Union slams job losses

At least 30 jobs to go at gun reg­istry

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Rick Koenig rick.koenig@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

UNION rep­re­sen­ta­tives have slammed a de­ci­sion to slash one third of staff at the Mur­willum­bah Firearms Reg­istry.

Reg­istry staff were told at a meet­ing last month that 15 work­ers would not have their con­tracts re­newed at the end of June, with another 15 to go in the near fu­ture.

It is un­der­stood the job cuts come af­ter a $20 mil­lion blow-out in the cost of a new on­line ap­pli­ca­tion ser­vice for firearm own­ers, which is being de­vel­oped by Ser­vice NSW.

The Public Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW met with staff in Mur­willum­bah on Thurs­day and de­manded man­age­ment ex­plain the rea­son be­hind the job cuts.

Gen­eral sec­re­tary Ste­wart Lit­tle said the job losses would have a “huge im­pact on the lo­cal econ­omy”.

“The whole point of mov­ing the reg­istry to North­ern NSW was to stim­u­late the lo­cal econ­omy and cre­ate work op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Mr Lit­tle said.

He said work­ers were con­cerned the cuts could also af­fect the ac­cu­racy of in­for­ma­tion held by the reg­istry.

“In­evitably, the ac­cu­racy of in­for­ma­tion held by the reg­istry will be com­pro­mised, which will lead to in­creased dan­ger for both po­lice of­fi­cers and the broader com­mu­nity,” he said.

“Na­tional Party MPS Thomas Ge­orge and Ge­off Provest need to stand up for their com­mu­ni­ties and en­sure this dis­grace­ful and dan­ger­ous de­ci­sion is re­versed.”

A source from within the reg­istry, who asked not to be named, said the loss of jobs had left the fu­ture of many fam­i­lies “up in the air”.

“There’s go­ing to be an ex­tra 20-40 peo­ple who will be ap­ply­ing for po­si­tions in an area where jobs are few and far be­tween,” they said.

They said staff had been forced to work on short-term con­tracts which were pre­vi­ously re­newed on a monthly ba­sis.

They said there was al­ready a huge back­log of work with “hun­dreds” of per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions sit­ting around be­cause “they’re not re­plac­ing staff that are leav­ing”.

The news comes af­ter Lismore MP Thomas Ge­orge on Mon­day de­nied any jobs had been cut from the reg­istry.

Mr Ge­orge re­sponded to crit­i­cism by State La­bor can­di­date Craig El­liot by claim­ing “the NSW Po­lice Force has con­firmed no jobs have been lost at the Firearms Reg­istry in Mur­willum­bah”.

In a let­ter to Mr Ge­orge, the PSA in­vited him to meet with reg­istry staff to clar­ify his com­ments, but Mr Ge­orge did not re­spond.

“While we sin­cerely hope that you are cor­rect, your as­ser­tion con­tra­dicts the ad­vice that our mem­bers have been given from reg­istry man­age­ment,” the let­ter read.

CON­CERNED: Public Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW or­gan­iser As­ren Pugh, joined by State La­bor can­di­dates Janelle Saf­fin and Craig El­liot, who met with con­cerned work­ers at the Mur­willum­bah Firearms Reg­istry on Thurs­day. PHOTO: Scott Powick

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