Baw Baw proposes job cuts

More than 30 council employees at Baw Baw Shire could be made redundant in a major restructure announced to staff last week.

Chief executive Helen Anstis said in an open letter to staff the proposed restructure, which could see up to 12 positions shed in the planning department alone, was part of a move to improve local government efficiencies and productivity in a “tight economic climate”. The letter also mentioned council’s upcoming relocation of headquarters to Drouin as an opportunity to be “maximised” upon.

“We need to look at all the services we provide, how we provide them, and ensuring we are best placed to provide them,” Ms Anstis said.

“We have not made these decisions lightly. I have made myself available to talk to you, as have the directors… I thank those staff who have actively participated in these well-rounded and robust discussions.”

However the Australian Services Union has accused the council of springing the news onto staff without adequate consultation.

“It’s evident that unemployment in the area is high and it will clearly be difficult for those made redundant to find alternate means of employment,” ASU branch secretary Richard Duffy said.

“Management fought long and hard to offer staff a 2.7 per cent pay rise in the last enterprise agreement, to which staff agreed to on the basis that their jobs were secure and sustainable.”

It is understood council is still consulting staff over the proposal which is yet to be finalised.

The ASU is due to meet with Ms Anstis on Wednesday to discuss the proposed restructure, after which the union will hold a mass member meeting.