National Parks Vocational Branch: Update for members - Public Service Association

National Parks Vocational Branch: Update for members

The National Parks Vocational Branch (NPVB) met on Tuesday 13 February to discuss a range of issues.

People Matters Employees Survey

The PSA is disappointed to see that only a brief overview of the People Matters Employees Survey (PMES) has been provided to National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff. In previous years, a full PMES report, analysing the NPWS results, has been provided to all staff.

The PSA has written to NPWS management requesting that a full report is provided to all staff.

Special Investigations Unit and law enforcement in NPWS

The committee noted that recent changes have been made to training for law enforcement, including the rollout of a refresher for dealing with threatening and aggressive situations and level 1 law enforcement training. It also noted a level 2 law enforcement course has been scheduled. The PSA has been advocating for many years to improve safety of staff doing law enforcement through better training, so it is pleasing to see progress in this area.

Given the split up of the Department of Planning and the Environment, concerns have been raised about the resourcing of the specialist investigation unit and ensuring NPWS is provided with support for investigations. The PSA will continue to advocate for additional staff to be added to this unit.

Issues impacting women

The meeting discussed the need for better support from NPWS (particularly the human resource section) on issues impacting women. There is a peer support group for those members affected by menopause. International Women’s Day (IWD) is on 8 March and the PSA and NPVB delegates are preparing some events for this day.

The key message for IWD is that the PSA supports women to have equal opportunity to long and distinguished careers in NPWS.

Ranger workload issues

The PSA has still not received the results of the Ranger survey and will continue to ask NPWS management for a copy of the results.

Given the pace of growth in NPWS and the increase in programs and responsibilities, the PSA remains concerned about the fact that Ranger numbers have not kept pace, meaning that Ranger workloads have increased dramatically. The PSA is also looking at the issue of Rangers being replaced by Clerk 7/8 project officers in some instances.

Administrative staff survey result

The PSA has received a summary of the results of the Administrative staff survey. PSA staff and Delegates are reviewing the report, but the initial size up is what we suspected, that Admin staff are overworked and underappreciated. The PSA has requested a copy of the full survey results and have sought a meeting with NPWS management to discuss the implementation of actions to improve the working conditions for Admin staff, including re-evaluation of certain roles.

The PSA will continue to campaign for better resources and improved working conditions for Admin staff.

Rostering arrangements for seven-day workers

The meeting discussed the recent ED memo on rostering for seven-day workers. In some areas, a more flexible approach is taken. However, the PSA is still receiving reports of inflexible rostering arrangements in some areas, covering periods much longer than one settlement period as per the Award.

As reiterated in the ED memo, rostering should take into account both NPWS needs and the personal needs of employees. The approved roster should only be for one four-week period, not 12 months in advance. Any roster that is prepared more than one period in advance should only be considered a draft.

The PSA has also received reports of members being rostered to work more than the required number of public holidays per year (up to five public holidays for members receiving a 17 per cent loading; or three for members receiving an 8.5 per cent loading). If directed to work additional weekends or public holidays you are entitled to a penalty rates. If this has not been paid you can submit a claim backdated to a maximum of six years.

 Great Koala National Park

The establishment of the Great Koala National Park GKNP was discussed at the meeting. It is likely to result in a significant increase in NPWS estate in North Coast Branch.

The PSA is represented on a local committee to discuss the implications of the establishment of the GKNP. A delegation from the PSA will be visiting the North Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday 12-13 March to discuss any concerns PSA members may have with the establishment of the GKNP and its future management.

The PSA will continue to advocate for adequate resources to properly manage this new addition, including office and depot accommodation, vehicles and staff.

Machinery of Government issues

The PSA has serious concerns with the move of whole corporate service teams, including WHS and Payroll, to the new Department of Planning, Housing and Industry rather than being shared with DCCEEW. Given the specific work environment in NPWS, and its unique award and pay conditions, we will keep a watching brief to make sure that the services provided to members do not suffer. Please report any issues with underpayment, particularly of overtime claims and when roster changes affect public holidays. The PSA will be requesting a copy of the service agreement between DCCEEW and DPHI regarding the provision of corporate services.

Your Delegate team

The PSA’s delegates in NPWS are as follows:

  • Ben Owers National Parks Vocational Branch Chair
  • Janet Cavanaugh NPVB Secretary
  • Peter Mylan Deputy Chair
  • Annie Thompson Aboriginal Staff Representative
  • Aimee Poole Admin Representative
  • Naomi Goosen Women’s Representative & Delegate (Blue Mountains)
  • Steve (Stumpy) Carter Delegate for Kosciuszko Field Staff
  • Andy Leach Park Programs Representative (such as Business Delivery, CAP and FIOB)
  • Angela Lewis Delegate (West and Northern Inland)
  • Phuong Le – delegate (Greater Sydney)
  • Martin Smith Delegate (North Coast)
  • Alex Deura Delegate (South Coast)
  • Danny Corcoran Delegate (Southern Ranges)

Did you know you can support the operation of the NPVB through making an additional small contribution through your pay? 

Just send an email to  requesting an ongoing contribution to the National Parks Vocational Branch of the PSA.

These donations are tax-deductible and will appear on the annual statement provided by DPE to the Australian Tax Office. As little as $2 per pay can assist with our campaigns.

Do YOU need support?

Contact one of the NPVB executive or the PSA’s Member Support Centre on 1800 772 679.


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