NPWS members’ bulletin
Volunteers and ongoing roles
In late December 2014, the PSA became aware that staff at the Jindabyne Visitors Centre had been informed that consideration was being given to volunteers undertaking some of the roles of paid staff.
A potential outcome of that plan is that the Department would reduce the number of paid positions and replace those staff with volunteers.
While the PSA and NPWS have strong consultative arrangements in place for any proposed changes that affect staff, consultation did not occur in this case.
The PSA immediately contacted OEH Employee Relations for the background to this change and the rationale for the move towards volunteers.
At the time, the Department was not able to provide an acceptable response but have recently contacted the PSA with the information requested.
The advice provided by OEH Employee Relations is that the decision to instigate a volunteer system was a local decision and not done in consultation with Employee Relations.
OEH ER has advised local managers that a volunteer proposal will not proceed until the appropriate consultation has taken place.
In addition, they have informed the PSA there is no plan to replace staff now or in the future with volunteers in visitor centres.
While the PSA acknowledges the value of volunteers the union will continue to ensure that our members’ positions are secure and appropriately recognised for the valuable work they do.