National Parks and Wildlife Service update - Public Service Association

National Parks and Wildlife Service update

On 7 September 2022 the PSA attended the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting. Some of the main issues discussed during the meeting were:

Grading of administrative roles in NPWS

 The PSA raised concerns the NPWS admin staff undertake functions far above the grades, particularly the clerk 1/2  and 3/4. This includes work being allocated to such roles in an inequitable and unfair manner. Further to this, there is no consistency across the state. The PSA believes the admin staff workloads are untenable. The PSA will continue to advocate that this ceases. As an example; Clerk 1/2s should only have to perform the duties as identified in the Clerk 1/2 role description.

Report from Head of Parks

Atticus Fleming advised the meeting that the NPWS budget was being uploaded and that a budget would be provided in September.

The recently announced 250 new roles in NPWS will not be recruited until July 2023. A draft recruitment,  such as vacant roles, will be filled with ongoing roles and a number of temporary roles will be made permanent.

WHS update (including CAMMs reporting and sexual harassment policy)

The PSA raise concerns that CAMMs is not user-friendly. Members have advised it is a little clunky, which is the reason some staff are reluctant to report incidents. Management advised they were refining  the system to make it more user-friendly, allowing staff to easily report incidents.

Also staff with grievances are directed to used the Department of Planning and Environment portal to report such matters. Further to this, CAMMs cannot extract specific data on issues such as chainsaw injuries or staff that may be affected by issues such as adverse public reaction to the feral horse issue. Management also recognised deaths on Parks are having an impact on staff and are working on strategies to better support staff who have been directly affected by these incidents

Compliance courses have been rolled out for dealing with aggressive behaviour and Level 1 Law Enforcement training. Due to the PSA’s advocacy , one level two law enforcement training course has been run, however the Department is currently reviewing the future need for level two courses, the PSA will continue to advocate the need for these courses to continue.

NPWS advised that the review of law enforcement and compliance safety has been completed and is being considered by the Department. Any recommendations will be overseen by the law enforcement working group, which has representation from the PSA.

Western and Northern Inland Branch staffing strategy

A strategy is being prepared to tackle recruitment and retention issues in these branches. Last week the PSA met with NPWS/DPE managers from these branches to provide input into the strategy. It was a very constructive discussion. The PSA hopes that, given better educational opportunities, mentoring, training and work programs for local Indigenous and other community members in these branches, plus better incentives to work and reside in these branches, that some of the issues confronting applicants for such roles in remote locations will be resolved.

NPWS housing

The meeting was advised that in Kosciuszko National Park, five houses at Waste Point and one at Blowering were being rented after an Expression of Interest had been offered to staff. However flats and other houses in Royal National Park would not be leased at the moment as the Department was of the belief that significant investment was required to bring the assets up to standard to be rented.

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