• 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.

It's time to go, Peter Part One - depaNews September 2006

It's time to go Peter

How long is too long? When the Local Government Superannuation Scheme was established in July 1997, members of the Working Party (including the depa Secretary) agreed that the Chair of the Board would rotate every four years between the employer and employee representatives. This is a normal arrangement on superannuation boards where half the members represent the contributors and half represent the employers.

Famous local government identity and then a councilor, Peter Woods was the inaugural Chair. Woods was the President of the LGA at the time - a position under the LGA Constitution with a limited term of two years but a position that Woods continued to occupy for twelve.

In 2001 the depa Secretary Ian Robertson and the LGEA’s Martin O’Connell raised the four-year term and the need to give the employee reps their turn. For a variety of reasons, the USU made an agreement with Peter Woods that he would be supported in the role as Chair for as long as Brian Harris was the General Secretary of the USU. Then it would be time to hand over to a representative of the employees. Fair’s fair.

Brian Harris retired from that position this week but the LGSS Board has been unable to dislodge Woods from the position of Chair.

Superannuation Boards require a three-quarter vote to be a majority and while in recent meetings there have been plenty of four all votes calling for him to stand down and to introduce an orderly transition to an employee representative, Woods remains there - refusing to debate the matter and trying to secure the extension of time.

Woods has been Chair for more than nine years. The position should be rotated, as all other industry and government superannuation funds operate, between the representatives of the employees and the reset representatives of the employers. Woods intransigence is unacceptable.

At the LGSS Board meeting on 27 September, the Board welcomed Brian Harris as a new USU representative but even having Brian there, to remind Woods of the deal and the need now to stand down, could not dislodge him.

The only thing more patronising and offensive than Woods’ refusal to stand down (supported by the other employer representatives on the Board - Blacktown Mayor Leo Kelly, Hurstville Councillor Beverly Giegerl and Shires Association Patron John Wearne) is the assertion they know better than us about the attitudes of our members.

We think they are wrong but we would like to know what you do think. You can use this link http://app.intellicontact.com/icp/sub/survey/start?sid=3486&cid=37499 now to express a view about whether Peter Woods, consistent with the principal of the Divine Right of Kings and can stay there as long as he damn well pleases. Or you can vote that you think it's time he moved on and gave the employee representatives their rightful turn. A transition that should have happened in 2001 and is now grossly and ludicrously overdue.

Use the link and tell us whether Woods can stay for life or whether proper governance requires a smooth transition and a fair rotation between the employee and employer representatives.

Finally, because when we tell members about this they do wonder what those on the Board get paid, the employee reps have it paid to their unions and don’t accept it personally but the employer representatives accept it as income.

From January 2004, employer directors receive $41 200 plus 9% SGC while the Chair of the LGSS gets paid $68 700 plus 9% SGC – a total of about $74 500 a year. How many members of the fund get that each year from their full-time jobs .

Robbo's Pearls...

Combined Unions defeat NSW Government in the High Court

At 2:15pm this afternoon the Full Court of the High Court handed down their judgment in the Combined Unions’ challenge to the NSW Government. The challenge had sought to have the Court declare changes to the Electoral Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 unconstitutional. These changes, incorporated in the Electoral Funding Act 2018, reduced limits on expenditure of third-party campaigners from $1 million-$500,000, reduced the capacity of unions working together by retaining the $500,000 limit regardless of how many unions are involved, and introduced jail terms of up to 2 years for breaches.

It’s hard to imagine any better way of starting the new year than rolling the Government. This afternoon, the High Court did precisely that and, to make our victory total and glorious, awarded costs against the Government as well.

Well done to Unions NSW for organising this and all those NSW unions - including the three local government unions - who supported it financially.

We’ve covered the offensive nature of these legislative changes in depaNews in October and November.  The Government reduced the effectiveness of third-party campaigners - which also includes churches, community groups, GetUp, the NRMA, pro and anti-carbon lobbying groups, the Lock the Gate Alliance etc.  Only tyrants and opponents of democracy and transparency try to reduce the effectiveness of political opponents and frustrate the right of opponents to properly campaign and run their argument.

Shame on you, Gladys and all your lot.

We’ve not yet read the judgment in full, preferring to get out the basic win or lose news, but will let you know if we find any juicy or damning bits in the February issue of depaNews.

And just to show you how even-handed we are, in the interests of balance, here is a picture of the Premier having a happier day two weeks ago waving to a driverless and passengerless train successfully arriving at Chatswood Station. No driver, no passengers, but it was on time.  Now there’s commitment to public transport.


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