The O’Farrell-Stoner government yesterday confirmed major job losses as part of the amalgamation of Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA), Catchment Management authorities (CMA) and Primary Industries extension services.
Under questioning from the NSW Labor opposition during a budget estimates hearing yesterday, primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson finally acknowledged that more than 1,900 people are employed in the areas subject to amalgamation; she confirmed that jobs would go, but would not say how many.
‘Primary industries workers have every right to be extremely worried by the minister’s refusal to guarantee the future of their jobs in budget estimates yesterday,’ shadow minister for primary industries, Steve Whan, said.
‘The amalgamation of these vital services is yet another decision by minister Hodgkinson that will see massive job cuts in regional NSW.
‘To make matters worse, the minister was embarrassingly unprepared and unable to answer the most basic questions about her plan to amalgamate vital primary industries services.’
Mr Whan said the minister was unable to answer: how many offices would close; how many staff would be sacked; how the new boards would be elected; who would get to vote for the boards and how much the process would cost; and how major biosecurity threats would be funded and what the future funding would be for major pest campaigns, such as coordinated campaigns against locust plagues.