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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Nats MP used ‘weasel words’ to disguise job losses: ALP

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Craig Elliot, ALP candidate for the seat of Tweed at the 2019 state election. Photo supplied

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A vicious war of words has erupted between Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Tweed, Craig Elliot, and the National Party MP for Lismore, Thomas George, over claims 30 jobs are set to go at the Murwillumbah Firearms Registry.

Last week NSW Labor demanded the Nationals ‘come clean’ on plans they claimed would ‘slash a third of the jobs at the facility’.

Labor said some 30 staff had been told that their jobs would be abolished with ‘little consultation’.

Mr Elliot, who is a former police officer, joined ALP Lismore candidate, Janelle Saffin and Shadow North Coast Minister Walt Secord to make the announcement last Thursday.

They said that at a meeting in Murwillumbah the previous Thursday (May 24), 15 workers were given notice and told their jobs would finish at the end of June.

Staff were also told that a further 15 ongoing positions were to be cut in the immediate future, they said.

The trio slammed the ‘secrecy and arrogance of the Berejiklian Government’ over the move and expressed ‘concern about community safety’ as a result of the reduction in staff.

Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George.

Nats deny claims

But yesterday Lismore MP Thomas George hit back at the comments, saying there was ‘no way have there been 30 jobs shed from the organisation, as the Labor Party has alleged’.

‘Once again the Labor Party is adopting fear tactics, without seeking clarification of the facts,’ Mr George said.

‘The NSW Police Force has confirmed NO jobs have been lost at the Firearms Registry in Murwillumbah, contrary to Labor scare mongering.

‘I move to reassure residents that community safety is and always will be priority for the Berejiklian-Barilaro government.

Contract positions

But Mr Elliot has shot back at Mr George, accusing him of resorting to ‘weasel words’ because the positions being lost are contract roles, not full-time government staff.

‘It is deceptive and cruel for Thomas George to now falsely claim that 30 workers employed on contracts at the Firearms Registry have not lost their jobs due to National Party cuts,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘Thomas George should stop hiding behind his tricky weasel words. The fact is 30 workers who are currently employed on full time contracts at the Murwillumbah Firearms Registry have been told their contracts will not be renewed.

‘Of those 30 local workers, 15 have been advised that their contracts will not be renewed at the end of June 2018 and the other 15 have been told their contracts will not be renewed over the coming months.

‘The fact there are so many workers employed on contracts rather than permanent positions is due to the National Party’s unfair changes to the Government Sector Employment Act,’ Mr Elliot said.


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