Loss of jobs could create 'perfect fire storm'
Thursday 10.32am: THE NSW Office of Environment and Heritage said under a restructure Of National Parks and Wildlife, no roles would be lost, just changed.
A spokesperson said: "There are currently 12 full time equivalent (FTE) employees in the town of Kyogle. The restructure will maintain this number of roles, however, the mix of roles will change in order to optimise our capacity to deliver services to meet ongoing and future demands."
The aim of the restructure was to increase the number of field staff across the state, in order to allocate resources where they are needed most, which the Office of OEH said, would allow the organisation to build its capacity for regional service delivery - including fire and pest management and conserving the significant natural and cultural values of national parks.
The spokesperson said there was no reduction to the number of firefighting roles under the current NPWS restructure and these changes would not affect NPWS' capability to conduct hazard reduction activities or respond to emergencies.
NPWS currently has more than 1100 trained firefighters, including specialist remote firefighters.
The future NPWS organisation structure will maintain, and provide opportunities to grow firefighter numbers across the state by increasing the number of field-based roles.
Practical constraints, the spokesperson said, prevent NPWS from undertaking formal consultation with all local councils, however, input from all stakeholders was welcomed and any specific concerns raised would be addressed.
An extensive process of consultation has been undertaken with employees, unions and a number of external stakeholders to ensure the proposed changes will deliver the optimal operating model for the future. These stakeholders include NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Farmers, various conservation and environment bodies, and Aboriginal boards of management
Feedback received by NPWS during consultation has been incorporated into a future operational model.
Thursday 5.00am: KYOGLE Council have moved against the withdrawal of National Park and Wildlife jobs and services.
Their objection came after a motion was passed at Monday night's centre to write a letter to the NSW Minister for Environment, Local Government and Heritage Gabrielle Upton.
Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland said the council was committed to the motion as the withdrawal of jobs could be detrimental to the National Parks survival.
"If you don't have the staff, you have infrastructure that falls into disrepair," Cr Mulholland said.
"When that infrastructure falls into disrepair you lose your tourism."
Cr Mulholland said she was also concerned that a lack of maintenance could create conditions for a "perfect fire storm".
The council said the purpose of the letter was to find out what is actually happening and inform the Minister of their concerns.
"I'd like to see her come back and say this is why we are doing it, and this is how we are going to manage your concerns if we continue to withdrawal the staff."