JOB losses, reduced conditions for Ballarat workers and security risks for all Victorians with a drivers licence could be on the cards if the state government privatises VicRoads' registration and licensing division warns the Australian Service Union (ASU).
The state government is currently waiting on results of a "scoping study" to improve the efficiency of VicRoads' Registraion and Licensing Division which the ASU say could lead to privatisation of the government department.
The concerns have been raised as Victoria's state budget forecast has been hit by cost blowouts on major projects and a commitment of $600 million to help bushfire affected communities this financial year.
In December, the state government revised its budgetary surplus from $1 billion to $618 million, but this was before bushfire commitments were made.
It is looking at a range of options, including the role of Services Victoria and private sector partnerships, but has also emphatically ruled out privatisation of the VicRoads division as an option.
However, Australian Services Union Secretary Lisa Darmanin is not convinced, with the ASU set to launch a new campaign today in Ballarat warning against the sale of VicRoads.
Ms Darmanin said the union opposes the full privatisation of VicRoads' registration and licensing, as well as any partial privatisation through a public-private partnership.
Ballarat is home to not only a front office desk in Wendouree, but also a call centre, with the union fearing hundreds of jobs could be reduced in hours or in danger of going, if any privatisation occurs.
"Privatisation always leads to the loss of jobs and conditions for workers and reduced services and higher prices for the community," Ms Darmanin said.
"When big business gets involved in delivering government services, regional communities are always hit the hardest. Ballarat is particularly vulnerable with a VicRoads call centre as well as the customer service centre in Wendouree."
"Once an essential service like VicRoads is handed over the private sector we will never get it back."
"Sell-offs to fix the Andrews Government's short-term budget problem can't be undone."
The state government said the fears are unfounded, adding the government will work with agencies and unions to ensure the best possible outcomes for staff.
It also said that any changes would not affect the Ballarat-based Regional Roads Victoria office.
A spokesperson said in the meantime, while the study is being completed, it remains business as usual.
"We've been very clear on this - we will not privatise the registrations and licensing function of VicRoads," the spokesperson said.
"We are looking at several options to make licensing and registration more efficient and easier for motorists."
Ms Darmanin warned any privatisation would bring security risks.
"VicRoads manages personal identifying data of almost every adult Victorian," she said.
"Cutting corners for profit will put the security of this data at risk and expose millions of Victorians to identity theft."
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