10 April 2024

Over 100 jobs cut by the Department of Regional NSW in shock announcement

| James Day
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The Department of Regional NSW provides the state government with advice to enhance the liveability of regional and rural communities. Photo: Yass Valley Council.

Over 100 individuals working at the Department of Regional NSW were shocked when they were told at an all-staff meeting last week that their service would no longer be required.

The department said the announcement is part of a proposed agency restructure, which has already been approved by its Secretary Rebecca Fox. Staff have been asked to provide feedback on the plan by 18 April.

AAP was told some temporary staff were unaware they would not be able to finish their contracts until hours after the meeting on 4 April, when circulating slides detailed 31 May as the last day for 69 “delimited” temporary positions.

One temporary staff member told AAP their contract was originally due to finish in June, but under the proposed plan, they’re worried about having less time to find new employment.

“Those four weeks for me can mean the difference between getting a job and being homeless with my kids,” the anonymous staffer told AAP.

“We’re devastated and they don’t seem to care.”

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Ms Fox kicked off the restructure in January when she let go of Scott Hansen, who was two months off a decade-long stint as the director-general of the Department of Primary Industries.

In the following month, Johanna Kempff also left as Secretary of the Department of Regional NSW’s Departmental Committee. The state’s Public Service Association advised its members last week that vacancies remain open for several electorates on the Committee, for which nominations close on 12 April.

Under the department’s plan, 37 ongoing roles would go, and some permanent staff would either be redeployed or reassigned. However, it also proposes creating 27 new roles, of which 11 would be ongoing.

A departmental spokeswoman told AAP that the department was committed to a comprehensive consultation process and that no final decisions had been made.

She states the proposed changes were consistent with reductions in executive staff and focused on ensuring the department operated within its budget.

“The Department of Regional NSW is committed to delivering improved social and economic outcomes for people living and working in regional NSW,” said the spokeswoman.

“The majority of proposed changes are to temporary roles that are funded by temporary program funding.”

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NSW Nationals Leader Dugald Saunders said the announcement was a kick in the guts to every single resident living in the bush.

“The work the Department does is immeasurable in giving our local communities the voice they need and deserve,” stated Mr Saunders in a Facebook post this morning (10 April).

“One of the proudest achievements of the former Liberal and Nationals Government was putting the people of regional NSW at the forefront of decision-making by establishing a department to solely support them.

“Time and time again, the Minns Labor Government has shown they don’t care about anyone who lives outside of the city and this decision confirms that.”

Original Article published by James Day on PS News.

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