Regional Development Phase 2 – Award Based Reform & Cuts, Cuts, Cuts - Public Service Association

Regional Development Phase 2 – Award Based Reform & Cuts, Cuts, Cuts

Department Regional NSW (DRNSW) members have been waiting nervously for the Award-based reform of the Regional Development Directorate. The finances for the Division took a significant hit in the first budget of the new Government and that has continued into the next financial year.

Phase 1 reform involved a spill of the Senior Executive Service and an initial appointment of only 15 of the available 27 staff into the 19 identified ongoing SES roles. Two SES roles remain unfilled but subject to recruitment.

Phase 2 of this proposed reform relates to the Award based roles under the new Senior Executive Service structures. With budget reductions in the vicinity of $650 million, the proposed cuts will affect all areas of Regional Development. DRNSW has already flagged a significant budgetary shortfall in labour expenses for 2024-25.

What’s In the Proposed Reform?

The proposed reform affects a number of business units including Regional Coordination & Delivery: Regional Programs & Partnerships: Group Operations & Strategy: and Contracting Grants Management & Compliance.

Phase 2 is subject to a Change Management Plan (CMP) that provides a rationale for the change and outlines the cutting of 106 roles (37 ongoing and 69 temporary) and the creation of 27 (11 ongoing and 16 temporary). The proposed cuts are a net reduction of some 79 roles.

What Are the Initial PSA Concerns?

Regional Development grew from a small group in 2017 to over 500 staff prior to March 2023. This was mainly driven by the need to support the delivery of the former government’s Regional Growth Fund and substantial disaster recovery grants programs that totaled nearly $5 billion. This proposed reform is a significant reduction in capacity at a time where DRNSW has had to internalize costs associated to the Regional Growth Funds.

Your union has put the following questions to the department:

Whilst there are applications made by DRNSW for new money with NSW Government and Treasury, how much if any will be approved?

Will DRNSW lose suitably qualified and experienced staff before 30 June not able to wait for NSW Government and Treasury decisions on funding?

Will this address any labour expense shortfall or provide for continued employment for the critical work Regional Development staff undertake into the future?

What will be the impacts of job losses in regional locations?

What work has been done to identify workload pressures and what doesn’t get done due to the budgetary reductions?

If/when natural disasters eventuate, will DRNSW have the experienced and skilled cohort of staff to administer disaster funding and coordination in a transparent and expeditious manner to regional businesses and suffering communities?

We want to hear from you – PSA Member Meetings

It is important that the staff and unions are involved in the consultation process as this proposed reform is the first of this magnitude since the inception of this new Government.

Be on the lookout for PSA representatives in your workplaces and online meetings which will be scheduled over the coming weeks.

Not a member? It’s time you joined.

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