DELWP Forest, Fire and Regions Group ‘spill and fill’ row looms

UP TO 300 staff responsible for managing Victoria’s public land could be forced to reapply for their jobs in a “spill and fill” process, according to the union that represents them.

A proposed restructure of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Forest, Fire and Regions Group would leave the workers — most in regional offices — needing to find a new role, says the Community and Public Sector Union.

The FFRG is responsible for managing public land across Victoria, including bushfire risk management.

This week, the CPSU claimed the department would not provide it with a “no forced redundancies guarantee” on the proposed restructure.

“This has caused significant angst for members,” CPSU secretary Karen Batt said.

“Many ongoing positions are gone and employees are being asked to apply or be matched to fixed-term positions, some at lower pay.”

“If the Premier is fighting for every job then he can fight for the jobs of his own employees and stop this nonsense.”

A DELWP spokesman said the proposed restructure would not affect frontline staff involved in fighting fires.

“The proposed model is about strengthening the regional presence and ability to support regional communities and as a result there will be more jobs, not less, in every region of Victoria,” he said.

More details of the restructure are expected after a consultation period with staff ends today.

The union claimed the department had paid a consultant $80,000 to develop the proposed restructure.

Ms Batt said the proposal had led to increased stress and uncertainty among workers.

“The impact on staff wellbeing and productivity is obvious,” Ms Batt said.

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