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FROM midnight on Monday 16 November Biosecurity Tasmania staff will be banning all overtime in a campaign to force the Hodgman government into properly funding this vital service.

In July Biosecurity officers reported significant workload issues with 80% of them concerned that workload pressures had the potential to impact on their standard of work. Over 2/3rds  of them said workload pressure was having a negative impact on their personal lives.

In September they told Minister Rockliff that unless action was taken to boost their capacity before the busy summer season began they would be placing a ban on overtime. The Minister did nothing effective to address the issues.

“How long does Minister Rockliff expect workers to cover the cracks in a system he has deliberately and knowingly dismantled,” CPSU General Secretary Tom Lynch said.

“Biosecurity Tasmania officers have carried the load for as long as they can bear and this industrial action should be seen as a plea for help,” Mr Lynch said.

The workload of Biosecurity Tasmania has exploded in recent years with Tasmania rapidly growing our tourism and agriculture industries. Since 2013 the number of visitors to the state is up 20%, the number of passengers on the Spirit of Tasmania is up 16%, the number of cruise ship passenger days is up 27% and the value of food exports is up 11%. Over the same period the number of staff in Biosecurity Tasmania has been cut by 20 FTE or 12%. This is why Biosecurity Tasmania is experiencing a workload crisis.

“The whole momentum our economy has built up could be destroyed by a serious incursion of a pest or disease. We have already seen blueberry rust and myrtle wilt enter the state and the appearance of uncooked Norwegian trout on supermarket shelves should have been an alarm call but the Minister has ignored all these warning signs,” said Mr Lynch said.

“Our vital Biosecurity services need more resources. Its time Minister Rockliff stopped the rhetoric and acted,” Mr Lynch said.


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