National Parks and Wildlife Service Joint Consultative Committee meeting - Public Service Association

National Parks and Wildlife Service Joint Consultative Committee meeting

A Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting was held on 10 March between the unions and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) senior management. Issues discussed at this meeting included:

Fire issues

There will be three styles of fire mask provided to fire-trained staff, dependent upon conditions. They will be consistent and compliant with Rural Fire Service and Fire & Rescue masks. The provision of a specific ‘fire shirt’ was discussed. While the Department’s position is that it does not ‘value add’ to fire protection currently afforded by Personal Protection Equipment issued to fire-trained staff, it committed to reviewing this in light of new products being used by other fire agencies.

The PSA raised  concerns about the effectiveness of fire protection units (spray units) currently on trial . Demonstrations and consultation on the units occurred after a bulk order was placed for the delivery of the units.

All staff recruited under the stimulus funded roles  to 2023 will be fire trained. This training will commence soon.

COVID-19 update

There has been a pause placed on letters to ‘show cause’ being forwarded to staff on the North Coast. Forty letters to show cause have been sent to NPWS staff around the state to date. Misconduct letters may follow as there is a breach of the ‘Code of Conduct’ if a staff member does not follow a reasonable direction to be vaccinated. Whilst the PSA indicated that a ‘misconduct’ breach appears harsh, the Department stated it provides individuals the best opportunity to state their case.

Work Health and Safety

Following on from a review of WHS practices, the NPWS Work Health and Safety (WHS) Unit is developing a ‘WHS Roadmap’ followed by a ‘strategic plan’ that ‘contextualises and meets the needs of NPWS’. The focus of the plan will be on WHS culture and leadership.

Following on from the findings of the coronial inquest into fires a mental health plan is being developed to indicate how to access assistance After the 2019/20 fire season and staff impacted by the more recent floods.

Temporary vs ongoing roles

In meetings with the NPWS Executive, the PSA has shared the same view of creating more ongoing roles (as opposed to temporary roles). The PSA will continue to agitate the Government to convert temporary roles to ongoing to keep up with the ever-increasing workload of members as a result of stimulus package projects, increases in visitation and other priorities.

Duty Officer role

There are inconsistencies across the Areas and Branches as to how the Duty Officer role is applied and staff who perform the role. In some instances staff with limited experience have had to perform the role. Advice from the department is that, as a minimum, the staff member required to undertake the role should have performed fire duties as an Incident Controller, Class 2 fires (such as Parks lead incident). Further to this, the Department indicated it is a legitimate role for Rangers to perform and that staff should be appropriately remunerated for undertaking the role.

Casual employment and training

The meeting was advised that it was important that all casual staff should have access to training. Also that casuals have access to CAAM’s to enable them to input incidents into the system. However, the Department advised that access issues at some locations was an issue

Further to this, the meeting was advised that training for dealing with aggressive and threatening behaviour was being offered to all operational staff, along with driver training. A pilot level 2 law enforcement training course will be trialled soon.

Lifetime annual entry permit

A medallion was to be provided to the spouse of any staff member who lost their life in the line of duty. Agreement had been reached on this matter and approved by the Executive. However the tenure of the pass will be 10 years, then it can be renewed.


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