Newly elected mayor Jim Simmons in his council office.
Newly elected mayor Jim Simmons in his council office. Adam Hourigan

NPWS plan to slash jobs and relocate office to Coffs Harbour

THE NSW Government is about to strip 12 jobs in the National Parks and Wildlife Service from the Clarence Valley says a union.

The assistant general secretary of the Public Service Association, Troy Wright, has written to the Clarence Valley Council, seeking its help to lobby against the job losses, which he said were the result of a restructure of NPWS offices around the state.

Mr Wright said the government was seeking to amalgamate the NPWS Clarence North and Clarence South branches and move the headquarters to Coffs Harbour.

Mr Wright said this restructure made little sense as Grafton was the most centrally located centre for the Clarence North and South regions.

"This restructure will have a significant impact on the Clarence Valley region, including a significant loss of firefighting resources, including potentially the loss of seven experienced crew leaders,” Mr Wright said.

"It will also result in the elimination of all pest control officers from the North Coast, bar one, who will be located in Coffs Harbour.

"Wild pigs, dogs and weeds could have a significantly increased impact on farming and tourism in the region.”

Mr Wright said the NPWS maintained an office in the State Office Block in Grafton, a depot at South Grafton, another at Iluka and a visitor information centre at Woody Head.

The Grafton office was formerly the North Coast Regional office and the base for all regional specialists and technical staff, administration staff and rangers for the two areas.

Mr Wright said the amalgamation proposes to cut one manager's position, most of the admin and nearly all the regional and statewide specialists, leaving 17 positions still working in the Clarence Valley from the the 29 it had at its last refit in 2011.

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons will present a Mayoral Minute opposing the job losses at tomorrow's council meeting in Maclean.

It proposes the council write to the Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis opposing the loss of NPWS positions from the Clarence Valley and the relocation of the regional office to Coffs Harbour instead of Grafton.

Cr Simmons noted The Clarence Valley has one of the biggest areas of national parks on the North Coast.

He said it comprised 2,262 square kilometres, 22% of the Clarence Valley Council area, compared to Coffs Harbour Council which has only 42 square kilometres of National Park comprising 4% of the council area.

Kyogle Council has also moved against a similar plan for its NPWS office.

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