EDITORIAL: Job losses can be avoided
ABOUT 200 casual jobs at Albury’s tax office are expected to be outsourced.
The Border Mail was told management this week put proposed changes to staff.
An insider said casual staff at the Albury site were told at meetings on Monday their jobs were being outsourced.
Some employees have worked there for 10 years, with shifts ranging from three hours a day to full days.
The Community and Public Sector Union, which covers tax office staff, confirmed that the shake-up was likely to involve 200 jobs.
The office yesterday called for tenders for the work.
The union’s national deputy president Alistair Waters said it would prefer the work stayed with the tax office and was not outsourced.
“We have real concerns the loss of jobs will have a big impact on a community like Albury,” Mr Waters said.
A tax office spokeswoman would not answer direct questions about job losses but said in a statement the organisation was exploring options and issuing a tender was not a decision to proceed with an outside service provider.
She did say there had been a “steady decline” in paper processing, with paper income lodgements 32 per cent lower than a year earlier.
“The number of casual staff employed in our paper-processing area is directly related to the volume we process,” the spokeswoman said.
“We are exploring the best way to process paper, given the demand for it is in steady decline with more and more taxpayers dealing with us electronically.
“When issues about staffing come up, they’re of course treated very sensitively.”
The member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, who has worked for the tax office, acknowledged cuts could be unavoidable.
“I understand the tax office’s desire not to spend public funds where it is inefficient,” Ms Ley said.
“I have been in contact with the ATO and have asked to be kept informed on the scope of this outsourcing and whether the work can remain locally based.”
It’s understood the work also involves capturing data images from correspondence the ATO receives and farming it out to different parts of the department.
A union spokesman said plans for upgrading equipment and outsourcing had been in the pipeline for some time.