Union joins fight to save institute

The Australian Emergency Management Institute provides training to emergency service crews nationally. Picture: FILE

The Australian Emergency Management Institute provides training to emergency service crews nationally. Picture: FILE

EMPLOYEES of a national emergency management training institute at Mount Macedon have about three months to decide whether to take a redundancy package or move to Canberra.

The federal government announced a plan in its budget to close the Australian Emergency Management Institute. The closure is expected by mid 2015.

The Community and Public Sector Union is urging the government to reconsider the plan, which threatens about 60 jobs, 45 of which are specialised emergency management trainer positions.

CPSMU lead organiser Arian McVeigh said the union met representatives from the Attorney General's Department on Friday, learning that the 45 workers would need to decide their futures in September of October.

"They have been told they have two options, uproot their families and move to Canberra for redeployment or take redundancy," Ms McVeigh said.

"We think for for most staff, to uproot their families and move is a huge ask."

Ms McVeigh said yesterday that some employees had worked at the insitute for more than 20 years.

"They’re the experts in emergency management," she said.

“They have been providing internationally recognised education, training, development, information and research to the nation and building the capacity and professionalism of the emergency management sector.

"If they go, their skills and experience go with them."

Ms McVeigh is concerned there is no plan for the institute's continuation.

"The government is saying there will be a virtual institute in Canberra but, from what we can work out, there is no plan at the moment for how this work will continue out of Canberra.

"We want to know how the government will ensure its quality remains.

"We’ll be writing to the government and to the head of the Attorney General's Department tomorrow.

"We can’t understand why the the government wants to risk losing all that experience in emergency management when the money they’re going to save seems relatively minimal.

"At the moment we believe they will save $900,000 over four years."

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