On 11 December, 2019 the PSA attended DPIE’s Joint Consultative Committee. This is the quarterly forum where your PSA representatives and the AWU representatives meet with DPIE management to talk about the issues that affect you at work. The following issues were discussed:
EES Update – Ms Anissa Levy
- There will be no large organisational changes across EES. Ms Levy discussed the efficiency dividends. There is a ‘legacy’ efficiency dividend which means that the current efficiency dividends in EES is larger than in other parts of DPIE and the public service. There is no ‘staff freeze’ but managers have been asked to be “cautious” with their hiring and only hire essential roles. Due to this, they have met and gone under their existing budget.
- The PSA asked whether there is a compliance review, the Deputy Secretary said that there is no review into compliance. There is no intention for fundamental changes in compliance within EES and there is certainly no intention to place these functions within Planning. There is a heads of agencies taskforce to assess roles based on the principle of creating a ‘one stop shop’ including front-facing agencies, such as Enviroline and licencing. Members may have received a survey asking what work should be done as part of this process. There is, currently, no desire to cut jobs in compliance.
- The contracts of contingent staff have been extended beyond Xmas and will be reviewed in early 2020. The PSA urged management to hire permanent workers.
- If travel claims are not being signed, members should let the Industrial Relations unit know.
Below are managements’ intentions and future plans for the following regions and workhubs:
90 Spaces will be retained to allow people to go there for EES, they will all be hot desks and there will be a booking system to determine who can use those. It is intended to be an ‘as needs’ hub, for workers who need to work in the city for specific reasons, such as court hearings and CBD meetings.
The move to Hunter Street will be in January/February 2021. EES staff may or may not be moving there. The PSA raised the importance of giving workers stability about the location of their future workplace and management said that they will tell us when a decision has been made. There has been no decision on whether the Hunter Street location will be ‘agile’ or not. The reasons for the delay in these decisions is that the current focus of the department is on the new building in Parramatta, then the focus will be on Orange and then Newcastle.
The move to new premises will occur in October/November 2020.
There is no intention to move the Resources Regulator, or any other Maitland Staff, to Newcastle.
There has not been a decision on whether to make 90 Crown Street an ‘agile’ space, or not. However, it is being considered and there has been an audit into the office. The PSA conveyed the importance of fixed desks and of giving workers stability about what their future office looks like. The PSA also advocated for more regional hubs in Wollongong and management acknowledgement the strong interest of having more desks in Wollongong.
General DPIE Updates – Industrial Relations & WHS
Working from Home
If you would like to work from home and have an existing arrangement with your manager, you can keep these existing arrangements. If you would like to apply for a working from home arrangement, you can find the document by searching Flexible Working Request Form on the intranet or you can click HERE.
After filling the form in, lodge it with your manager. DPIE’s current policy is that all workers be allowed to work from home for at least one day and that two days of working from home should be allowed unless there is a good reason to deny this request.
The Secretary of DPC wrote to Jim Betts in late November to accept the transfer of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage to DPC. The administrative order is currently being worked through and there is an intention to have this done within January. As current compliance workers often use ACH staff for expert advice, there will likely be a memorandum of understanding with DPC and DPIE.
The draft WHS policy is currently being written and will be provided to the unions for comments in early 2020. Within DPIE, there are currently two EAPs providers, Access and DI. Both contracts will be ending in late next year and in the meantime, the two providers are both accessible to workers across DPIE. The contracts will be reviewed next year.
Health and Safety Representatives have now been elected across DPIE. As such, there will be training offered for elected HSRs. The PSA is working with the department and the AWU on the makeup of that training. The PSA pushed for proper training and will continue to be involved in this process.
The EPA will be undergoing a realignment. This will be discussed in depth at a later meeting. The PSA conveyed the importance of consultation during this process.
The Joint Consultative Committee will be reconvened in March, June, September and December 2020.