30 jobs to go in water coup

THIRTY Wide Bay Water employees are set to lose their jobs if the council follows the recommendations of an independent review to make the organisation a commercial business unit.

A review by the AEC Group said up to $4 million could be saved under the new model, which would give the Fraser Coast Regional Council greater control over the water utility.

WBW is a government owned corporation, which acts as a separate and legal entity from the council.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the report would be open for public consultation over the next two weeks, but indicated the council was likely to act on the report's recommendation to bring WBW under council jurisdiction.

He was reluctant to comment on the job cuts, but said the decision was about making water more cost effective for ratepayers.

"The primary motivation is to make sure the pricing structure is affordable for ratepayers.

"I have to stress ... this is still in the consultation process.

"The decision has not been made."

If the council did adopt the AEC Group's advice, 36 jobs would be safe.

But a further 30 had been identified as "duplicate" positions and would therefore be slashed.

"This is not about cutting jobs carte blanche," he said.

"It is not a question mark on the capabilities of water staff, it is not about fixing past wrongs.

"It is about duplication of costs.

"If the council supports the recommendation after public consultation, it is guaranteed consultation will occur with relevant unions and the council will comply with its industrial obligations."

Wide Bay Water acting chief executive Garry Storch declined to comment yesterday, but said WBW would release a statement today, after examining the report.



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