• 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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BPB kills off B1 & B2 - depaNews July 2009

Shock horror: BPB kills off B1 and B2

It wasn't us, but apparently sufficient people complained to the BPB about there being different letters of the alphabet to denote accreditation levels for private certifiers and council employees, for them to do something about it in version 2 currently being canvassed in the industry. The BPB had proposed B1, B2 and B3 as designations for local government employees doing "certifying" while private certifiers operate as A1, A2 and A3.

So, B1 and B2 are dead.

Clearly we underestimated how offensive you all found the BPB. We thought the idea that you should be accredited at all sufficiently offensive and didn't really worry about the letter of the alphabet that preceded the level. We too are chastened.

The BPB has been through a process of consultation with some fairly hand-selected representatives in the industry. Members of the Department of Planning’s Local Government Planning Directors Group nominated some employees who were doing "certifying" and this group met with the BPB on 18 June. Other groups (like EDAP) were invited to consult too and depa was invited to meet with BPB Chair Sue Holiday and CEO Neil Cocks on 9 July.

The depa Committee of Management considered version 2 when it met on 3 July. Committee Member Jim Boyce from Taree had been invited to the consultation group earlier and Jim was able to take the Committee through the detail of the proposal.

What can you say? If you are going to be beaten up, then you hope that those attacking you cause the least damage. And this latest proposal is a pretty soft way of doing it.

The Committee carried a unanimous resolution identifying our historic and continuing opposition to privatising development control in principle and our opposition to the accreditation of council employees because we believe sufficient checks and balances (and importantly, no conflict of interest) exist in local government to make this all under necessary.

The resolution can be found here.

This resolution has now been forwarded to the BPB as our official response.

Version 2 is so inoffensive (in the context of those things we have asked them to reconsider) that you wonder why they would bother. It's hard to see how it provides any value at all other than achieving the policy objective of some sort of accreditation regime. And while the welcome steps to dilute the original requirements of the scheme will be welcomed by local government, the private certifiers’ lobby groups like the AIBS and the AAC (or whatever Craig Hardy's group is called) won't like it at all

Isn't it funny to watch how Government develops public policy?

We expect to meet again with the BPB after they have considered a variety of things we've asked them to think about in the Committee of Management resolution.

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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