• Private certifier gets nailed – depaNews November 2010
  • Wake up and don't worry - depaNews February 2011
  • HR professionals – depaNews January 2009
  • Upper Hunter gets coy – depaNews March 2011
  • BPB kills off B1 & B2 - depaNews July 2009
  • Councillors behaving badly Part One - depaNews December 2009
  • Councillors behaving badly Part Two - depaNews December 2009
  • Who is Peter Hurst? - depaNews August 2010
  • It's time to go, Peter Part One - depaNews September 2006
  • It's time to go Peter Part Two - depaNews December 2006
  • BPB survey on accreditation – depaNews November 2008
  • Improbable things start to come true – depaNews June 2010
  • Sex, lies and development – depaNews February 2008
  • Pizza man feeds non-members – depaNews April 2011
  • Bankstown wins HR Award – depaNews December 2010
  • Love him or loathe him - depaNews October 2007
  • Good Bad & Ugly issue – depaNews November 2010
  • Upper Hunter lets the dogs out - depaNews February 2011
  • IRC puts brakes on belligerent seven – depaNews June 2009
  • It's Tweedledum and not Tweedledumber - depaNews March 2007
  • 28 April International Day of Mourning - depaNews April 2009
  • IRC orders Hurst 'apology' published - depaNews December 2010
  • Debate on IR policy – depaNews August 2007
  • Developer agrees to apologise – depaNews November 2010
  • OH&S Day of Mourning – depaNews April 2009

The Development and Environmental Professionals' Association (depa)

Welcome to the depa website. We are an industrial organisation representing professional employees working in local government in New South Wales in a variety of jobs in the fields of environmental health, public health, building and development control and planning.

We take a broad approach to our responsibilities to members and give advice and assistance on professional issues as well as industrial and workplace issues. We understand what members do at work and that allows us to take a holistic approach.  Read more about us...

This site will keep you up-to-date with union news and the diverse range of workplace advocacy issues we deal with daily. We have made it easy for members to contact us with online forms and quickly Join depa onlne nowaccess information from our extensive FAQs.

Bankstown wins HR Award – depaNews December 2010

Golden dog turd – December 2010

No real surprise in 2010 HR awards

Dammit, we were hoping for a bit of anxiety, some doubt to keep the contestants on their toes and the bookies uncertain. What we got was Bankstown, a clear winner with daylight second. A funny state of affairs for a Council which is historically "Labor" and with an ALP Mayor.

We have had an unfortunate history with this Council. In our December 2005 issue, we ran a competition about whether there was "anywhere worse than Bankstown" and found that there wasn't.

In summarising the year we listed:

• Sacking a member who lost his licence when they could have easily accommodated other travel arrangements.

• Breaching the Award by establishing a Consultative Committee with other people not agreed to by union delegates.

• Breaching the Award by not having a Salary System that provides annual reviews or progression based on the acquisition and use of skills.

• Sacking another member for losing his licence when they could have easily accommodated other travel arrangements.

• Making changes to the organisation structure, and refusing to have a meeting of members but offering individual meetings where management can stand over individual employees.

• Refusing, unsuccessfully, to allow a member part-time work (even though they enticed him to come and work there on the basis that he could do this) to accommodate his family needs.

We excluded what used to be known as City Approvals where they had "a more benign managerial style" and we could have added the second dispute in 2005 mentioned above about the punitive approach to access to overtime but we were trying to be gracious and full of goodwill because it was the end of the year.

In 2006 were able to settle all these disputes after the intervention of the Council but in 2010 we were back in the Commission three times.

The first under section 106 for a member suspended without any good reason and eventually settled with a protective Deed of Release that doesn't allow us to say any more than the dispute was resolved. Even though we can't tell you why, we love settling disputes like this. That’s depa 1 – Bankstown City Council nil.

The second, when the Council acted unreasonably by directing a member of ours about to go on leave for six weeks to remain for another nine weeks to reduce sick leave accumulation and where the other 12 or 13 people who received a similar letter the following day were given time and an option of agreeing to something else. This was a dispute where the Commission eventually directed the Council to withdraw that direction and to properly consult with employees if they propose to change long-standing HR practices. That’s depa 2 – Bankstown City Council nil.

The third, about how they deal with the flexibility of an employee's kids growing up and wanting to return to full-time work. And that's depa 3 – Bankstown City Council nil.

We have had more disputes with Bankstown than any other council ever and we had more disputes with Bankstown this year than with any other Council. And they’ve lost the lot.

Congratulations to Bankstown City Council - we look forward to continuing our relationship with you in 2011.

Robbo's Pearls...

LGS restores uranium nuclear screening

26 April marks 31 years since the largest nuclear energy disaster in history at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. The disaster contaminated a huge area of the Ukraine, now known as the Chernobyl exclusion zone covering around 2600 km². The public are excluded from the area, both flora and fauna are contaminated forever and there has been significant animal, fish and human birth abnormalities and deformities. And the area is contaminated forever.

The disaster highlighted the significant risk associated with nuclear energy - as if it needed to be highlighted.

LGS has always taken the concept of responsible and sustainable investment more seriously than the rest of Australia’s superannuation funds - since 2000 when the fund decided not to own tobacco and to develop screening arrangements to reduce investment in nuclear/uranium, businesses with poor forestry practices (like Gunns), gambling etc. etc.

These screening practices have won LGS many accolades from responsible investment organisations, including being ranked number one in the world in the prestigious and authoritative Asset Owners Disclosure Project, twice.

But, despite my reluctance to personalise these issues, pretty much as soon as I had resigned as a director on the LGS Board after 16 years of primary responsibility for the introduction of these responsible investment commitments, a couple of pro-nuclear zealots on the Board thought it made sense to dismantle the Board’s historic screening against uranium and nuclear industries because of the stupid and misconceived understanding that nuclear energy did not produce carbon emissions. Stupid bastards.

We never let go of this, placing a clock on our homepage so that the world could see how many days it had been since that stupid decision was made back in September 2014. It would be a timely reminder of the decision and a constant nagging of the stupid bastards to recognise that the advice they had at the time was right - that there would be no investment advantage and that there would only be reputational damage.

LGS has now announced that the uranium/nuclear screening will be restored. Here is their media release. You will note that it doesn’t say that they should have taken advice from their own investment people at the time, they shouldn’t have behaved like a group of single-issue Montgomery Burns, that seeing nuclear technology as a solution for a low carbon future was one-dimensional thinking at its worst - like thinking that a mass murderer might be okay if they were good-looking and had nice manners. A little bit simplistic and wrong-headed. Stupid bastards.

But, good for them for acknowledging their folly and repairing the damage.

A wasted 965 days, more than two and a half years where people scratched their heads and wondered what kind of loonies had taken over the Board.

Our representative on the Board after the decision had been made, Sam Byrne, pursued this but the decision to restore the screening was a unanimous vote, so clearly everyone had come around to recognise that it was a mistake to remove it. Nice work. There may be a few stupid bastards still involved, but at least they’ve done this.

And we’ve decided to announce this on the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Just to remind us that nuclear technology is not a viable energy source for a low carbon future when there are so many other renewable energy sources without the disadvantages or risks.

As the Chernobyl disaster happened at 1:24am in the Ukraine (seven hours behind Sydney time) on 26 April, the clock was removed from our homepage at that time.

And in a bit of a scoop and brilliant news for the historic and now reinstated commitment to responsible and sustainable investment, LGS was today announced as the top rated International fund (from a field of 600 institutional investors) in the prestigious and authoritative Asset Owners Disclosure Project.

This means that LGS is, without any doubt, the leading responsible and sustainable investment fund in Australia and it's a fabulous result for the commitment of the recently resigned CEO Peter Lambert who has ensured over more than a decade that the resolve of the Board to do precisely that, has been delivered.

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