September 18, 2013  |  Adjournment

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.