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More jobs needed in the bush

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018

Barwon candidates for next year’s election (from left) Labor’s Darriea Turley, Greens’ Eve-lyn Kennedy and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Roy Butler with secretary of the NSW PSA Stewart Little. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Barwon candidates for next year’s election (from left) Labor’s Darriea Turley, Greens’ Eve-lyn Kennedy and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Roy Butler with secretary of the NSW PSA Stewart Little. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

A community forum was held last night, with public sector issues such as job cuts and privatisation the hot topic as Barwon candidates took questions and pitched their policies.

Hosted by the New South Wales Public Service Association (PSA), Barwon candidates Darriea Turley, Roy Butler and Eve-lyn Kennedy spoke on a number of issues during the meeting at the Trades Hall.

All three candidates were particularly critical of the state government’s move to centralise public service jobs in areas such as Sydney and Dubbo, with communities like Broken Hill often being neglected.

In her opening statement Labor’s candidate Darriea Turley spoke about “keeping jobs in the bush” and filling empty roles.

“This government was elected on a decentralisation policy about taking jobs to the bush,” she said after the meeting.

“We need to have a structured plan to reinstate those positions. 

“What it means by not having these positions in Broken Hill and across Barwon is that we don’t have these services that the community deserves.

“They’re all ratepayers, they should get the same services a capital city does and yet somehow this government continues to get its priorities wrong.”

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Roy Butler said the priority should be to “decentralise positions back into regional centres, and make them more attractive for communities”.

He said after the meeting that maintaining or moving public sector services and jobs to regional centres could be done; particularly in a more technologically-driven world. 

“Technology has made it possible to do things that weren’t possible before,” he said.

“I can use the example of what we used to call the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) which is now called the RMS (Roads and maritime Service), which is based in Parkes. 

“Now there’s an example of moving something to Sydney to a regional community. 

“If we’re dropping a million dollars on rents in Sydney we can get the same thing out here for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. 

“That’s creating public value because that’s eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars which is able to go into services and go into making our communities better places to live.”

The Greens’ candidate Eve-lyn Kennedy echoed the other candidates’ concerns in her opening speech as well, stating the need to keep local government jobs within local hands.

Throughout the meeting she also addressed community concerns regarding a capped 2.5% consumer price index increase within the public sector which she feels is inadequate when weighed against rising costs of living.

“We need to look at the cost of living,” Ms Kennedy said.

“We’re becoming accustomed to people being in two jobs now.”

Community questions around changes to workers compensation for correctional services officers under the current government, privatisation of state assets and cuts to national parks jobs were brought up throughout the meeting as well.

Secretary of the New South Wales PSA Stewart Little welcomed the discussion and community input.

“The current government have cut seventy billion in public sector assets and jobs,” Mr Little said.

“We’ll be campaigning in respect to the jobs that we’ve seen cut during the forthcoming election.”

The Nationals’ candidate Andrew Schier could not attend due to prior commitments.

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