Council cuts are vital
Wednesday, 11th June, 2014
By Andrew Robertson
City Council could no longer put off the painful cuts being made to its workforce, according to deputy mayor Marion Browne.
Cr Browne said Council’s future financial position would only become more dire if a decision to reduce jobs was not done now.
Almost 20 positions could go as part of the shake-up which mostly affects staff employed in Council’s administrative building.
The United Services Union (USU) has claimed some staff have also been told that if they do not accept lower paid positions they will have “no job and no redundancy”.
USU industrial officer Greg Golledge said he would be disappointed if Labor councillors knew about the changes and did not oppose them.
But Cr Browne said yesterday that councillors were left with little alternative.
She said the need for change was obvious to anybody who read the last quarterly budget review which showed an increase in the forecast budget deficit, which was now almost $7 million.
“I think everyone is pretty much aware of the real financial situation Council is in,” she said.
“We don’t want to get in a situation where Council doesn’t have enough money to pay (staff) entitlements.
“So at least with the process we’ve endorsed there’s real consultation with staff and a determination to do everything right so that people get entitlements if they are redeployed.”
The Labour councillor said the need for change had been a long time coming.
She said back in the 1990s Council had received advice that it would be facing some tough decisions due to a shrinking rate base and rising costs.
While Council’s revenue has been steadily shrinking so too has residents’ capacity to pay, Cr Browne said.
“This has really been a long time coming, and I think this council is actually trying to make some difficult decisions.”
General manager Therese Manns has flagged further changes, saying some strategies were needed in other areas of Council, including asset management.
Cr Browne said councillors had not yet discussed cuts to services or assets.
“The aim at the moment is to provide the same services more efficiently,” she said.
“We haven’t looked at it yet, but it not fair to say we wouldn’t look at them next.”
* BDT last week said Cr Browne and fellow Labor councillor Darriea Turley did not return calls about this issue, however it has since been established that they did not receive the calls from the paper.