AS MANY as 17 staff from a workforce of around 60, including several who have worked for the organisation for decades, will lose their jobs at the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) in a restructure the authority is blaming on a significant reduction in funding in the latest State Budget.
The restructure is due to take effect next month. It is a big change for the organisation and means that some employees will be either redeployed or made redundant. A range of support services in the form of employment assistance, training and counselling services will be available for employees affected by the restructure. There will be some new roles in the new structure.
Chief Executive Officer Martin Fuller said no WGCMA offices would be closing at this stage, although there will be job losses across the board and at all levels of the organisation. The CMA looks after water catchments from San Remo to Stratford, with staff at Leongatha, Yarram and Traralgon as well as elsewhere in Gippsland.
Government funding has enabled the WGCMA to successfully complete projects including river improvement works along the upper Latrobe River, the lower Tarwin River and the Powlett River in recent years.
The shift in funding means that the authority’s delivery approach will alter to focus on servicing statutory and planning requirements and high quality project management and delivery across the region rather than on broad scale river health projects. The amount of on-ground project work and the CMA’s ability to respond to landholders in the next financial year will be limited.
Mr Fuller said that the CMA will need to pursue a new delivery model which will involve contracting out work a lot more than has been the case in the past.
The WGCMA receives the majority of its funding from state and federal government program initiatives. The state government provides some base level support as well as funding for specific programs such as increasing biodiversity, statutory planning and catchment works. Federal government funding is largely through the Caring for Our Country program, whose current round finishes at the end of June 2013.