By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
STATE Government is trying to “weasel out” of its commitment to relocate WorkSafe to Geelong, according to South Barwon Liberal MP Andrew Katos.
He said Labor Finance Minister Robin Scott’s announcement of a review of the Transport Accident Commission and WorkSafe to “optimise effectiveness, efficiency and value” was “code” for watering down the commitment.
“Having a review is a way to weasel out of the commitment, to save money or only do a partial relocation.
“The Andrews Government should come clean with the people of Geelong and guarantee the full relocation of WorkSafe.
“The Napthine government committed to bringing 550 jobs to Geelong, which the ALP matched.
“John Eren and Lisa Neville should ensure that the full relocation of WorkSafe goes ahead. That was the commitment they made to Geelong.
“People went to the ballot box on the basis of that pledge.”
Mr Katos said the relocation was part of the former government’s efforts to reinvigorate Geelong’s central activities area.
The relocation was mooted to inject $50 million a year into the economy and create a trauma, rehabilitation and injury management cluster with the National Disability Insurance Agency, TAC, Deakin University, St John of God Hospital and Barwon Health.
“The relocation of the TAC demonstrated there are many positives to such a move with the impact on the Geelong economy and the flow on effect to other businesses,” Mr Katos said.
Community and Public Sector Union Victoria secretary Karen Batt said the review would investigate the relocation’s impact on staff.
“It’s welcome because it gives us an opportunity to have input that was being denied to staff and the union previously,” Ms Batt said.
“We are able to discuss all functions and how they are going to move which 300 jobs, how we support those that want to go and those who want to stay and finding them work.
“There are operational complexities around a regional operational model in the context of the government’s commitment of no redundancies.”
Former TAC chief and WorkSafe chairman James MacKenzie has been appointed to conduct the review.
Mr Scott said the Government was committed to WorkSafe’s head office relocation.
“The review will consider WorkSafe’s relocation to Geelong to ensure that appropriate decisions are made when implementing this change.”