We give OLG’s Employment Reference Group another chance

 

Over the last two months we have run stories critical of the unnecessarily confidential approach being taken by the Government in amalgamating councils when both the industry and the community deserve a transparent and open process.

We managed to shame the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) into lifting the confidentiality of the “savings targets” they had imposed on merged councils.  There was no need for these to be confidential;  there were probably 100 people in the industry with access to their confidential information anyway and many of them were employees compromised about trying to keep quiet things that affected their workmates and colleagues; it required councils to put at risk their obligations to disclose decisions made that would create significant effects on employees under clause 39 Workplace Change and Redundancy of the State Award – it was nothing more than a clumsy, officious and petulant restriction.  None of anyone’s business, they reckoned.

We also questioned the validity of the Employment Matters Reference Group, established by OLG to draw on the expertise of LGNSW and the unions on employment issues but regularly hampered and frustrated by restrictions imposed by the bureaucrats at DPC.  But, despite our reservations, we attended the last meeting of the year on 29 November and found a welcoming and conciliatory approach.  OLG was never the problem and we had to remember that we were dealing with two Government agencies here but Steve Orr, the Executive Director, Local Government Reform had more significant things to do (hard to imagine, given his title) and he was unable to attend.   The meeting proceeded in such a pleasant and consultative manner that when it came time to agree on the date for the next meeting, we chose a date when we knew Steve would be unavailable.  A very practical approach to keep us all focused on the positive nature of the Reference Group rather than the negative.

But, making the Government lift confidentiality restrictions on things they wanted to keep confidential is one thing, there has to be an equal and opposite action in response, hasn’t there?

And there was.  The Administrators and IGMs were in town for their normal monthly catch up which became a bit of an Xmas/end of year event attended by politicians and government bureaucrats as well.  While they invited representatives of the USU, depa was left off the invitation list.  Really …

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