18 C
Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Whan predicts regional sackings in DPI reshuffle

Latest News

Join Clarkes Beach paddle out this weekend to stop massive oil and gas field project

Hundreds of local surfers and water-lovers will paddle out at Clarke’s Beach over the weekend to protest against a massive oil and gas field proposed for the NSW coast.

Other News

An operetta and children’s theatre for NORPA

NOPRA has announced recipients of the theatre company’s two artist residencies.

Come and try basketball in Byron

The next generation of female basketball players, with coordinator Karen Irwin, turned up to a ‘come and try day’...

Houses without smoke detectors very alarming

Fire & Rescue NSW is always busy and the nation-wide fires in recent years have highlighted the importance and value of our firefighters.

Upside down river

Tim Harrington, Lennox Head Letter contributor Richard White (letters 21/4/21) quite correctly identifies the Richmond River as an ‘upside down river’...

Honouring midwives on their International day

Many of us have a midwife to thank for our safe arrival from the womb, these specialised 'catching' hands are a blessing to both mum and bub in hospitals and in the home.

Kingscliff man charged over rape allegations

Tweed Byron police have arrested a 35-year-old Kingscliff man over rape allegations.

Shadow minister for primary industries, Steve Whan, says the O’Farrell government’s decision to amalgamate livestock health and pest authorities (LHPA), catchment management authorities (CMA) and agricultural extension services is about massive job cuts in rural NSW, office closures and, in the longer term, the likely removal of vital agricultural extension services.

The LHPA, which has come under fire from local landowners for lacking accountability and imposing unreasonable fees, currently operates an office in Lismore that would most likely be closed under the proposed changes.

In what he described as ‘a confused performance’ on ABC’s Country Hour yesterday, Mr Whan said the minister ‘was completely unable to hide the fact that these changes are all about cutting jobs and funding to rural NSW’.

Mr Whan added that ‘hundreds of jobs and dozens of offices’ were threatened.

‘This is in direct breach of the promise made before the election that there would be no jobs cut from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and no offices closed. The promised decade of decentralisation now lies in tatters with, the Nationals embarking on the biggest centralisation in DPI history.

‘It is a real concern that the minister, after 18 months planning these changes and several previous reports, has been unable to provide any detail on the new structures, jobs or delivery models.

‘In another cowardly attempt to further distance herself from cuts, the minister shifted off to yet another committee the decisions on even fundamental issues like the boundaries of the new bodies.

‘Local representation is another key issue. Who will elect board members, who will pay rates? The agenda of LHPA ratepayers is not necessarily the same as for CMAs or more broadly for DPI.

‘I am not opposed to considered change to the LHPA model, but it has to be based on better service, not no service. I am greatly concerned about the idea of rolling extension officers into these new agencies. Will they go from being permanent government employees to contractors? Will they be expected to source funds from industry bodies to continue their vital work? All unanswered questions.

‘The minister says ratepayers will not have to pay unnecessary fees and she quoted locust levies. Does this mean leaving farmers in locust-affected areas with an unmanageable burden or is she committing to give the sort of extra funding provided by Labor in the last plague?

‘Critically for our whole state, there is nothing in these plans that talks about how we respond to major animal and plant emergencies. The minister is breaking down the network that responded to the equine influenza outbreak and which would be the first line of defence against devastating threats like foot and mouth disease.

‘There are many questions left unanswered and we can have little confidence that this minister will get the answers right.’

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Man dead after boat capsizes near Yamba

Police say a man has died and a second has been taken to hospital after a boat capsized south of Yamba this morning.

Jonson Street bus shelter gone and an era ended

Byron Shire Council says that the wooden bus shelter on Jonson Street outside the Byron Visitors Centre is being removed today with all bus services operating from the new bus interchange on Butler Street in Byron Bay

Upside down river

Tim Harrington, Lennox Head Letter contributor Richard White (letters 21/4/21) quite correctly identifies the Richmond River as an ‘upside down river’ and nowhere is this more...

Ballina Dragons’ great results at Urunga

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is a group of paddling people from all walks of life who enjoy being out on the water having fun and keeping fit.