Shire leaders pledge to retain staff

Augusta Margaret River Times

The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River will not stand down any staff, with president Ian Earl saying keeping as many local workers as possible in their jobs would keep the economy functioning.

While the City of Busselton laid off an undisclosed number of workers this week, the Shire was directing some employees into alternative roles, including work for future planning and back-up for officers who fell ill.

“So if somebody does get crook, we’ve got people to help,” he said.

Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown said a decision on whether to move ahead with hiring a new $200,000 director would be made when advertising closed next week.

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Likewise, the Shire’s recently recruited general manager for the Heart venue would remain working on “strategic planning and ... setting up the Heart’s ticketing system and so on, in preparation for when the Heart is able to reopen”.

“Workload regarding the response to COVID-19 has increased demand in some service areas and we are redeploying staff from closed services area to provide relief,” Ms Addison-Brown said.

“We have increased our system capacity to provide for more staff to work from home so employment can continue.”

More staff had requested annual leave, which reduced team sizes, the chief said.

“We need to go back to business as usual as soon as the situation provides for us to do that safely,” she said.

“We will need our full workforce to be able to operate the business to at full capacity at that time.”

On Wednesday, Premier Mark McGowan urged local governments to retain staff.

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