• 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.

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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...

Farewell Ernie, thanks for everything

Ernie Page 18 February 1935 - 20 May 2018

Ernie Page was a comrade to me and depa and a friend of local government.  He was a community activist before the expression was invented, a councillor on Waverley Council for 15 years from 1962 to 1987 and Mayor for nine of those years, a member of the New South Wales Parliament representing the seat of Waverley from 1981 until 1991 when it was abolished, and then three more terms as member for Coogee.

Ernie was a lifelong member of the ALP, was active in his union the USU and was awarded life membership in recognition, was the Shadow Minister for Local Government for what seemed like forever and the Minister for Local Government from 1995 to 1999.  It was during this time he entrenched his position as a friend of depa, organised drinks in Parliament House for a freshly elected Committee of Management, regularly attended depa events, was always available for advice, assistance and to be lobbied, and was responsible as Minister for Local Government for establishing a consultative mechanism between Government and the local government unions and in the Five Year Review of the Local Government Act in 1998 recommended the removal of term contracts for senior staff - sadly, like some of Ernie’s best ideas, killed off by the conservatives in the Parliamentary Party and the Cabinet Office.

Ernie believed in and loved local government.  He knew how it worked, where it was deficient, where it should improve and what should be done to improve it.  And while appointed by Bob Carr as Minister in 1995, he was also removed by Carr in 1999 in one of his worst decisions. Ernie was furious and disappointed, privileging me to a call containing more C words than I thought humanly possible, and unchallenged by anything I’ve seen or heard before or after.
Thanks, Ernie.  At a time when we have little respect for our politicians, either State or in local government, that we don’t have more people devoting their working lives as assiduously, selflessly and honourably, as you did.

Mark Gollins
Well said Robbo. As a former both long term local resident and employee of Waverley Council I am saddened to learn of Ernie's passing. They don't make politicans like Ernie anymore. Always available to give advice or offer assistance, he was a man who worked tirelessly, openly and fairly not just for the local residents, but for the people of NSW.
My condolences to Ernie's family and friends

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