DPI Fisheries: Member update on Tumut and Jindabyne Fisheries Office reform dispute - Public Service Association

DPI Fisheries: Member update on Tumut and Jindabyne Fisheries Office reform dispute

Many PSA members often ask ‘what happens when the PSA goes to court’ and argues disputes that relate to their work matters? Does the PSA have Perry Mason-like representatives at the bar just waiting for the ‘got ya’ moment?  Is it all hostility and asinine name calling?

Conciliation instead looks like a mediation between the parties, where the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) Commissioner is seeking to understand the facts of the dispute and to (as much as possible) broach common ground or agreement on moving forward. It is arbitration however, after the failed conciliation of matters, that require the statements, caselaw and lawyers at 20 paces.

Keeping members in the loop regarding the proposed One Fisheries Officer station is important because of the angst the proposed reform has created amongst our membership. To read a copy of the transcript of proceedings before the IRC, click HERE.

It is important to note that this transcript is not the entirety of the discussions between the parties as a significant portion took place off camera with the Commissioner in private conciliation. This is simply a record of the case outline, the DPI Fisheries’ response and the way forward as proposed by the Commission for the time being.

Risk assessment

Part of the PSA dispute related to the failure of DPI Fisheries to administer risk assessment on the proposed change in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The PSA’s argument is that the codification of one up FO stations poses an unacceptable WHS risk that requires elimination or mitigation.

On Friday 9 September the PSA and members of the FOVB Executive were provided with a copy of that assessment: Better late than never.

PSA Specialists and the FOVB will provide a detailed response to the risk assessment as part of the disputation process. This is to happen before the next report back in the NSW IRC on 23 September.

Other matters

Whilst the WHS matters that relate to the dispute have been the primary driver, the proposed reform raises several operational questions for other areas:

  • The proposed Inland Mobile Squad will be led by a District Fisheries Officer. So what does that mean for other Mobile Squads, primarily on the coast that are led by a FO3? Where is the consistency and does that mean those current structures are under-graded?
  • What kind of operation will exist in a one up station?
  • What does this mean for current service delivery, or lack thereof?
  • What work doesn’t get done?
  • What do those fundamental limitations on duties look like in the eyes of our fee-paying public in premier freshwater fishing locations?
  • If successful, where else would DPI Fisheries like to administer one up stations?

The PSA will keep members updated on the progress of the disputation. If members have any questions, speak to your Fisheries Officers Vocational Branch Delegates or the PSA .

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