Public Sector Reforms – an attack on workers’ rights - Public Service Association

Public Sector Reforms – an attack on workers’ rights

On Wednesday 27th February, the Government announced its intention to rewrite the Public Sector Employment Management Act, to reform the Senior Executive Service and abolish the Senior Officer classification. These changes have been announced without any prior consultation with the Association. For Senior Officers, the proposal removes their tenure forcing these employees onto a contract.

The proposal, if implemented, will remove the award entitlements of these employees.  The Government will need to legislate to override the award – something that they have done in the past.  Our members in Transport for NSW know this from bitter experience.

Using legislation to extinguish award entitlements threatens not just the entitlements of Senior Officers but undermines the whole award system.

The Association has condemned the proposal in the media as a retrograde step.

This is yet another attack that undermines the professionalism, expertise, and independence of the public sector. Executive contracts, since their introduction by the Greiner Government, have led to increasing political interference in the public service. The recommendation on which the proposals are based comes from Kerry Schott’s Commission of Audit Interim Report. It is not based on any evidence about the superiority of the contract system over a tenure based approach.

The abolition of the Senior Officer classification is partly based on a false assumption – that senior staff needs to be involved in the management of a large number of subordinate staff.  This proposal will rob the sector of a mechanism for rewarding and retaining technical expertise.

The Government’s agenda to further undermine the job security of all public sector workers is evident in these reforms. The proposal foreshadows plans to redraft the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 to remove the concept of permanent “officer” holding a defined position.

The Association has written to the Public Service Commissioner expressing our disappointment at the lack of consultation.  We have also arranged an urgent meeting with the Commissioner.

All SES and Senior Officer members of the PSA are invited to attend a meeting on Thursday 14th March at 4pm at PSA House, 160 Clarence St, Sydney. The meeting will discuss the Union’s response to this proposal. Members who can’t attend and wish to provide input can contact Anthony D’Adam on (02) 9220 0950 or by email: .

As more details become available in relation to the wider reforms, I will provide further advice to members.

Anne Gardiner

General Secretary

Public Service Association

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