Challenge issued to Northe

The public services union secretary has challenged State Member for Morwell Russell Northe to pressure his government to ensure local child protection services are not affected by looming job cuts to the public sector.

This comes after a letter received by Community and Public Sector Union Victorian branch secretary Karen Batt last week, detailed the government’s intention to slash 500 jobs from the Department of Human Services, as part of its plans to roll back 3600 jobs in the public service sector.

While Mr Northe said he was “confident” Latrobe Valley’s frontline child protection services would not be affected, he said he was not across any further details, which would be finalised over the next couple of months.

“There’s been no announcement in regards to any jobs losses to Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley, but I haven’t seen any details … how this plays out, I don’t know the answer yet,” Mr Northe said.

“My understanding is those positions would be out of head office in town … there is a very clear message from this; no frontline services will be impacted.”

However, Ms Batt said any cuts to administration would ultimately affect the front line, and that child protection in fact required more administrative roles to ensure front line workers jobs were not pulled away to perform data-entry duties.

“It’s interesting the local member doesn’t know about what’s going to happen in his local electorate; he should know what the ramifications are for job losses in their local area,” she said.