Cuts to impact on Parks frontline

A Gippsland-based Parks Victoria ranger has warned State Government moves to cut 10 per cent of its workforce statewide will inevitably impact on frontline parks management practices.

Parks Victoria is currently seeking 60 redundancies in a second voluntary redundancy round, after an initial expression of interest phase in November failed to attract enough applicants due to restricted redundancy package eligibility criteria.

While a Parks Victoria spokesperson has assured the cuts would not impact its fire response role, the Gippsland-based ranger, who wished to remain anonymous, has challenged the spokesperson’s claims front line service delivery would also be unaffected.

“All parks roles are critical, and that work has to be picked up somewhere, which will quite clearly lead us to prioritise our tasks,” the ranger said, adding services would “inevitably” be impacted on the ground.

“We tend to work as a team and we do try to think of ourselves as a team, but we do manage our own parks as individuals, and in many cases, when some of us go, this will definitely limit our capacity to run these parks to the standards they deserve,” the ranger said.

“We’ve already had rangers dropped as part of this program, and we are already noticing the impact that is having, but if the cuts (in Gippsland) go further, we might have to look at what will go next.”

The ranger said track maintenance of longer walking tracks had already begun to slip, some of which were becoming overgrown and endured unrepaired damage.

While the ranger hosed down warnings from the Community and Public Sector Union the cuts would prevent public access and possibly close parks, he said weed and pest control management would most likely be impacted next.

The ranger said a letter distributed to the workforce indicated the renewed EOI stage would end this Friday, with offers to be sent out on 5 July.

“It will mostly be the guys close to retirement who are going to take these packages – national parks are our most wonderful and important places- and a more important emphasis should be placed on them by the government and the public,” he said.