Primary concern: unions say jobs cuts bad timing

THREE Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) jobs in Orange, and 12 in other regional areas, will be lost as a result of a “change management plan” in the department and unions fear it is only the start of restructures affecting staff.

A DPI spokeswoman said the restructure affects library staff in Orange and library and records positions in other areas, but the staff would be able to apply for 20 new roles as part of the changes.

“This plan involves the redesign of a number of existing positions to address contemporary requirements and practices,” she said.

“There are 20 new roles available for these affected regionally-based staff to apply for.

“Affected staff have the first opportunity to apply for these new roles.”

Central West Community Union Alliance convener Joe Maric has called on the state and federal government to put a moratorium on all government redundancies while a jobs’ crisis looms for the central west.

“From the alliance’s point of view the state government recognises there’s a jobs crisis on one hand, but on the other hand they’re cutting jobs,” he said.

“It exacerbates the situation.”

Mr Maric said the restructure would force the farmers who used the department’s research services to rely on the internet for the data they needed.

“They’ve got rid of the research side [of the DPI] and the people linked to that who used to collate the data will be made redundant,” he said.

“The poor old farmers have had the drought ... and now they won’t be able to get the information they need.

“The staff are still hopeful they may be able to get themselves back in on a contract basis.”

Central west region Public Service Association (PSA) organiser Michael Fogarty was unaware of the job cuts when contacted by the Central Western Daily.

But he said a PSA official was meeting with DPI representatives this week, as a major restructure in the IT and communications departments loomed.

“Ultimately it means a loss of public services,” he said.

The DPI’s overarching agency, NSW Trade & Investment, called for tenders last Thursday to further outsource its IT assets to cloud computing allowing it to “reduce its reliance on managing its own infrastructure”.

The department’s current IT services are managed and maintained independently in each department, but the tender seeks to consolidate and rationalise the services into datacentres at Orange and Maitland, according to tender documents.

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