Ballarat Job Losses
I raise an issue for the action of the Premier. The action I seek is that the Premier publicly reveal how many state government jobs have been made redundant so far in Ballarat and the Grampians region as a result of cuts made under the Napthine government’s so-called sustainable government program. I raise this issue with the Premier because, as has already been raised by the member for Ballarat West tonight, job losses in the Ballarat region are our no. 1 concern.
According to local sources, including the Community and Public Sector Union, more than 400 public service jobs have been axed in Ballarat and the Grampians region by this government.
Those job losses were across many sectors, from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries right through to Parks Victoria, Victoria Police and the courts, and the list goes on.
These losses happened quietly in comparison to the much-publicised job losses at key Ballarat employers such as IBM, Telstra, SEM Fire and Rescue and UGL. The state government buildings in Mair Street and Armstrong Street have witnessed a large number of job cuts and corresponding cuts to the services offered to the people of our region. Many of those jobs are gone because of the amalgamation of services in the Grampians region with services in the Barwon and western Melbourne regions, which has seen many more services being run out of Footscray rather than locally in Ballarat.
When the government axes the jobs of, for example, support staff for police, it is in effect putting police back behind the desks to do the paperwork. The sustainable government initiative was launched by the coalition government to cut the government’s full-time head count by 3600 public servants statewide, although the Community and Public Sector Union says the figure is closer to 5500 jobs, with over 400 lost in Ballarat and the Grampians region. The departmental efficiency dividend has now also been increased in the budget to 2.5 per cent, putting even more pressure on state government support services already cut to the bone.
These cuts were widespread and are hurting Ballarat. The direct actions of this government have seen more people out of work, with less support available for people needing assistance in our region.
In addition to the sustainable government job cuts, we have seen $20 million cut from the University of Ballarat TAFE. We have also seen cuts to preventive health, public housing and advocacy services that are providing services to the most vulnerable in our community. The government says that it is committed to job creation in Ballarat, but this just does not ring true when you see the record of this government as an employer. Given that this government came to power in 2010 on a promise of transparency, I call on the Premier to tell us exactly how many jobs this government has cut in our region.