Traralgon ASIC in govt crosshairs

Widespread job security anxiety among Canberra bureaucrats has spread to Traralgon, where the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s registry arm has been targeted for privatisation.

A $12 million “scoping” study into the sale of ASIC’s registry service was announced in Tuesday’s federal budget.

A source within ASIC’s Traralgon office said the workplace was “understandably concerned” for their future, as the registry was “almost exclusively” run from the Traralgon arm of the business, where about 270 people were employed.

The study comes alongside a projected cull of public sector jobs to the tune of 16,500 over the next three years by the Abbott Government.

The source said ASIC chair Greg Medcraft had “repeatedly lied to ASIC staff” by denying privatisation plans for “any part of ASIC”, despite floating the idea at a Senate inquiry into ASIC’s performance earlier this year.

The scoping study comes after an efficiency drive at the operation in recent months, which according to the source, saw the Traralgon workforce reduce from more than 300, through natural attrition and about 30 voluntary redundancies.

Community and Public Sector Union deputy national president Alistair Waters said the union had contacted members on site, who were highly concerned about potential job cuts.

“At the moment there is nothing in the government’s decision that guarantees workers stay in Traralgon or in the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Waters said.

“Privatisation of a monopoly organisation is bad public policy – when every business in Australia needs to operate through this service, it is dangerous to transfer everyone’s obligations to a single private provider.”

An ASIC spokesperson did not respond for comment.