Friday, 22 June 2012

Public servants gagged

Putty Creek in flood February 2012
In late May I had a dream that I was in a library looking up something to do with coal seam gas and someone approached me to join a meeting. Over 60 people were at the meeting and they were all anti CSG campaigners who worked in the public service and had been told they would lose their jobs if they continued campaigning against it, or they were people without permanent Australian residency and were threatened with deportation.

It was a very vivid dream and at the time I decided it came from my frustration with people who either worked or were consultants in the public service, who were against CSG but would not actively protest because of possible repercussions.

Since then I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about job losses at the NSW Office of Water despite the federal government’s promise of more funding for infrastructure projects.  One can only assume that by reducing staff in this office at this time when so much development is happening that affects our water, it will allow them to keep and employ only pro development staff or those that do not voice an opinion for fear of losing their jobs.

Jobs to go at Office of Water despite $500m funds boost
Louise Schwartzkoff – Sydney Morning Herald
June 11, 2012.

THE state government plans to cut jobs at its water management body, in spite of a federal government promise to pump millions into major water infrastructure projects across NSW.

Last week the NSW Office of Water told staff it would cut 50 jobs. The Public Service Association of NSW believes staff at risk include scientists, planners and policy experts. The announcement follows a round of 17 voluntary redundancies in March.

''They are getting rid of hands-on, on-the-ground people who are responsible for managing programs and working with communities,'' said the assistant general secretary of the PSA, Steve Turner. ''There is a failure to recognise that there are a lot of important frontline workers that aren't necessarily police, nurses or teachers.''

Mr Turner said some of those targeted were specialist staff responsible for implementing the Murray-Darling Basin plan.

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