the past is that agricultural departments do not know what everyone else is doing.

‘‘A farmer could be speaking to five different agencies, and no-one is talking to each other about what’s going on at that property.

‘‘There is extreme uncoordination, so we needed to create an organisation that could be the key port of call for landholders.

‘‘Change is always hard, but I am absolutely positive about this change.’’

Ms Hodgkinson said positions would be created under the LLS to replace DPI and CMA jobs lost, and said current employees would need to reapply to fill those roles.

She said there may be an opportunity for more jobs creation in the future.

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