A state government policy to move 100 public service jobs to the North and North-West is "very unpopular" among staff working in the Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Department, a survey has found.
About a quarter of all DPIPWE employees responded to the Community and Public Sector Union survey, which was conducted between October and November this year.
The survey results were sent to CPSU members last Wednesday. They concluded that DPIPWE staff blamed the Northern recruitment policy, which the government took to the 2018 state election, for "inefficiencies and lack of career prospects".
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"The policy has been poorly executed," one survey response read. "It ignores the human impact of this policy, where workers have lives and families in the South that they will have to give up."
Earlier this month, Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett confirmed in a budget estimates hearing that as at March 31, 2020, 53 of the promised 100 DPIPWE positions in the North and North-West had been filled.
"Why not have 100 of our [staff] close to the stakeholders, close to the industry, understanding their needs, responding to their concerns?" he said at the time.
In the same hearing, DPIPWE secretary Tim Baker said the department was "on track" to fill all 100 positions and had "done some capital work ... to enable the growth".
But CPSU Tasmania assistant secretary Thirza White is calling on the government to scrap the policy, which she said had been "dreamt up by politicians, not by the experts who advise them".
"It hurts families, and there are far better ways to revitalise employment in regional Tasmania," she said.
"If your job changes under the policy you're forced to uproot and move your family to keep your job. The reality is that forcing staff to take their kids out of schools, ask their partner to give up their job and move away from friends and family can have a huge emotional toll.
There are far better ways to revitalise employment in regional Tasmania.Thirza White, CPSU assistant state secretary
"The survey results show that jobs are simply being left vacant or filled on fixed term contracts as a loophole, increasing workloads for some and job insecurity for many more.
"It's time we scrapped the Northern recruitment policy and advertise all suitable jobs statewide."
Addressing the media in Launceston on Monday, Premier Peter Gutwein said he hadn't yet seen the survey and so wasn't in a position to comment on it. "But I would say that DPIPWE staff right across the state ... have done a fantastic job this year in terms of their work with Biosecurity [Tasmania] and their work at our borders and I want to thank them for that," he said.
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