Newcastle council may cut 90 jobs  

NEWCASTLE City Council has proposed making 90 staff positions redundant, as part of controversial cost-cutting plans that will be unveiled on Wednesday morning.

The Newcastle Herald can reveal that proposals shown to councillors during a marathon briefing on Tuesday night included shutting The Loft youth venue, closing swimming pools at Stockton and Beresfield, and selling Beresfield Golf Course.

The council’s award-winning Environment and Climate Change Unit would be ‘‘decommissioned’’ and the controversial Tourism and Economic Development Unit would also be scrapped.

Over two years, the plans would save the city $18.7 million.

The council’s management has spent the past three months working out the details of the cost-cutting plans, which were announced in November and aim to carve $190million from budgeted spending over a decade.

It is understood staff were still finalising the proposals at 5pm last night, less than two hours before the confidential briefing was scheduled to begin.

Councillors will not make final decisions on the proposals until June, which sets up a critical few months for supporters of facilities and services on the chopping block.

One of the biggest concerns is likely to be the amount of front line jobs made redundant. The largest proposed cuts are from the Liveable City department, which is responsible for garbage collection, infrastructure, roads, parks and compliance.

Liveable City will lose 45 full-time equivalent staff.

The cost-cutting comes at a time of significant upheaval within the walls of the roundhouse administration building.

More than 300 council employees voted to condemn the city’s handling of cost-cutting and redundancy measures at a mass meeting last week, and staff members have spoken about a feeling of unease hanging over City Hall.

Outgoing general manager Phil Pearce, who announced his resignation last month, has taken his remaining leave and departed the city ahead of schedule.

In the meantime, city engagement director Martin Coates will fill the role of acting general manager.

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