• 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...

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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...

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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