Resilience NSW update - Public Service Association

Resilience NSW update

The PSA has been in communication over the last week with Resilience NSW in regard to the current Base camp at Wollongbar and other significant related issues. We advised you earlier in the week of the outcome of initial communication and that regular meetings were being set up on a weekly basis between Resilience and the PSA.

In advance of  the meeting that had been scheduled for today, the PSA held a members, meeting on Tuesday 29 March where we were advised of the significant stresses they were under. We forwarded these issues to management on Wednesday 30 March .

In particular we highlighted the following:

  • that the base camp had been washed out the previous night and we were concerned for the welfare of our members and sought clear advice on how they were being supported and what risk assessments were being conducted.
  • Additionally to previous concerns regarding potential COVID-19 exposure we raised the camp had many major shortfalls that  required addressing including water getting into the camp, water around wiring, lack of reasonable facilities (including chairs, places to perform their work, any level of privacy).
  • The trauma staff are experiencing dealing with the horrific occurrences that are the results of this emergency situation. Without sufficient training or support they are dealing with human tragedies that include homelessness, domestic violence and all other areas of personal suffering. What is happening here is indicative of previously expressed concerns. What is being done immediately to support staff who are now suffering from the impact of this situation? Apart from immediate supports for staff we also seek that Psychological First Aid training or any training pertaining to trauma is provided to staff.
  • the uncertainty within the organisation, seemingly at multiple levels, of entitlements under the Award as it relates to overtime, travel time and allowances.

Management sought agreement to postpone today’s meeting to Monday next week to allow them to deal with urgent on-ground matters related to these matters, particularly the ongoing accommodation for staff previously at the Wollongbar Base camp. They advised that they would keep us updated tomorrow and over the weekend.

The PSA have expressed the view that staff should not be returned to the camp.

We were advised that evacuated staff were provided with safe, dry accommodation at two indoor (built) locations – TAFE Wollongbar and DPI Wollongbar. Meals are provided and RAT testing is occurring. There will be a decision taken today on ongoing accommodation.

The PSA have expressed the view that staff should not be returned to the camp. If they were not to agree to this a thorough risk assessment ensuring an appropriate accommodation would be required. On this basis the PSA agreed to defer the meeting until Monday.

There will certainly be ongoing discussions on all the matters we raised above as management do not agree with the views expressed by the PSA relating to lack of mental health/well-being support or advice concerning Award conditions and entitlements.

With your brilliant and hard-working delegates we will continue to press these issues.

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