It’s a case of even more suits for DELWP

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has continued its trend of rising expenses, excessive executive recruitments, and ineffective programs.

The 2021-2022 DELWP Annual Report highlights how under the Andrews Government, the department has become a top heavy and costly bureaucracy.

Under Daniel Andrews the number of executives in DELWP has tripled over the last six years, while total expenses doubled.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said under Labor, DELWP had become a city centric bloated bureaucracy defined by red tape, high executive salaries, and poor environmental outcomes.

“Talented field staff on the ground in the regions are being hamstrung by the Andrews Government,” said Ms Bath.

“More suits and less boots are the hallmark of public land management under the Andrews Labor Government.

“Only 11 per cent of DELWP’s employees are field staff, it’s any wonder Victoria’s 7.5 million hectares of native forest, catchments, rivers and dams are suffering from neglect.

“Over the past six years, the number of DELWP executives has tripled, yet regional Victoria has had significantly poorer outcomes.

“It’s outrageous that 60 per cent of DELWP’s workforce call Melbourne home when it’s predominately a rural portfolio.

“Making good decisions on our natural environment cannot be achieved from within the Melbourne CBD – the ongoing imbalance between suits and boots highlights Labor’s disconnect from regional Victoria.”

The report also shows Melbourne based executive jobs increased by a further 15 per cent in the last year, while the number of field staff stagnated.

Ms Bath said rather than implementing effective bushfire and flood management practices in our regional areas, Labor has instead beefed-up CBD staff by 53 percent in the last three years.

“Rural Victorians know that our communities, wildlife and public spaces are being choaked by weeds, degraded by pest species and placed at significant risk by extreme fuel loads,” said Ms Bath.

“Labor must flip its workforce, ditch the city-based bureaucracy, and invest in frontline field staff who are tasked with effective public land management.

“Our natural environment needs active on the ground management, not be tied up with city centric green ideology and policy that has done nothing to enhance environmental outcomes.”