Claims that sweeping job cuts to the north coast public service include nursing, teaching and police positions are unfounded according to Lismore MP Thomas George. But he has backed away from committing there would be no cuts in future.
The NSW Public Service Association (PSA) said this week that nearly 900 north coast jobs – including the previously exempt frontline services – were at risk.
The O’Farrell government has committed to axe 15,000 public service positions across NSW but promised that teachers, nurses, police and emergency services workers were exempt.
Mr George said he hadn’t heard of any frontline job cuts on the north coast and accused the PSA of ‘continually slamming’ the government.
‘The reality is we’ve been improving frontline services and as a matter of fact we’ve added positions there,’ Mr George told Echonetdaily.
When pushed to promise there would be no cuts to local frontline jobs on the north coast, Mr George deferred to the government’s position.
‘If the government has given that response then that’s it – I’m part of the government.’
The PSA has accused the government of being cagey about where the flagged cuts will occur saying it has obtained electorate-by-electorate job-cut figures and believes the numbers don’t stack up when compared to available workplaces.
PSA Far North Coast regional organiser John Campbell said local MPs needed to ‘sit up and take note’ of the cuts being rolled out in their electorates.
‘(They) need to come clean on the cuts or take the fight to Macquarie Street to save those jobs,’ Mr Campbell said.
‘There is no community in NSW immune to the government’s job cuts with areas that absolutely can’t afford to lose jobs among the hardest hit.’
Mr Campbell said the union’s modelling indicated that 6000 of the 15,000 jobs would come from regional NSW where the impact would be much worse than metropolitan regions.
‘Public service workers are everywhere managing our national parks, supporting students in TAFEs and schools, ensuring exotic pests don’t compromise our food and running our prisons,’ Mr Campbell said.
‘You can’t cut 15,000 of them without hitting service delivery and local economies across the state.’