PSA News – 19 February 2016

Feb 19, 2016

Crime scene staff equal pay fight

PSA members at Fingerprint Operations refused to collect and analyse fingerprints recently to draw attention to pay disparity between them and their sworn colleagues.

Members voted in late January to implement bans to protest doing the same work for less money.

The action was covered by the Sunday Telegraph.

LPI privatisation reprieve – of sorts

Whilst the PSA is pleased that Valuation Services and Information Sourcing will no longer be considered as part of the scoping study into Land and Property Information (LPI), there is still widespread concern about the proposed privatisation of Titling and Registry Services.

The PSA also has concerns about the planned review of these units and how Titling and Registering Services, Valuation Services and Information Sourcing will operate as separate units from July 2016.

The PSA strongly believes LPI should remain wholly in the hands of public servants who are impartial and not profiteering from the taxpayers of NSW.

There will be a rally at Queen’s Square in Sydney on Wednesday 24 February from 12.30-1.30 to show members’ opposition to any outsourcing model for LPI.

PSA stands up for the Illawarra

With Dapto TAFE, Pillar and the NSW Trustee and Guardian under threat from the Baird Government, Wollongong is feeling the pressure.

The south coast city’s media is alerting the community to the PSA’s concerns.

Read a recent story from the Illawarra Mercury about the likely effects on the city of cuts to the NSW Trustee and Guardian HERE.

The PSA has also protested about job cuts in TAFE Illawarra’s 12 libraries and recently held a successful rally opposing privatising public disability services; see the story HERE

Super funds under review

Industry Super Australia has asked former governor of the Reserve Bank, Bernie Fraser, to conduct a review on Good Governance and Not-For-Profit Industry Funds.

Submissions closed on 1 February.

Unions NSW has provided a submission.

The Fraser Review’s scope can be read HERE

TAFE to swap masters?

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported there are plans to move TAFE funding from State to the Federal Government and expose the sector to further competition from the private sector.

The report, which can be found HERE, included a warning from former TAFE Directors Australia chairman, Bruce Mackenzie, that the plans could see course fees rise even higher.

Rally for injured workers

The Injured Workers Support Network is holding a rally outside the insurers’ 2016 Workers’ Compensation Summit at the Swissotel on Market Street, Sydney on Tuesday 23 February.

The rally, which begins at 8:30am, aims to give voice to injured workers unable to attend the summit.

For more information, go HERE

Saving Medicare

The Turnbull government’s announcement of $650 million in cuts to pathology and diagnostic imaging services is an attack on our public health system.

These cuts will mean fewer providers will bulk-bill and that patients could face new upfront costs for services such as blood tests, urine tests, pap smears, MRIs and STI checks. These costs will stop patients from getting the tests they need to look after their health and detect serious conditions early.

It’s crucial that we build a campaign against these cuts and in support of Medicare.

Activist Summit Attendees

Feb 12, 2016

Activist Summit Attendees – February 2016 (PDF version)

Remember PSA Annual Conference last May?

We got together in the afternoon at an “Activist Summit” to talk about how we would fight the Baird Government’s attacks on public services. Working in small groups, you came up with a great list of ideas to progress the PSA’s “Pathways to Winning” strategy.

Many of your ideas are now in place or underway.

You wanted the PSA to have a stronger profile within the broader community.

The actions and views of PSA members now regularly appear in the mainstream press. Our campaigns on disability services, TAFE, prisons, National Parks, as well as many others, are well known.

The General Secretary has become a go-to leader for comment on NSW public services and the value provided by union members. See an example HERE.

You wanted your union to communicate information more quickly to members.

We are now implementing a much more regular and efficient Bulletin system to keep members across issues. Our staff are now trained in bulletin writing.

You wanted to share PSA victories with other members and non-members, and have the valuable work done by public servants properly understood and more widely recognised.

Red Tape now regularly profiles members from different agencies and the PSA website provides frequent updates of campaign progress and PSA wins.

You wanted a youth strategy.

Some of our younger staff are developing ideas for engaging younger members and potential members.

These are just some of the ways where your involvement in your union is making a difference.

Thank you for attending the Activist Summit and putting your ideas forward.

We will continue to update you on how these, and other ideas, are progressing via PSA News. Stay tuned also to the website at

Remember, the most important action you can take is to ask your colleagues to join the PSA and get involved.

PS Tell your fellow members about your job. Your union represents a wide variety of employees in NSW, from Broken Hill to Lord Howe Island. If you are interested in being profiled for Red Tape, contact

PSA News – Possible service disruption Thursday 4 February

Feb 3, 2016

PSA management is currently negotiating an enterprise agreement with PSA staff.

Staff in the PSA have not previously had an enterprise agreement.

In September 2015, staff voted down the proposed enterprise agreement.

You can view that agreement HERE.

On Thursday 4 February,  a section of PSA staff have voted to take strike action for 4 hours from 9 am until 1 pm in support of further demands in relation to an enterprise agreement.

This may result in some disruption to service during this time.

PSA News – 28 January 2016

Jan 28, 2016

PSA wins reassessment of medical assessments

The PSA has successfully lobbied the Public Service Commission (PSC) to amend its proposed changes to the draft Fitness for Duty guidelines, relating to assessments for non-work related medical conditions and injuries.

Based on the issues the PSA brought to the PSC’s attention, the PSC made some improvements to the draft guidelines, such as:

  • more stringent requirements surrounding consultation with an employee prior to determining if a medical assessment is necessary
  • mandatory steps that an agency must undertake when making a decision about an employee’s medical retirement
  • the obligation on an agency to investigate if alternative duties are available if the employee’s medical advice states that alternative duties are an option.

Read more HERE

Members will be kept updated.

TAFE blows continue

As the Dapto TAFE College prepares to close, the Baird Government’s mishandling of this vital education asset continues.

Skills Minister John Barilaro recently blamed the Labor and Green parties’ campaign for lower enrolments, claiming they were scaring students away.

Massively increased fees, reduced course options and short-staffed facilities were not mentioned by the Minister in his recent interview.

Following a significant media campaign, the Government has frozen TAFE fees for the coming year.

However, they are still up to seven times as much as they were in 2013.

Since 2012, an estimated 83,000 fewer students have enrolled in TAFE NSW campuses.

The PSA continues its fight against the Government’s ideological madness and destruction.

PSA on the front foot in the New Year

See a recent article HERE from General Secretary Anne Gardiner published in the Daily Telegraph about the role PSA members have had in creating cultural change in the union movement.

Not profiting from privatisation

The Land and Property Information (LPI) service, along with its trove of data, is the latest government asset under threat from the Baird Government’s short-sighted privatisation agenda.

The LPI made a significant profit last year; enough to pay for more than 400 teachers or nurses across the state’s schools and hospitals.

You can read the PSA’s media release on the LPI sell-off HERE

Pillar sell-off

Late last year, the NSW Government announced Pillar will be sold off, in a major blow to the economy and community of the Illawarra.

Pillar, which administers 1.1 million superannuation and retirement accounts and has $100 billion in assets, employs more than 700 people; most of whom are located in the Illawarra.

The General Secretary of the PSA and the acting Secretary of Unions NSW recently met with State Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian to highlight the obvious pitfalls in this sell-off.

With Pillar‘s revenue in 2014 in excess of $94 million with a dividend to the Government of 70 percent of after-tax profits, the sale is another short-term, short-sighted move by the NSW Government.

Gittins slams cuts to the public sector

Ross Gittins, Australia’s foremost economics journalist, penned a piece in The Sydney Morning Herald decrying the slashing of the public sector.

Gittins claims regular job cuts to the public service were eroding departments’ “repositories of corporate memory”.

You can read the full story HERE

PSA examines Social Housing policy

On 24 January, the NSW Government released its new Social Housing Policy.

You can view the policy HERE

One of the stated outcomes of the policy is to increase the stock of Social Housing.

When the Minister for Housing Brad Hazzard was interviewed about the new policy he cited the Lend Lease redevelopment of a London Council Estate now known as Elephant Park as an international example of the model the NSW Government would be adopting.

This raises concerns as outlined in the Guardian article that can be viewed HERE

The PSA is consulting with members in FACS to develop its formal response to the Government’s Social Housing Policy.

Willing to work: Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Employment Discrimination

Jan 11, 2016

Willing to work bulletin to all members – 11 January 2016 (PDF version)

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is currently conducting an inquiry into age and disability discrimination called ‘Willing to Work’.

The PSA’s role

In October 2015, a survey was sent to all PSA members. 1,257 responses were received. We would like to thank those who took the time to share your experiences and tell us what changes you think need to be made.

What happens now?

The PSA has lodged a submission to the inquiry based on the experiences shared by members who contributed to the survey.

The submission is available on the PSA website HERE.

Summary of survey results

  • 38% of respondents experienced discrimination in employment on the grounds of disability
  • 11% experienced discrimination in employment because they were a carer (for an older person or a person with a disability)
  • Only 24% of those who experienced discrimination took action
  • Of those who experienced discrimination, nearly 73% said the experience impacted their workforce participation
  • 88% stated they believed older Australians, those with a disability and their carers experience barriers when they seek work, or in their present employment
  • 80% indicated discrimination reduces the likelihood of keeping older Australians and those with a disability in the workforce
  • Around half the respondents indicated they believed there were practices, attitudes or laws which discourage or prevent equal participation in employment for older Australians and those with a disability
  • 97% stated more flexible working arrangements would assist older workers, workers with a disability and carers of older people and people with a disability to remain in or enter the workforce
  • 28% applied for a flexible working agreement at some point, due to having a disability, being older or having carer commitments
  • 25% were aware of an older worker, person with a disability or carer for a person with a disability who was forced out of a job because they were unable to access flexible working arrangements
  • 64% thought that the experience of age or disability discrimination was different for women.

More about the inquiry

The national inquiry examines practices, attitudes and laws that deny or diminish equal participation in employment of older Australians and Australians with disability, and will make recommendations about action that should be taken to address employment discrimination.

Terms of Reference for the inquiry

  • The obstacles faced by older persons and persons with disabilities in actively participating in the workforce
  • Discrimination against older persons and persons with disabilities as a systemic problem and a considerable barrier to their enjoyment of human rights
  • The economic and social costs, and the costs to productivity, that result from discrimination against older persons and persons with disabilities in employment
  • The Australian Government’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights of older Australians and Australians with disability.


PSA News

Jan 8, 2016

PSA members driving union change

An opinion piece was published in the Daily Telegraph last week about PSA members driving union change.

You can read the article HERE

Sell off of the Land and Property Information Service

The PSA issued a media release today about the huge risks associated with the sell off of the Land and Property Information Service. (LPI)

You can read the media release HERE


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