• 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...

“Keep your hands off our super”


The Royal Commission has revealed in the banks and insurance companies a chronic failure of prudent governance by their own company boards. These are boards, upon which sit directors, highly paid, highly experienced in business, industry or finance, highly educated, all with varying levels of membership of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, yet somehow just missing all of this crooked, shonky and on thousands of occasions, potentially criminal behaviour. 

All Peter Dutton worried about with the Royal Commission was the opportunity to have the investigation get into industry boards with their “union members and whatnot on the board”, but it’s the boards without “union members and whatnot on the boards” which are the problem here.

Under the front page headline “White flag on union super”, the Financial Review revealed today that the federal government “has dumped long-standing plans to dilute union and employer group influence on industry super fund boards after the damage done to retail funds by the Payne Royal Commission ended any prospect securing Senate support.” Apparently this was a decision taken by former PM Turnbull and where this week’s PM has said that view won’t change.

Back in December 2013, Robbo’s Pearls shouted “keep your hands off our super”, arguing strongly against the Government strategy, up until now trapped in the Senate due to a lack of support, to put purported “independents” on industry boards. Here is a link, because the decision just announced by the Government to back off on the commitment to get their mates a gig on superannuation boards is the end of the battle.  Maybe what company boards need is more union members and whatnot and maybe Robbo’s pearls has helped encourage this debate.

It certainly creates a new landscape for the prudent regulation of superannuation funds.

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