A PORT FAIRY councillor has opposed a moderate growth in jobs at Moyne Shire Council, one of the region’s biggest employers.
The increase in jobs was proposed in the council’s draft budget.
Cr James Purcell expressed his opposition at the council’s May meeting, in Peterborough, on Tuesday.
The draft budget allows for the shire to increase its staffing levels from 223 to 228, which represents a 4.8 per cent employee-cost increase. The 228 workforce makes the Moyne Shire Council one of the biggest employers, not just within its own municipality, but within the region.
In his address, Cr Purcell said he did not support staff increases.
He said council had an objective of increasing productivity by 1 per cent a year.
He said this meant that, if you had 99 people, they would do the work of 100, equating to a saving of two to three employees in a workforce the size of the council’s.
Cr Purcell did not clarify any areas in the draft budget from which he believed staff should be trimmed. While Cr Purcell did not support growth within the council’s employee base, he did highlight the loss of jobs at Murray Goulburn’s Koroit factory as indicative of the difficult economic climate.
Cr Mick Wolfe said the job increases had been budgeted within a low rate-increase of 5 per cent. “We get a lot of justifiable complaints from the public that the works aren’t getting done,” Cr Wolfe said.
“If we do need the additional staff to do these works, then let’s employ them.”
The draft budget shows the council has an operating surplus of $4.9 million, with a proposed rates and charges rise of 5 per cent.
Cr Purcell’s comments were made during deliberations about whether the council’s 2012/13 draft budget should be made available for public comment.
Councillors voted 5-2 in favour of the draft budget going public, with Cr Bernie Harris joining Cr Purcell in voting against the motion.
A capital works program of $16.16 million is included in the draft budget.
Highlights of this program are $180,000 for the construction of a pedestrian bridge at Reedy River along the Princes Highway in Port Fairy; $40,000 for a mobile skate ramp; and $40,000 for the addition of disabled toilets at the Sackville Street public toilet blocks in Port Fairy.