Members would be aware of the current work ban regarding work under Acts such as the Biosecurity Act and the EPBC Act where the lawful use and carriage of batons and handcuffs was uncertain and separate to the normal compliance functions under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.
The work bans were introduced because Fisheries Compliance Management (FCM), since mid 2017, has not provided the PSA/FOVB with any certainty as to the lawfulness of officers carrying and using defensive equipment. The PSA and FOVB Executive thought it fundamentally important members felt confident they could legally use defensive equipment when operating in these ‘other realms’.
One ramification of the work ban was that patrol activity within Commonwealth Marine Parks ceased. This impacted on NSW DPI accessing external funding from Parks Australia, the Commonwealth Department for managing these Marine Parks. This inability to access funding seems to have motivated the Department to resolve the issue.
During discussions with the PSA and FOVB Executive on Thursday 26 March, FCM committed to providing clear advice on the lawfulness of the carriage and use of defensive equipment in Commonwealth Marine Reserves. Since this time FCM has drafted Supplementary Work Instructions – Batons and Handcuffs and Commonwealth Marine Parks. This addresses the issue. The FOVB Executive maintains this now provides the level of clarity to FOVB members originally sought regarding the possession and use of batons and handcuffs in Commonwealth Marine Parks.
The FOVB Executive also received commitments from FCM for addressing the remaining issues associated with the work ban. This relates to the carriage and use of defensive equipment when operating in other jurisdictions (states/territories) and when operating in NSW under other legislation, such as the Biosecurity Act. We are advised this is actively being rectified and will be provided in due course.
As a gesture of good will, that our legitimate industrial, legal and safety concerns are being heard and dealt with, FCM has requested the partial lifting of the relevant work bans to enable patrol activity to recommence in Commonwealth Marine Parks.
The FOVB Executive supports the partial lifting of the work bans. As part of the democratic processes within your union, the PSA is seeking endorsement from the membership. Please click on the link below to vote to accept or decline the partial lifting of the current work ban. The survey itself will take no more than 30 seconds.
The PSA and FOVB Executive ask that you read and understand the information provided so that you can make an informed decision.
Voting will close at 5pm Monday 20 April.