Environment portfolio has lost 450 jobs

MORE than 450 jobs will have been cut from the Federal Government's environment portfolio over the past two years, come this July, Senate estimates heard on Monday.

The job cuts included 146 Environment Department employees made redundant since July last year, with a further 11 to come before the end of June this year.

Officials told a Senate estimates committee budget papers also showed a further 299 further redundancies would be sought during the 2014-15 fiscal year, including 184 in the department.

But the departmental officials said the cuts were being offered as part of an ongoing round of voluntary redundancies, but that if the numbers weren't enough, forced redundancies could happen.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters, who questioned the staff on the job cuts, said they were concerning given the recent findings of the Gladstone harbour bund wall review.

That review, released two weeks ago, found monitoring and compliance problems within the department, and specifically identified resources and staffing as a key issue.

"With the rash of coal and gas mining threatening our environment, and a government intent on ticking and flicking even the most destructive projects; we need a properly resourced Environment Department to check that developers and mining magnates are complying with environmental conditions," Sen Waters said.

The job cuts are part of some 16,500 jobs expected to be cut from the Commonwealth public service, including some previous redundancies, outlined in the Abbott government's first budget.

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