National Parks and Wildlife Service staff in ‘utter despair’, says veteran

DESPAIR: NPWS veteran of 16 years Barbara Allgaier said current restructuring has created “utter despair” with staff. Photo: Alasdair McDonald
DESPAIR: NPWS veteran of 16 years Barbara Allgaier said current restructuring has created “utter despair” with staff. Photo: Alasdair McDonald

The Public Service Association joined the local branch of the National Parks Association on Friday to protest the loss of highly experienced NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service staff.

NPWS veteran of 16 years Barbara Allgaier said current restructuring has created “utter despair” with staff.

“To look around my office and see how people are being treated is a disgrace. Don’t get me wrong changes can be done, but they must be done with professionalism and integrity,” Ms Allgaier said.

“I’ve never been as vocal as this before in the organisation. It is just really sad and unprofessional the way it is being handled,” she said.

Retired ranger Lyn Evans said local staff “can’t get out and speak” about the changes. Photo: Alasdair McDonald

Retired ranger Lyn Evans said local staff “can’t get out and speak” about the changes. Photo: Alasdair McDonald

She said experienced staff are being forced to travel to Sydney for interviews after reapplying for their own jobs.

“I have no idea where these people are going to go,” she said.

National Parks Association president David Gallan claimed there has been talk by industry sources of the want to log within national parks beyond 2020.

“We’re not just saving highly skilled park jobs, but trying to hang on to what we’ve achieved, it’s our natural heritage,” he said.

Vice-president Kim Taysom said staff are “depressed”, and with a state government in surplus it was “hard to fathom the rationale behind the cuts”, which he saw as a continued move in “commercialising public assets”.

NSW Public Service Association assistant general secretary Troy Wright.

NSW Public Service Association assistant general secretary Troy Wright.

“This is an ideological battle, it’s not about money,” he said.

The Office of Environment and Heritage said in October the restructure would increase frontline roles to meet increased demand for services through “reinvesting funds saved from the consolidation of executive and management layers”.

The spokesperson said the new structure “has a net increase of 119 full time equivalent roles” of which 115 are frontline jobs.

Retired ranger Lyn Evans said local staff “can’t get out and speak” about the changes, and frontline jobs like her weed management control role are not being filled.

“When the government says they haven’t touched on-ground jobs it’s not true, mine was an on-ground job,” Ms Evans said.