Country Labor’s Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Vietch has used a visit to PRIMEX at Casino to call on the government to deliver increased funding to Local Land Services in regional NSW.
Mr Vietch said LSS was at a crossroads, which only the upcoming state budget could resolve.
‘The upcoming state budget will be a real sign on whether the organisation can survive or collapse under the combined weight of diminished resources and increased workload.’
‘LLS has struggled to meet the substantial expectations of government since its very inception. It has operated in an environment where job cuts and restricted resourcing has hindered any desire or ability to complete the tasks set by government.
‘I really feel for the employees of LLS – all good people doing their best in trying and difficult circumstances,’ he said.
‘Yet even current and former board members are speaking out against these cuts. Front line staff numbers have been slashed while more and more money goes on corporate services.’
Mr Vietch said that given the additional responsibilities placed on LLS through the biodiversity and biosecurity reforms, a significant boost to funding is needed.
‘This budget must deliver real funding, not simply be a cynical exercise in restoring funding previously cut by this government.
‘LLS is already starting from a weak financial position. Minister Niall Blair inherited LLS as a junior minister; he is now the second most senior National Party MP in NSW.
‘And in the Northern Rivers it seems that local National Party politicians are pretending that there will be a big boost to funding.
‘Local rural industry participants are not fooled by this ‘card shark’ shufflng,’ Mr Vietch said.
This budget is a real test for the minister and whether he can deliver the funds needed by LLS to carry out its ever-increasing role.