• 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 Tweedledum and not Tweedledumber - depaNews March 2007


NSW elections - but BIG differences on industrial relations

Tweedledum and Twiddledee from Alice in Wonderland nicely sum up the alternatives offered by the major parties tomorrow. Or Tweedlebland and Tweedleblander, or Tweedlebeige and Tweedlebeiger, perhaps.

Over the years we have printed side-by-side comparisons of Government and Opposition policies so that members know what the alternatives think about important things like local government and what should happen to it, what should happen to planning, and who thinks you should have an independent umpire in industrial relations and who thinks you shouldn't.

This time we won’t. But if you're struggling to work out who to vote for, and if you're looking for a single issue to make your mind up and that single issue is whether you'll be safe and secure or at work, then you have a clear choice.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald reported that the most important New South Wales election consideration was industrial relations. Described in the Herald as "a warning to the Howard Government … a Herald/ACNeilson poll of 1878 NSW voters conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday nights disputes the long-held assumption that state elections are decided on State issues alone."

The poll had found that Federal industrial relations laws were the issue of most concern in tomorrow's State election. 18% of those surveyed listed industrial relations as the most important issue, followed by health, which was cited by 15% of voters, followed by education with 14%.

Most councils are still treading water and wondering whether they are trading corporations (and therefore picked up by WorkChoices) or whether they can remain safely in the New South Wales industrial relations system that has worked so well for councils and employees.

Some councils are asserting that they are trading corporations and are looking forward to Federal Workchoices agreements and the potential horrors that could involve for everyone working at those councils.

We keep urging councils to sign referral agreement and keep their industrial relations safely under the control of the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission. This is the system that manages industrial disputes in a way denied to the Federal Industrial Relations Commission by the anti-employee WorkChoices legislation. It's the system that allows us to file disputes about issues that can't be dealt with in a Federal system (like leaseback cars, for example) and that can't even be incorporated in Federal agreements.

And it's the New South Wales system that believes in those proper safety nets and protections that the Howard Government specifically wanted removed from the Federal system.

While it's true that we get our opportunity to vote on Federal issues later in the year (and some of us can't wait), the two major parties have made it clear that they have quite different attitudes to the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission.

The NSW Government will keep the New South Wales system operating and we will retain our access to it. The New South Wales Opposition will shut it down and all those New South Wales employees currently protected by it and with access to it, will end up in Workchoices whether they like it or not.

If all you care about tomorrow is protection of your rights at work, then the choice is clear. It's Tweedledum and not Tweedledumber.

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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