Kempton: Staff decision "un-Australian"

Thursday December 18th 2013

Kempton: CRC staff decision "un-Australian"

David Kempton, Member for Cook, has dubbed the move by Cairns Regional Council to discard long term staff through the Douglas de-amalgamation process as “un-Australian”.

“Coming up to the Christmas period, this is on a par with throwing an under arm delivery in a test match," he said.

“The fact is, CRC had confirmed a list of staff to transfer to Douglas Shire Council on October 2, 2013 then just 13 days later increased that number by 30, indicating it had seized the opportunity to downsize its workforce.

“People marked for transfers included employees who had never worked or lived in Douglas, were suffering from health or personal issues, or who did not have suitable experience for any of the available positions.”

CRC Division 10 Councillor and Douglas Shire Mayor-elect Julia Leu agreed with Mr Kempton's comments, describing the CRC decision as "incredibly unfair and unethical". 

"It is a depicable way to treat Cairns based employees, even worse just before Christmas," she said.

"It is outrageous to expect the new Douglas Council to wear the significant costs of the resultant redundancies.

"I am pleased, however, that David has now acknowledged the situation we are facing and urge him to get the Minister to intervene on our behalf, as I requested some weeks back."

Mr Kempton rejected allegations Transfer Manager Jeff Tate had added to the problem by employing people who were not on the Cairns list.

“There was no specialist finance or management staff members included on that list,” he said.

“Mr Tate has done a fantastic job of getting everything ready for the new council to start on January 1.

“He even managed to absorb some of the excess people into the new DSC.”

Mr Kempton said there was “no doubt” the number of staff sent to Douglas were within the range provided by the regulation and thus, there was nothing Local Government Minister David Crisafulli could do to change it.

“I am not suggesting any impropriety,” Mr Kempton said. “But this sleight of hand by CRC shows no consideration or empathy for employees who, in many cases, have devoted most of their lives in service to Cairns.

“Rather than do the proper thing and offer voluntary redundancies to its workforce, CRC just dumped them on Douglas knowing the only choice the DSC has is to make them redundant.

“I have no doubt the DSC will be ready to get on with the job in January, however this has left a sour taste in people's mouths, especially for those who have not been shown any appreciation for their life's work.

“CRC is a huge shire and to do the right thing would have been but a splash in the bucket for them.”