June 16, 2017
Rumours that the South Burnett Regional Council could soon be shedding staff were confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
southburnett.com.au understands that up to 19 positions may not be renewed – mostly office staff – although the final figure has not been decided.
Some staff were informed this week their positions would no longer be funded.
Mayor Keith Campbell said in the “first instance”, savings would be made via voluntary redundancies and not filling vacancies.
He said Council had begun consultations with the relevant unions to develop a process to achieve the necessary staff reductions.
The staff cuts may “require some organisational structural changes including redeployment of staff and further redundancies”.
“It is not anticipated that operational field staff will be the focus of the job losses,” Mayor Campbell said.
A statement issued on Facebook said Council had “identified over the past few months whilst preparing the 2017-18 Budget that the organisation is facing a significant deficit in the general operations Budget”.
“In plain terms, we are spending more than we are getting in revenue,” Mayor Campbell said.
“This has been a constant issue over past Budgets, however we have achieved enough cost cutting and made enough savings each Budget to minimise the impact.”
He said his year Council unfortunately had to grapple with declining income streams across development areas, tourist parks and interest from investments.
“This combined with a significant increase in the depreciation expense, created a larger than normal shortfall of around $1.5 million,” the Council statement said.
Mayor Campbell said it was not practical to raise rates by 7 or 8 per cent to cover this shortfall, so the only significant area of the Budget left to achieve the reduction was employee costs.
“This has been a very difficult decision but a necessary one if we are to remain sustainable in future Budgets,” Mayor Campbell said.
“I can appreciate that this process will be stressful for our staff and we will endeavour to undertake the process as quickly and compassionately as possible, providing staff with the necessary support to minimise any adverse impact.”
[UPDATED with correction]