Richmond Valley Council Chambers
Richmond Valley Council Chambers Northern Star

Richmond Valley Council invests in its workplace

RICHMOND Valley Council has created a mini-employment boom, launching a recruitment campaign for 20 new permanent full-time staff within the last month.

In the single biggest recruitment drive in more than a decade, the council has acted to cut its reliance on pricey labour-hire staff and out-of-shire contractors.

Richmond Valley Council general manager John Walker is dubbing it a "back to the future" strategy, saying it was a proactive response by the council to today's challenging economic climate.

An estimated $4 to $6 million spent annually on contractors outside the local area will be reinjected back into its own operations.

It has recently issued purchase orders for $845,000 worth of vehicles and heavy equipment.

Eleven completely new jobs have been created, from machinery operators, unskilled labourers, and traffic controllers, with at least nine more positions on offer formerly taken by temporary labour-hire employees.

Council will also offer traineeships to two local school-leavers so young people have an opportunity to develop their career there.

Earlier this year Mr Walker, who has been in the job for 18 months, met with staff and local union members concerned about the gradual reduction in workforce and capacity at the council.

Bolstering their argument was some undisputable economic proof.

The council was spending almost $4 million annually on contractors. It spent $400,000 on temporary contractor road crews when it could have had access to its own full-time crew for $180,000.

Mr Walker said it was better to reinvest this money back into the Council's own operations and boost their productivity.

He wanted to restore "confidence and pride" in the work of employees and reward good workers with pay rises and advancement options

He said the expanded works program could also offer extra services for ratepayers at a cheaper price.

United Services Union organiser Craig Chandler led a delegation bringing the matter to Mr Walker's attention alongside outdoor staff Mark Collison and David Attewell.

"I believe it's the right thing," he said.

"There's savings for ratepayers and money going back into the economy and creating local jobs for local people."

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