Wallsend MP fights to keep roads and maritime jobs ‘local’

PRINCIPLES: The NSW Opposition is unhappy with a government IT tender that is designed to replace hundreds of Australian positions with cheaper labour offshore, probably from India.
PRINCIPLES: The NSW Opposition is unhappy with a government IT tender that is designed to replace hundreds of Australian positions with cheaper labour offshore, probably from India.

HUNTER information technology workers fear for their jobs after it was revealed that Roads and Maritime Services was demanding its suppliers use overseas workers in their contracts, Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery says.

Ms Hornery tabled a notice of motion in the NSW parliament on Wednesday morning, calling on the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, to stop the tender from going ahead.

Confidential negotiations between the NSW government and a shortlist of contractors made headlines a fortnight ago, and while the government denied it had a “mandated requirement” for jobs to go offshore in the contracts, various documents pertaining to the work indicated otherwise.

Ms Hornery said she had been contacted by a number of Hunter people working for the department, who feared for their jobs if the contracts went through.

“The original stories said Indian IT workers typically earned $10 an hour compared to $100 an hour but the people our office has spoken with are on about a third of that rate,” a spokesperson for Ms Hornery said.

“The job can be done from anywhere because you just have to log onto the system to get your work done, although they do move around to various work sites as well.”

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery

The notice of motion called on the parliamentary lower house to note that “RMS have announced they will be sending 300 jobs overseas as a part of their IT contract and that a minimum of 20 per cent of jobs will be sent overseas in the first year and 30 per cent in the second year.

The motion “calls on the minister to put a stop to offshoring jobs”.

Asked by a constituent what Labor’s position was on the offshoring of jobs, Ms Hornery said: “There will always be work that is conducted overseas because it’s not done locally but we are not going to offshore any jobs that can be done in Australia.”

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