A decision by the Australian Tax Office to enter into a 10-year lease for a new Townsville office building that only has space for existing staff numbers has been criticised as a short-sighted decision that will prevent the restoration of the 149 jobs that have been axed during the past five years.
The Community and Public Sector Union said that while it welcomed the ATO commitment to remaining in Townsville for another decade, the long-term leasing of a new, custom-built office should include capacity for growing job numbers, rather than locking in five years of cuts by only having space for current staff.
“Despite plenty of talk about decentralisation, the last five years have seen the Liberal National Government in Canberra slash an extraordinary 149 jobs from the Townsville tax office alone,” CPSU Queensland Assistant Regional Secretary Amy Smith said.
"Just last month the loss of another 10 jobs from this office was announced.
“Our union has been campaigning hard with the local community to have those jobs returned to Townsville, ensuring future employment opportunities for our city.
“While it is great that the ATO has announced they will enter into a 10-year lease for a new, purpose built building in Townsville, it is concerning that it will only be large enough to house current staff, which says the Federal Government has no intention of restoring any of the jobs that have been lost.
“The construction of a new office building is an opportunity to plan for the future, in particular by ensuring there is space for more jobs to be based in the region, but instead we are seeing an attempt to lock past job cuts in by ensuring there will be no space available for new staff.
“Our community has been calling on the Turnbull Government to stop these cuts and bring jobs back to Townsville, but this announcement confirms those pleas have been falling on deaf ears.
“Townsville needs new, reliable, quality jobs if we are going to ensure a strong local economy. The Federal Government has to play a part in this, starting with a commitment to restore the jobs they have axed and ensuring ATO facilities in Townsville have room to grow.”