THIRTY-SIX Orange jobs have been created in a shakeup of NSW Trade and Investment, however, staff of the Catchment Management Authority (CMA), and Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) fear losing their jobs in a departmental amalgamation.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said the new jobs would be based at the department’s Kite Street office.
However, opposition spokesman for primary industries Steve Whan said CMA and LHPA employees in Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo, Molong, Wellington, Coonamble and Nyngan, and the farmers who rely on their advice, have been delivered a blow.
“This is about cost cutting by the O’Farrell government without any consideration for producers who rely on these extension officers,” he said.
However Mr Gee said the LHPA had a checkered history.
“We have had a lot of complaints and there is no doubt there is some overlapping in the CMA and the LHPA and this new model should prove to be more efficient,” he said.
Mr Gee remains upbeat about the spin-offs for Orange in creating the new jobs.
“Recruitment will begin shortly to fill roles in the key areas of property management, recruitment, finance management, fleet management, strategic procurement and other internal service functions,” he said.
Mr Whan says he will work to find out the future of extensions officers throughout the central and far west who may lose their jobs.
“I have no doubt that we will also see offices close,” he said.
“I think these changes to the structure of the delivery of advice and support in rural areas is appalling. This is just a further erosion of the services being provided in rural areas.”
Mr Gee said the latest changes meant more than 500 DPI and Trade and Investment staff would work out of the Kite Street office.
“Jobs in this economic climate are not easy to come by and it took quite a bit of lobbying,” he said.