The question as to why the Government’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) offices, formerly DELWP, has significantly reduced opening hours, was raised this week in State Parliament by Nationals’ Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
“One has to ask what is going on in the Department of name changes,” he told Parliament.
“The DEECA offices in Bairnsdale and Orbost recently published their new – and significantly reduced – hours they are open to the public.
“In a growing area like East Gippsland, we are now told the offices in Bairnsdale will be closed every Friday – the day when people may want to get camp site information, maps, fishing licences or other general information.
“If that is not bad enough, on other days of the week, they are closed between noon and 1pm and then after 3pm – it is a part time office.
“But if you’re shaking your head now, consider Orbost. In the middle of one of our most fire prone areas in the world, it is not only shut Friday, but also Monday and is also only open on restricted hours three days a week.
“Why should a town in the middle of one of the most fire prone areas in the world and surrounded by National Parks, be forced to have such limited access to its State Government office?
“It sounds like the policy idea of a Melbourne based bureaucrat, but I am surprised it made it past the Minister’s office.”
Mr Bull said this was not the issue of the staff, who are receptive and professional, but is clearly the result of a directive from above and it should change.
“One would have thought in an area with a growing population and increasing numbers of visitors wanting to enjoy our camp areas and great outdoors, we are closing the offices for so much time, especially on a Friday.
“Sadly, it’s just another case of this city centric government reducing services to country areas. I have asked the Minister for a full explanation behind the rationale,” he said.
Tim’s Parliamentary contribution can be viewed via this link.