Strength Behind the Force - Public Service Association

Strength Behind the Force

The Strength Behind the Force: Penrith Police Radio Proposed Relocation

On 15 November 2021, the PSA was advised that the NSW Police Force intended to close the Penrith Radio Operations Centre (ROC) early in 2022 and transfer all positions to Surry Hills.

After consultation with PSA Delegates and members at ROC, it was decided to reject the planned move and campaign to reverse the decision.

The PSA’s initial bulletin to members at ROC went out on 16 November 2021. You can read it HERE

The PSA lodged a Dispute with the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on the basis of a lack of any meaningful consultation around the proposal, which was scheduled to be heard on 24 November 2021.

In addition to action in the IRC, the PSA planned to hold a community meeting/rally at Penrith RSL on Thursday 25 November 2021 from 5:00pm

The PSA will also be attending the Penrith Radio Room after the meeting to speak to the radio operators who cannot make it.

The “proposal”, which flies in the face of years of policy bringing jobs to Western Sydney, was rushed through with zero consultation. A significant number of affected Communications Officers from Penrith will be forced to find other employment, placing crippling stress on a Radio Operations system which is already suffering from a staffing crisis.

A further problem is that with staff from two centres crammed together in Surry Hills, a single COVID infection could take out half the state’s radio operators for days. This flies in the face of prudent disaster management techniques, which favour decentralisation of resources to provide redundancy.

Local member and Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, has responded to desperate requests for assistance from constituents by washing his hands of the issue and passing the buck to Police Minister David Elliott. The issue has received attention in local and state newspapers and on talk-back radio. A wave of opposition to this short-sighted measure is building in the local area. The PSA will be making sure that the pressure is maintained and seek to reverse the decision.

Read the second bulletin from the PSA to members HERE

Backlash against the decision to relocate the Penrith Radio Operations Centre to Surry Hills continues to build.

On Tuesday 23 November, Shadow Minister for Police Walt Secord made a statement to Parliament condemning the decision.  You can read that statement HERE.

The PSA subsequently wrote to Police Minister David Elliott to request he review the decision to rip jobs out of Western Sydney.  You can view that correspondence HERE.

On Wednesday 24 November, while your PSA Industrial Officer was in the Industrial Relations Commission regarding the “proposal”, the PSA General Secretary was interviewed by Ray Hadley on 2GB, with Ray expressing bewilderment with the decision. You can listen to that interview HERE.

With momentum building, the PSA urges all affected staff, together with their families and friends, to attend the Community Meeting at Penrith RSL at 5:00pm on Thursday 25 November.

On Wednesday morning, the PSA and the Police Association appeared before Commissioner Muir to hear our dispute. The Police Association formally joined the PSA’s dispute and supported our case.

The unions argued that the Police Force had failed to comply with Government and Police policies for consultation. After conciliation, the Police Force has agreed to hold meetings with the unions and provide a briefing on the business case and business continuity planning, as well as receive union submissions.

The dispute has been listed for Report Back on 7 December 2021 and the Police Force has agreed not to close the consultation process before then. This win at least forces the Force to provide a detailed business case, as opposed to eight dot points in an email. It also allows us to progress our considered arguments against this decision.

The PSA welcomes incoming Police Commissioner Karen Webb, and will be seeking a meeting to discuss this, and other issues facing our members.

Read the third PSA Bulletin to members HERE

PSA WIN: Penrith move cancelled

On 25 November 2021, Thanks to a fantastic and collective effort by our members in the Police Radio Rooms, the Penrith Radio Operations Centre will not be closed.

After our aggressive campaign, including lots of media coverage, and support from radio broadcaster Ray Hadley as well as statements of support from the NSW Opposition and Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown, NSWPF has realised that removing 70 jobs from Western Sydney was a bad idea.

The relocation has been stopped – for now. We need to remain vigilant and prepare for this type of thing in the future. A strong, well-organised workplace group of union delegates and members, willing to act and fight against the proposed relocation, with the support of PSA Industrial Staff, led to our win. Congratulations to everyone involved.

See Media Stories HERE – Ray Hadley, Telegraph, Western Weekender

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