Fears Regional Areas will lose Local Police Commands

Sep 28, 2017

PSA media release

The Public Service Association (PSA) holds grave fears many regional areas will be stripped of their local police area command under a Government restructure of NSW Police.

The PSA wrote to Minister Troy Grant last week demanding detail of the restructure – touted the biggest in 20 years – but the Minister has refused to reply.

Particularly concerning to public safety is word of the proposed amalgamation of 11 regional Local Area Commands into just seven.

“Troy Grant needs to come clean and reveal his plan,” said Acting PSA General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“We are extremely concerned about the loss of critical civilian support staff who ensure police are properly equipped to be able to undertake the full range of their duties on behalf of their local communities.

“Workers across the state will be affected including counter staff at Police stations, Forensics officers, Intelligence analysts who track crime patterns and Community Liaison officers.

“As a former uniformed officer himself, I would have thought Troy Grant would be very well aware of the vital role played by civilian support staff in day to day policing in NSW.

“Rather than providing some clarity and reassurance for local communities and staff, particularly in regional areas, it appears the Minister is happy for the restructure process to remain a shambolic drip feed of selective information.

“Job cuts in regional areas mean less money going into the local community, families being forced to move elsewhere, taking their spending money with them and removing their kids from local schools.

“Every job in the bush feeds into six others from the local supermarket to car dealers”.

“It’s the ripple effect of economics and in the end the community is the big loser”.

“The National Party must speak up against these cuts and reassure their constituents that police will still have the vital support that allows them to get out of the office and fully serve their communities.”

Govt ignoring child protection inquiry a disgrace – PSA

Sep 20, 2017

PSA Media release

The Public Service Association (PSA) has slammed the NSW Government for supporting only 12 of the 28 recommendations made by a Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Protection.

A key recommendation to extend the Auditor General’s powers to ensure accountability of all non-Government child protection organisations that receive state funding was among those ignored.

The union launched its “Safe hands” campaign during Child Protection Week to highlight the crisis which, among other horrors, sees up to 200 children housed by the Government in hotels and motels across the state each night due to a critical shortage of appropriate alternatives.

“The PSA has been sounding the alarm about a crisis in child protection and now the Government is ignoring the recommendations of a Parliamentary Inquiry which begs the question, who will this Government listen to on this critical social issue?” said Acting PSA General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“Unlike all public sector agencies, the Government clearly doesn’t want the Auditor General to regulate private providers who will continue to operate unchecked with millions of dollars of tax payer funds.

“Children are being removed from situations of risk every week across NSW and placed in completely unsuitable, insecure and potentially dangerous accommodation or are handed to private unregulated Out of Home Care providers.

“We have reports of supervision of these children being provided by private contractors at a cost of between $12,000 and $16,000 per week per child with no case management, no continuity of care and sometimes a different minder every shift.

“Yet incredibly, the Government has shied away from a recommendation to extend the Auditor General’s powers to ensure accountability in performamce of all non-Government child protection organisations that receive state funding”.

“The NSW Government is attempting to wipe its hands of responsibility for child protection and outsourcing its statutory duty of care for these children at the time when they need it most.

“We are witnessing a child protection system in crisis where children and families who urgently require support are either not receiving it, or, the nature of the intervention carries with it its own inherent risk of harm.

“Now the Government is not only ignoring these kids but is thumbing its nose at a Parliamentary Inquiry that was established to try and fix critical problems” said Troy Wright.

Govt spends tens of millions on consultants, tries to block pay rise for disability workers

Sep 19, 2017

PSA media release

The Public Service Association (PSA) has slammed the $10 million rise in the budget for consultants in one public sector agency alone while the Government cuts jobs and argues against a 2.5% pay rise for disability care workers.

“The Treasurer can defend the expenditure on the basis the Government is undertaking “unprecedented and complicated reforms” but what he doesn’t say is that process involves the wholesale sell off of public services in NSW such as the Land Titles Registry, disability and Out of Home Care,” said Acting PSA General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“The savage irony is that many of these Departments are spending money on consultants to manage the after-effects of employees being replaced with consultants”.

Read the full media release HERE.

 

 

 

 

$50 million announcement no relief for schools staff

Sep 12, 2017

PSA Media release

The announcement by NSW Minister for Education, Rob Stokes about reducing the administrative burden on Principals, demonstrates his lack of understanding of how our public schools really function said the Public Service Association (PSA).

The union was responding to the Minister’s announcement that $50 million in flexible funding is to be provided to Principals to employ business managers.

“The fact is School Administrative and Support staff (SASS) rather than Principals shoulder the responsibility for the daily functioning of our public schools,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“School Admin Managers and School Admin Officers expertly undertake the financial and administrative role in schools while General Assistants handle maintenance and the upkeep of school grounds.

“School finance was delegated to schools as part of the Local Schools, Local Decisions initiative which saw Principals get a pay rise when in effect, these tasks were delegated to School Admin Managers and School Admin Officers.

“The Minister is clearly unaware of this yet is throwing $50 million at an issue he doesn’t understand.

“What is needed is better resources and more existing staff.

“Further training for SAS Staff such as School Admin Managers and School Administrative Officers would cost far less than $50 million”.

National Park cuts let loose wild dogs and bushfires

Jul 19, 2017

PSA Media release

Large areas of the state will be left exposed to bushfires and uncontrolled wild dogs in the wake of a restructure of National Park operations by the Office of Environment & Heritage, the Public Service Association (PSA) says.

The restructure in the lead up to the bushfire season, when experienced planning should be in full swing, will also impact on the safety of the 30 million people who each year flock to the state’s National Parks.

“The Government’s assault on this workforce is nothing less than a direct attack on public safety,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

“Just last month, a Coffs Harbour resident was confronted by three wild dogs outside her house, while   a southern NSW grazier has built a $300,000, 32-kilometre fence to keep the feral population out.

“At a time when the wild dog population is peaking in the bush, Area Manager positions are being cut leaving farmers alone to deal with the issue and the potential for further significant stock losses.

Area managers coordinate and seek funding to resource wild dog control programs for their areas but  have already been hampered by severe job cuts.

NPWS has lost 100 experienced Rangers over the past few years with this restructure set to further decimate their ranks – an impact that will be particularly felt in regional areas and by farmers.

“In recent years, NPWS has downsized from 66 areas across the state to what will be just 35 under this latest restructure, with staffing reduced accordingly,” Mr Little said.

“Already 14 Regional Managers have been lost and now 15 Area Managers, who also manage bushfires, will be cut as part of the restructure that has just been announced.

“The savage irony is that the National Parks and Wildlife Service this year celebrates its 50th anniversary yet hundreds and hundreds of years of experience is being shunted out the door,” Mr Little said.

“National Parks’ staff are expert front line fire fighters protecting lives, private property, forestry, homes, pastures, the lot.

“The skills of these individuals are learned on the ground, not in a classroom, so it will take years to replace the knowledge we are once more about to lose.

Berejiklian Madness as 500 Jobs Cut from TAFE

Jun 21, 2017

PSA media release

More than 500 jobs from TAFE will be cut in the middle of a skills shortage under the latest act of Berejiklian madness, the Public Service Association says.

Despite having a $4 billion plus surplus, the NSW Government has jeopardised the future of NSW by attacking the prospects of the very worker bees required to drive the economy.

In the budget papers under Industry Clusters, TAFE full-time equivalent (FTE) workers for 2016-2017 is listed at 10,470.

In the budget forecast for 2017 -2018, that number drops by 501 to just 9,969 FTE TAFE workers.

The cuts have hit both TAFE teaching and support staff.

PSA General Secretary Stewart Little said TAFE jobs underpin the future workforce of NSW.

“The Government is again attacking the capacity of TAFE to properly train our future workforce. This is an assault on generations to come and the NSW economy itself.”

“Who is going to build all these roads to nowhere?”

Also disappointing is the commitment to the safety of children at risk. Despite promising to increase child protection, the Government has failed to fill vacant Community Services case worker roles.

In the Western division alone, which covers the Riverina and Far West, only 56 positions are filled out of 101.  On the North Coast it’s even worse like in Coffs Harbour, where only two out of 11 Aboriginal case worker positions have been filled.

“This is a Government that makes grand promises but just does not hire people to fill the jobs” said Acting PSA Assistant General Secretary, Kris Cruden.

“We have approximately half of the Aboriginal Child Protection workers positions vacant and well over 100 case worker vacancies at any time. How are these people ever going to see children at risk if the government would rather squirrel away money for another edifice?”

The PSA also noted that a number of court and justice services will be cut making community access to justice and fairness that much more difficult.

The NSW Government promises to grow the Arts and Cultural infrastructure, but over the last three years, the NSW Museum and State Library has seen a third of staff cut.

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