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Regional Consumer Protection offices to close

The closure of regional Consumer Protection offices shows complete disregard for people living in the country who should be able to access public services just as easy as those in the metropolitan area.

That is the view of the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association in the wake of news that the Department of Commerce plans on closing the Karratha and Kalgoorlie Consumer Protection offices.

Staff at both regional centres were advised by phone last week of plans to make savings across the department including the office closures.

A final decision will be made after a three-week consultation period but the union, representing staff in these offices, fears the department is just going through the motions and the local positions will be abolished. 

CPSU/CSA branch assistant secretary Rikki Hendon said the Barnett Government had forced the budget cuts onto agencies such as Commerce that must now slash staff and programs.

“They are arbitrary cuts introduced by the Barnett Government without assessing the true needs of the people in the community or understanding what the impact on those services will be,” Ms Hendon said. 

“Karratha and Kalgoorlie are regional cities and both communities are saying it is another example of the metropolitan-based government taking services out of rural locations.

“We believe people living in these regional centres should be able to receive direct assistance from local people with local knowledge.

“Staff in these regional offices are best-placed to deal with local issues and have good working relationships with local business networks as well.”

Ms Hendon said staff regularly deal with older people and vulnerable members of the community who don’t have access to technology and call into the office as they don’t want to talk on the phone.

The union is also concerned about the future of affected staff.

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