On 7 June 2019, the PSA and delegates attended our second meeting with new Secretary Jim Betts to discuss the Machinery of Government changes. The following are key points from the meeting.
- Whilst DPIE had intended to provide a more defined structure by now, unfortunately it had not been finalised yet. Finalised executive structures would be distributed before July.
- There will be 10% cut in costs incurred at the Senior Executive level, in line with Government expectations.
- The budget will come out on 18 June. Whilst there will be the need for cost reductions, Mr Betts expressed that he thought the impact on staff would be less than expected.
- DPIE are aiming for savings in areas other than staffing (for example, in accommodation costs with the move of some staff to Parramatta and Newcastle).
- However, DPIE referred to the fact that where people were on fixed term contracts they need to be clear that there are no guarantees of extensions beyond the final date, particularly when linked to funding.
- The PSA raised concern pertaining to Local Land Services and the high number of employees affected by fixed term funding (including Commonwealth funding). This has also been discussed locally with commitments to strategise on an ongoing basis to minimise negative impacts.
- The PSA asked about Corporate Services and were advised that whilst such roles will be looked at (particularly in regard to duplication) there would be no immediate action (before July). Mr Betts also advised that they would look at natural attrition.
- We were advised that there was no expectation of closing DPIE regional offices. Whilst there is some movement regarding Maitland there will still be a presence there despite some movement to Newcastle.
- Eventually systems, such as payroll, will be brought together.
- Policies too, will eventually be brought together but this will take some time and require consultation. Until this is done staff will work under their current policies.
- There will be a common branding of organisations under DPIE. Some existing branding exemptions will be retained under that of DPIE.
- Delegations will largely be in place by 1 July. This will include Financial operational and non-Financial (i.e. HR etc.). It is acknowledged that some fine turning will be required.
- Current awards will continue.
- Processes are being developed for those entering and exiting DPIE. Until there are more formalised discussions in the future people would remain under their existing flex systems. The only exception to this would be the incoming Regional Development from DPC who will immediately come under DOI Flex Agreement. 3 months will be allowed for them to use up any banked accruals.
- There was some discussion in relation to the Parramatta relocation. In light of the MOG Changes and the potential for more people to move there than anticipated they have engaged consultants to take a further look at how different groups and individual’s work. There will be more discussion in this matter.
- Mr Betts will continue to visit offices and advise that nothing is off limits for discussion. He recognises that with the general uncertainty, the concerns regarding the budget, relocations for some staff and other factors, that there is a lot of stress out there.
The PSA continues to welcome comments and questions from our membership. The next meeting is on 21 June 2019.