Cansdell denies RTA jobs to go
CONCERNS have been raised by independent candidate for Clarence, Richie Williamson, that the NSW Coalition’s plan to review operations and costs of the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), should it be voted into government, could land local RTA jobs on the chopping block.
Mr Williamson said he heard opposition leader Barry O’Farrell speaking on a Sydney radio station yesterday where he outlined plans to cut costs from the RTA.
“I heard on the radio that one of the areas that he is proposing to save money is targeting job cuts at the RTA – he didn’t say what departments, but he did say that there would be a review of the RTA with the possibility of saving money in the budget there,” Mr Williamson said.
Mr Williamson said his concern was some of these jobs would be from the Clarence Valley, which has a strong RTA presence.
“My concern obviously is that the RTA might not be the number one employer in town but it’s close and what effect would that [local job losses] have on our economy?”
The prospect of RTA operations being reviewed under a NSW Coalition Government was also raised by Opposition Roads Spokesman, Andrew Stoner who told Channel Seven News on Tuesday night there needed to be major changes throughout the department.
“I have sent a message to the RTA, they are on notice, the culture has to change,” Mr Stoner told Channel Seven.
In a release yesterday, Mini ster for Roads David Borger said Mr Stoner’s comments proved RTA jobs were in the firing line and would be the first of many public-sector jobs he said would be axed under a Coalition state government.
However Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell said the concerns of Mr Williamson and the NSW Labor Party were “nothing more than scare-mongering”, and RTA jobs in the Clarence Valley and other regional centres were in no danger of being axed under a Coalition state government.
“The only jobs ever talked about have been back-room city jobs. We’ve always said country public service jobs would be quarantined,” Mr Cansdell said.
“As soon as you start talking about improving service delivery or looking at ways to get better results, the scaremongers or dooms-dayers want to get out and talk about job cuts. It’s not on the agenda, it has not been mentioned, and when it has in the past we’ve always said rural and regional public-sector jobs, which are the front-line sector, are well and truly protected.”
Mr Cansdell said he agreed the RTA’s operations needed to be reviewed, but said claims which automatically equated the review process with state-wide job cuts “were clutching at straws”.
“I think any department needs to be looked at, if it can be operated better, if there’s a better way to operate or a more productive way, well let’s have a look at it,” he said.