Re: Negative impact of restructuring of the National Parks and Wildlife Service
Dear Ms Berejikian,
We are writing to express our concerns over the effects of the restructuring currently going on in our National Parks and Wildlife Service which has resulted in a massive reduction in the actual on-ground funding over the past 10 years (NST article in the North Shore Times 22 Feb 2018). Through this restructure, many staff members are being made redundant, or being made to re-apply for their jobs with lower pay. The number of NPWS areas is also being reduced from 50 to 37. Managers are being expected to look after thousands of hectares with virtually no additional staff. The Lane Cove National Park manager once looked after 675ha, now administers 18,000ha.
These cuts are leading to a range of problems such as fewer toilets, less mowing, a shrinking maintenance budget and insufficient funds for bush regeneration.” (NST article in the North Shore Times 22 Feb 2018)
The Public Service Association has indicated this means the loss of hundreds of years of experience in fire management. (With NSW feeling the effects of climate change, managing fire risk is even more important than ever before –not a time to be cutting experienced staff in this area.)
The restructuring measures have negative implications not only for fire management but for visitor safety, maintenance of cultural heritage sites and weed and feral animal management.
The Government claims it is increasing jobs in NPWS, but in reality these jobs will be at a lower pay level, with lower or minimal skill requirements, and created at the cost of demotions, redundancies, resignations and attrition of more highly skilled and experienced staff. We do not accept the Office of Environment and Heritage spokesman’s argument (see NST article in the North Shore Times Feb 22 2018) that such measures redress the balance of junior and senior roles. This would not be acceptable in other areas e.g. medicine. (Would anyone like to have a nurse perform their operation?)
As National Parks in NSW attract millions of visitors each year and are important natural places for future generations, we urge you to reverse the current policy on reduction of staff and employ experienced staff in roles commensurate with their skills and experience.
The above letter was approved for distribution at the March meeting of the Association.