More than 100 roles to be axed at regional agency

More than 100 roles at the Department of Regional NSW are set to be axed in a "blindsiding" move that has left some temporary contractors fearing for their livelihoods. 

The proposal, which is part of a restructure for the regional-focused agency, was announced at an all-staff meeting on Thursday.

Some temporary staff didn't realise until hours later it meant they would not be able to finish their contracts, with circulated slides stipulating May 31 as the proposed last day for 69 "delimited" temporary positions.

The department has told staff the cuts are part of a proposed plan approved by boss Rebecca Fox.

They have been invited to give feedback by April 18.

Under the arrangement, 37 ongoing roles would be axed but affected permanent staff either redeployed or reassigned.

Some 27 new roles would also be created, including 11 ongoing.

One temporary staffer told AAP their contract was already due to finish in June but they were worried about finding work given the earlier May cut-off meant less time to job hunt. 

Other colleagues had house sales and leases on the line, and were reliant on contracts meant to run well into next year.

“Those four weeks for me can mean the difference between getting a job and being homeless with my kids," the staffer, who asked not to be named, told AAP.

"We're devastated and they don't seem to care."

The staffer worried what the axing meant for the government's approach to regional NSW issues and said they and their colleagues were blindsided by the announcement.

A departmental spokeswoman said it was committed to a comprehensive consultation process and no final decisions had been made.

The proposed changes were consistent with reductions in executive staff and focused on ensuring the department operated within its budget.

"The Department of Regional NSW is committed to delivering improved social and economic outcomes for people living and working in regional NSW," the spokesman said.

"The majority of proposed changes are to temporary roles that are funded by temporary program funding."

NSW Nationals Leader Dugald Saunders described the proposed cuts as "a kick in the guts to every single resident living in the bush". 

"Having people who live and work in the regions, supporting the regions, is crucial to giving our local communities the voice they need and deserve," he told AAP.

"Time and time again, the ... government has shown it doesn't care about anyone who lives outside of the city and this decision confirms that.”

The Department of Regional NSW is intended to support regional communities, businesses and economies, and advocate for government that builds strong and resilient regional cities and towns. 

The major reshaping of the department in January led to the abrupt departure of Scott Hansen.

The senior public servant was two months away from marking a decade as director-general of the Department of Primary Industries when Ms Fox decided he should go.

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