Government jobs axed from Cooma 

FARMERS on the Monaro are expected to be severely disadvantaged with the axing of two advisory positions in the Department of Primary Industries office in Cooma.

The two frontline positions, which farmers have come to rely on for advice on profitable and sustainable farming practices are to go, leaving the Monaro without the experience and expertise of livestock officer Doug Alcock and agronomist Luke Pope.

Cooma NSW Farmers president Craig Mitchell said he was loathe to lose any advisory positions in agriculture.

"We have been losing advisory positions over the past 20 years. We used to have a cattle officer in Cooma," Mr Mitchell said.

A Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesperson confirmed that the two Cooma DPI advisory positions would be amalgamated into one position as part of the establishment of the new Local Land Services (LLS), which will be operational from 2014.

"People affected by the restructure will be able to apply for new roles in the department, and in LLS or offered voluntary redundancies," the DPI spokesperson said.

Member for Monaro John Barilaro said he expected that the two Cooma DPI advisory positions would be amalgamated into one position, which he described as having "minimal impact in Cooma".

"Local Land Services will break down the silos that currently exist between these agencies to ensure farmers and landowners are getting the best service and best advice possible," Mr Barilaro said.

The NSW government recently announced it would axe up to 300 jobs from the NSW DPI as it sought to find $30 million in cuts to the department's budget.

The state government announced the new agency would look after a range of services from 2014 including biosecurity, pest control, travelling stock route and natural disaster functions of the Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA), the natural resource management planning and funding allocation roles of the Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and the advisory services of the Department of Primary Industries.

Mr Mitchell said, "If the amalgamation of the LLS with the natural resource management and production management was done properly it could be really good or it could be a real mess."

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