Up to 200 more public servants at the Environment Department are set to lose their jobs as the government strips the agency of funding and responsibilities.
The department's environmental assessment division will be almost wiped out with the survivors acting as a rubber stamp for state environmental approvals in line with the Abbott government's policy of cutting "green tape".
The department's boss has told staff that 25 per cent will be slashed from the budget over the next four years with most of the cuts coming in staffing numbers, a move that could reduce departmental numbers to fewer than 1700 - from 2300 last year - in coming years.
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A call for voluntary redundancies is expected at Environment in coming weeks for a second tranche of cuts after 143 jobs were lost last year through redundancies.
Senior staff at the department were told recently there had been serious reductions in funding for its Environmental Assessments division, which will soon stop carrying out assessments and start operating as an audit body for state environmental decisions.
It is understood the compliance component of the division will not be affected but its strategic assessment group and regional planning groups are to be abolished.
Departmental secretary Gordon de Brouwer flagged the upcoming job cuts in broad terms with his staff last month.
A departmental spokeswoman refused to answer questions about upcoming staff changes, saying a "strategic review" was under way.
She referred questions about money allocations to the department's portfolio budget statement, which says there have been no changes to the environmental regulation program since May 2013.
The main public sector union told Fairfax Media that it too had encountered a cagey response to requests for information from the department.
CPSU deputy secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said the union had not even been given an estimate of how many jobs were threatened.
''We know that jobs are on the line but what we don't know is how many and over what period of time,'' Ms Vincent-Pietsch said.
''Last week we met with the department but they were unable to shed any light other than to acknowledge their strategic review would result in a whole new departmental structure and that finally issues such as increased workloads might be addressed.
''The department has a 25 per cent budget black hole to fill over four years and we question whether they can find enough people willing to take a redundancy to fill it given there were more than 140 redundancies in 2013.
''To have this cloud of uncertainty hanging over staff is very debilitating and unfair and we will continue to press the department for answers.''