Australian shire council criticised for outsourcing jobs to India

PTI Melbourne | Updated on March 28, 2011

A central Australian shire council has received severe criticism after reports of outsourcing jobs to India with the Northern Territory government ordering a probe into the matter.

According to a report by Fairfax newspapers, MacDonnell Shire Council has planned to use Indian call centre to deal with local administration for territory communities. It has reportedly committed A$100,000 for the centre to monitor rent and rubbish collection.

Council chief executive Mr Graham Taylor has confirmed that the Chennai-based company will manage housing maintenance, tenancy, outstation, electricity and waste services for the next two years, but said it was not a call centre, an ABC report said on Monday.

Mr Taylor said foreign staff was cheaper and it prevented council from having to seek handouts from other levels of government. He said the shire does concentrate employment in the local area and 77 per cent of its staff is indigenous.

However, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Ms Jenny Macklin said she was extremely concerned, while Northern Territory Minister for Local Government Ms Malarndirri McCarthy said she does not support the plan to outsource some of its administrative functions to foreign companies.

Ms McCarthy said the shire should take immediate action to review this proposal and focus on the development of its local workforce.

Ms McCarthy said her department is investigating whether the shire has breached its procurement processes and taking immediate action to review the proposal.

Published on March 28, 2011

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