Working from home works - it’s time for the bush to telecommute

5 May, 2020
Working from home works - it’s time for the bush to telecommute  Image

If there is one positive from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s the widespread realisation that working from home works, says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler.

Mr Butler is calling on the NSW Government to review the suitability of all Public Sector positions for telecommuting, and introduce new requirements for Public Sector roles to be advertised as ‘suitable for telecommuting’.

The way roles are currently advertised, shows a geographic area where the role is based, inhibiting the attraction of the best possible candidate, no matter where they call home.

“COVID-19 has meant more and more people have shifted to working from home, with videoconferencing for team meetings, and remote access tokens bringing the office to people’s dining room tables and study’s.

“Workers have busted through the myth that physical presence in an office leads to productivity and teamwork. No matter where people are right now they’re still dialled in, still meeting targets, still producing work. 

“If in a pandemic Public Servants can successfully work from home, why can’t their home be Cobar, Menindee, or Condobolin? Or a property literally out the Back o’ Bourke?

“Over the past decade, steps have been taken by the NSW Public Sector to make jobs more flexible but we’re still seeing a haemorrhaging of Public Sector jobs from regional NSW. 

“Labour markets in Regional NSW are chronically underutilised: unemployment and underemployment are higher, and job-creation has been much slower. Over 80 percent of new jobs in NSW in the last five years have been created in the Greater Sydney area, exacerbating the labour market inequality that already existed between the city and regional NSW.

“Public sector jobs are a crucial source of consumer spending, and spin-off demands for private businesses in communities, they provide stability in community income and employment.

“These changes would open up roles to people in Regional NSW who for lifestyle, family or financial reasons would never have applied for a role out of their area.”

Mr Butler has written to all regional Members of Parliament regarding this proposal.

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