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Extra funding takes sting out but DOC job losses hit hard


7 May 2013

Extra funding takes sting out but DOC job losses will still hit hard

The Public Service Association says while it is disappointed that the Department of Conservation is moving ahead with a major restructure, a last-minute funding boost has taken the sting out of planned job losses.

DOC has made significant changes on its initial restructuring proposal following a budget top-up of $20 million over the next four years. The extra money means the number of job losses has been scaled down from around 140 to 72.

The PSA represents more than 1400 DOC staff.

“The eleventh-hour funding allocation has certainly allowed DOC to soften its original proposal but you have to wonder why, when the government is giving over $150 million to tourism, it can’t give DOC an even bigger boost which would stop job cuts altogether,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

The PSA says many staff will be pleased to see that in reshaping its initial proposal, DOC has responded to some concerns highlighted in staff submissions and feedback.

Brenda Pilott says “there was a lot of concern that public access at a number of visitor centres and smaller offices would be restricted by job cuts so it’s good to see a number of administration and support positions being reinstated.”

The PSA believes while extra funding has allowed DOC to inoculate the worst of its restructuring plan in terms of job loss, the impact will still be heavily felt in the regions and the effect on its operational capacity remains unclear.

“It’s important to remember that 72 jobs are still going and some regional communities in a number of areas such as the West Coast and Otago will be especially hard hit by this,” Brenda Pilott says.

The PSA has written to the Minister of Conservation expressing fundamental concern about the direction of the restructure and the new organisational structure being put in place.

It will be working with DOC over the coming months to help affected staff make decisions about their future.

ends

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