National Parks and Wildlife Service member update

Sep 20, 2017

National Parks and Wildlife Service member update – September 2017 (PDF version)

The PSA and its delegates attended a meeting with NPWS Monday 11 September 2017, where we were given a “draft” final Change Management Plan, plus 74 pages of new structures. The PSA was also advised the documents were embargoed and restrictions placed on your union’s opportunity to adequately consult on these documents. The embargo was duly respected by the PSA and delegates.

We were again invited to attend a meeting on Monday 18 September to discuss the our views and provide feedback on the amended CMP and structures. Fourteen delegates from Bourke, Mid and Far North Coast, South Coast, Tumut, Blue Mountains and the metro areas, including Head Office, attended the meeting. These delegates represented a large number of affected classifications within NPWS.

Delegates spoke candidly and passionately of the impact the proposed structures would have on NPWS if it was implemented in its current form.

We were advised during the meeting that NPWS management was waiting for the OEH Chief Executive to sign off the Change Management Plan. Whilst PSA and the delegates were engaged in the meeting, NPWS released the final structures and the CMP, and at that time advertised the 11/12 roles, advising a 3 October closing date for applications.

The PSA has consistently contended genuine consultation has not been occurring, and has brought the matter before the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). Whilst the PSA has gained longer periods of consultation, and some changes to the original proposal, the disregard for genuine consultation was demonstrated clearly yesterday with the broad release of the CMP and structures as delegates were discussing the inadequacies of many aspects of the restructure and process.

The parties are to return to the IRC on Wednesday 20 September on a report-back in relation to consultation.

PSA officials have also raised concerns with OEH Executives regarding the Ranger classification being discussed with another union. The PSA is concerned these discussions are a divisive action which is placing additional stress and anxiety on a workforce already torn due to the proposed restructure.

NPWS urgent restructure update

Sep 5, 2017

NPWS urgent restructure update – September 2017 (PDF version)

The PSA has been made aware of the NPWS update distributed yesterday afternoon detailing that the consultation period was completed last month, that there would be 36 areas in the new structure, and that internal EOIs would be starting for Grade 11/12 positions as early as next week.

The PSA considers this to be at complete odds with the outcome of proceedings in the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC).

You can read our update distributed yesterday HERE.

As a result we are urgently re-listing the matter in the IRC.

The PSA will update members further as to the outcome.

OEH and NPWS restructure update

Sep 4, 2017

OEH and NPWS restructure update – September 2017 (PDF version)

OEH were back before the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on Thursday 31 August regarding the NPWS restructure. The PSA again raised concerns regarding the lack of consultation and information regarding the restructure.

During our last appearance, OEH agreed to provide the current and proposed area establishment. Unfortunately this was not provided. OEH stated they could not provide this information as there are over 400 movements within National Parks each year and it is very difficult to keep track of.

The IRC advised OEH that the PSA was not seeking the names of the staff that held these roles, but the actual roles. On that basis OEH are to provide the PSA with the current area establishments.

The PSA also raised concerns regarding boundaries, stating PSA delegates believe 35 boundaries are unmanageable. However, our feedback had found that 40 would be more manageable. The PSA also put to the IRC that the only way an agreement could be reached on boundary changes was if PSA delegates and Park Operations management met without industrial involvement and looked at the boundaries collectively and come to an agreement.

The IRC agreed and advised a meeting should be scheduled within the next week with PSA delegates and Park Operations management.

The PSA again raised concerns with the accuracy of the Role Descriptions including the reclassification to Clerk grades, challenging the matter expert who developed and evaluated the Role Descriptions without consulting the PSA or broader membership for input. The IRC advised that this matter would be dealt with separately.

OEH stated the fire season was due to commence and therefore the restructure needed to be carried out reasonably quickly. The IRC stated that OEH were still required to engage in proper consultation with the PSA.

In addition to actions in the IRC, questions about the current restructure were raised in Parliamentary Budget Estimates on Friday 1 September by Penny Sharpe, Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage.

Amongst other things, Ms Sharpe questioned the current Minister for Environment, Gabrielle Upton, about funding cuts to NPWS, the loss of 246 full time staff since 2016, and the reclassification or downgrading of jobs in the current restructure.

Whilst the responses were underwhelming, PSA members can be assured that the issues in the current restructure are being progressed in the Parliament as well as the IRC.

To summarise, these are the next steps in ongoing consultation around the restructure:

  1. PSA delegates and Park Operations Management will sit down collectively after the JCC on Wednesday 6 September and Thursday 7 September and try to come to a landing regarding boundaries
  2. The PSA will then look at the Role Descriptions which have been affected by downgrading or being deleted
  3. The PSA will continue workplace visits to engage the membership
  4. Whilst continuing consultation, any action in relation to the reclassification of roles will be undertaken separately
  5. OEH to provide an up-to-date Change Management Plan.

Future NPWS Employee Transition

Aug 17, 2017

Future NPWS Employee Transition – August 2017 (PDF version)

Member update

As stated in our last bulletin to members, the PSA has initiated proceedings in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) regarding inadequate consultation in the Future NPWS Employee Transition. You can read our last update HERE.

On Monday 15 August, the PSA received some information relating to staff numbers and impacts from OEH. As the report back in the IRC was set for the following day, and no time had been afforded for the PSA to examine the data, the matter in front of Chief Commissioner Kite has been held over until 31 August.

The PSA received, in writing, an assurance that OEH was committed to ongoing engagement and consultation with the PSA throughout the Life of the Future NPWS project.

The PSA has received feedback that the correspondence received from Naomi Stevens and Robert Quirk suggested that consultation had now ended.

The PSA can assure our members consultation is far from over. To this end we have secured meetings with OEH management to discuss our continued concerns.

Whilst we have started discussions on a number of matters, including Branch and Area makeup and design of pools, there are a number of issues still to be consulted on. One of the major areas which still require further consultation is role descriptions and classification. The PSA has concerns as to the process undertaken to evaluate jobs at a certain level, and will be discussing this in more depth at a meeting scheduled with OEH on Wednesday 23 August. We are going through all feedback received from members and examining all proposed role descriptions.

Feedback can still be sent to the PSA at nswnp@psa.asn.au.

The PSA still has our dispute regarding consultation listed for report back in the IRC on 31 August. Whilst this morning’s correspondence from Ms Stevens and Mr Quirk indicates that the first stage of employee engagement has now concluded, the PSA, and the IRC, does not accept that this means that consultation has finished. OEH has also made assurances that consultation with staff and the PSA will continue. The PSA will continue to fight for changes to the restructure to ensure outcomes are properly considered and not rushed.

National Parks and Wildlife Service – email broadcast to members

Aug 8, 2017

Dear Member

On Monday 31 July, I had the pleasure of attending a ceremony in the Blue Mountains National Park to unveil a plaque in memory of National Parks and Wildlife staff who have lost their lives in service to the environment and the people of NSW.

It honours, for example, a number of National Parks firefighters who several years ago were killed during a hazard reduction operation at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

The plaque is at the George Phillips Lookout, Govetts Leap in Blackheath and the unveiling event was part of the 50 year anniversary of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

30 million people each year flock to the state’s National Parks but I think it’s fair to say that most take that magnificent environment and their safety within it for granted.

The reality is the parks are the result of careful and expert management by the experienced staff of the NPWS.

National Parks staff manage a range of incidents including floods, storm events and whale strandings.

However, most importantly, they are also front line fire fighters all over the state protecting lives, private property, forestry, homes, pastures, the lot.

They stand shoulder to shoulder with Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service.

It is dangerous work as is dealing with wild dogs, feral pigs and other vertebrate pests – not your average workplace situation.

The memorial is a fitting tribute to the excellent community service that NPWS staff provide.

Stewart Little
General Secretary

 

OEH and NPWS – Non-Executive Employees’ Transition Update

Aug 8, 2017

NPWS Non-Executive Employees Transition Update – August 2017 (PDF version)

As advised in our previous bulletin, the PSA lodged a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) regarding the future NPWS non-executive employees’ transition. The PSA and a number of delegates appeared in the IRC on Monday 7 August.

The PSA could clearly demonstrate NPWS had not provided the PSA with relevant information required to engage in proper consultation, such as the number of roles directly and indirectly affected, work locations, recruitment pool design, employment options, status of roles, accurate role descriptions and variations to classifications.

Chief Commissioner Kite supported the PSA’s position, stating consultation could take one week, two weeks, one month or one year. Therefore he would not put a timeframe on the consultation process.

However, the PSA has agreed to meet with OEH management this week. OEH is to provide all documentation the PSA has been requesting to engage in meaningful consultation, including detail on current and proposed structures, recruitment pool design and process, number of roles affected, locations and classifications.

Whilst we appreciate the anxiety of members in this time of change and their need to have some certainty moving forward, the PSA is committed to ensure that we obtain the best outcome for all members. This may take some additional time. However, this will hopefully ensure that we minimise the impact of this restructure on members.

The PSA will continue to engage all our membership seeking feedback to influence this change management plan.

Could you please provide feedback to the following email nswnp@psa.asn.au or your NPWS delegates:

Steve Carter
Ben Owers
Alex Deura
Janet Cavanaugh
Alexandra Wyatt
George Malolakis
John Holcombe
Ken England
Kim De Govrik
Peter Clark
Tegan Burton
Anita Zubovic
Sarah Sabil
Trish Swain
Martin Smith

 

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