May 9, 2012

Kyneton DPI Office Closure A Blow to Local Farmers

“The closure of the Kyneton Office of the Department of Primary Industries in Kyneton is a blow to local farmers” local State Member Geoff Howard said this week on the Baillieu Government’s decision to close a number of offices throughout country Victoria.

 “Closing the Kyneton Office removes frontline DPI staff and takes away the Department’s face to face contact with issues in the local area.

 “This is a terrible loss for people living and working in the district who will now have to deal with people in the Epsom Office some 70 kilometres away” Geoff Howard said.

 The Baillieu Government’s decision to shut Department of Primary Industry (DPI) offices will also hurt regional and rural areas that have already been hit with job cuts.

 It’s been revealed the Liberal-National Government will also close DPI offices in Ararat, Birchip, Camperdown, Cobram, Ouyen and St Arnaud.

 Other DPI staff will be shifted from Department of Sustainability and Environment offices in Alexandra, Broadford, Corryong, Edenhope, Heyfield, Mansfield, Orbost, Seymour, Swifts Creek, Traralgon and Wangaratta.

 “Regional Victoria is going backwards under Ted Baillieu and these DPI office closures will just add to the economic woes these areas are already facing,” Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews said.

 “The question the Premier needs to answer is how many jobs will be lost as part of his plan to shut seven DPI offices and relocate other DPI staff.

“When the Minister talks about consolidation we all know that is code for job cuts.

 “These are frontline staff who are often the first point of contact for many local communities so these office closures will have a real impact on regional and rural Victoria.”

 Mr Andrews said the DPI office closures were part of the Baillieu Government’s savage cuts to regional and rural Victoria.

 “Since taking office regional families are seeing a government that is continually turning its back on rural and regional Victoria,” he said.

 “As the Deputy Leader of the National Party and the Minister who is directly responsible for the DPI, Peter Walsh has yet again failed to protect jobs in regional Victoria.

 “Mr Walsh’s comments that his
government was ‘refocusing’ the DPI are an insult to employees and an attempt
by the National Party to rid itself of any responsibility of impending job cuts
to DPI staff.

 “Mr Walsh needs to outline to rural and regional communities how many jobs will go as a result of these DPI office closures?  

 “It is clear the National Party has forgotten the communities that they represent.

 “When will the National Party stand up against their Liberal colleagues and fight hard to protect jobs in regional and rural Victoria?”