On 18 September 2023, the Deputy Secretary, Biodiversity, Conservation and Science briefed the PSA and Professionals Australia unions on a restructure occurring in the Community Engagement and Nature Positive Farming: Biodiversity, Conservation and Science Directorate.
On 19 September, the PSA was provided a Change Management Plan (CMP) outlining the impact of the NSW State Budget upon the Community Engagement resourcing and Nature Positive Farming (NPF) program within the Biodiversity, Conservation and Science (BCS) Directorate, and provides a framework for management of the proposed change.
The PSA was advised the Budget will contain savings measures that will impact upon both the Community Engagement and NPF workforce within BCS, namely:
- the four-year deferral of the NPF program
- the cessation of funding for the Community Engagement resourcing that are not funded by or embedded in specific programs.
This will impact employees in the following branches:
- Threatened Species and Ecosystems
- Natural Capital, Economy
- Science Strategy and Impact
- Greater Sydney Branch
- South-East Branch
- Hunter Central Coast Branch
- North-East Branch
- South West Branch.
The previous government committed $206.2 million over 10 years to the NPF program to improve biodiversity outcomes on their land, while maintaining or enhancing productive land use. The Government has decided to defer this program for four years. This decision will remove funding for the NPF program over this four-year period, including funding for the associated NPF positions.
The PSA was also advised, as part of the Budget, the Government has decided to remove funding for Community Engagement positions across BCS that are not funded by, or embedded in specific programs that are no longer funded.
The impact of this restructure will be the deletion of 38 roles, 18 ongoing, 10 temporary and vacancies.
The unions were advised that the agency will attempt to redeploy the impacted employees into suitable existing funded roles across the Environment and Heritage Group.
The PSA is extremely disappointed with the government’s decision to withdraw funding from these two vital programs directly impacting 28 employees.
The PSA will meet affected members as a matter of urgency to discuss our position on this announcement.
Please await further meeting details from the PSA.