31 January 2024

Government insourcing of traffic, city maintenance jobs signalled to deliver 'more reliable services'

| Claire Fenwicke
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pothole repair with traffic management

The CFMEU says directly employing workers will see Canberra’s roads repaired and maintained more quickly. Photo: Facebook/ACT Government.

Contractors will now be offered secure jobs within the public service, in a move a union says will make Canberra safer.

The ACT Government announced it would directly employ 71 new staff across a range of jobs, including school crossing supervisors, weighbridge operators, temporary traffic management, mowing and litter picking.

The $2.2 million investment has promised to provide more secure work opportunities for vulnerable Canberrans and provide higher-quality city services to the community.

The decision to directly employ more traffic controllers in particular has been applauded by the Construction, Forestry and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU).

Secretary Zach Smith said critical road maintenance, such as fixing potholes and clearing debris, would be completed faster thanks to the announcement, and ultimately make Canberra’s roads safer.

“Outsourcing traffic controllers led to massive delays in the ACT’s road maintenance program, which raised the risk of deadly crashes,” he said.

“This decision will not only benefit traffic controllers but the entire community through boosted capacity for mowing and cleaning rubbish from our streets.

“More secure jobs means more reliable services.”

Mr Smith said this would also help put a stop to labour hire companies, which could be contracted for such work, from being able to “undercut” government wages.

“Traffic controllers who ensure routine roadwork and special events are safe are essential workers and need to be treated like it,” he said.

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr said this was the latest move by the ACT Government to deliver its commitment to grow the total number of jobs in Canberra to 300,000 by 2030 or sooner.

“We’re hiring more people to strengthen the public service’s capability to make sure Canberra continues to be one of the most liveable cities in the world,” he said.

New City Services Minister Tara Cheyne said the initiative would ensure essential service workers had secure and well-paid jobs.

“The immense pride our crews have in their work – and the efforts they go to in supporting our community – at all levels and across all responsibilities is without exception,” she said.

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Staff will also be recruited to provide more trail maintenance and horticulture services at UC Stromlo Forest Park.

About 560,000 people visit the park each year, and the government has committed to improving the mountain biking destination’s facilities.

Special Minister of State Chris Steel said establishing the internal team would provide greater flexibility and capacity to quickly respond to upgrade and maintenance requests.

“This is another important investment in Stromlo, with other recent improvements including an upgraded carpark, a new BMX freestyle facility and criterion track extension,” he said.

“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring UC Stromlo remains a world-class facility, and this new in-house team will play an important role in implementing the UC Stromlo Tracks and Trails Masterplan.”

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.

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