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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15695

Ms George asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 16 September 2002:

(1) Does he support the competitive recruitment process proposed for Community Landcare Associations.

(2) Have Coastcare, Bushcare and Waterwatch been granted funds to allow for staff job security until 30 June 2003 but not community Landcare associations; if so, (a) why and (b) will he rectify this inequity and extend grants to Landcare until 30 June 2003; if not, why not.

(3) Is the three months time span for recruitment unreasonably short.

(4) Is maintaining employment continuity of current staff vital to the completion of many current projects.

(5) Is he aware that many projects under the current Natural Heritage Trust will continue to employ staff until 31 March 2003 in order to complete activities and reports even though funding only extends to their projects until 31 December 2002.

(6) Can the competitive recruitment process lead to a loss of expertise and established working relationships.

Mr Truss (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Commonwealth is funding landcare facilitator and coordinator positions across Australia until 30 June 2003. The selection and appointment of landcare facilitators and coordinators is up to those employing and managing the positions. Employment arrangements vary from region to region. The Commonwealth simply requires, as always, that the process be open and transparent, and comply with the law.

(2) Refer to (1).

(3) Not relevant. Refer to (1).

(4) It is understood that in some regions the landcare facilitators and coordinators will be helping to complete late finishing projects.

(5) Interim arrangements have been put in place to fund facilitator and coordinator positions to June 2003. One of the responsibilities of people in these positions is to assist Natural Heritage Trust projects.

(6) Where organisations have a need to recruit new people to positions, they should aim to select the best available people for the job.