• 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 online nowaccess information from our extensive FAQs.

Councillors behaving badly Part Two - depaNews December 2009


Councillors behaving badly

In September we told the story in depaNews about the poor old blokes at Parramatta Council lumbering around as if the 1993 Local Government Act didn't exist: carrying resolutions about staffing and the performance of staff when that is clearly the role of the General Manager. And has been since the introduction of the 1993 Act: a piece of legislation which is now more than a decade and a half old but we strangely still describe as the "new" Act.

In November we passed on the inspirational news that Lord Mayor Paul Garrard (pictured above) had forbidden managers from dressing casually on mufti day in case he wanted to summon them to his opulent and Regal Mayoral Chambers and they needed to be appropriately dressed to show their respect. Down on your knees, commoners!

The two industrial disputes that depa filed (which had involved bans being placed on certain activities by members) were discontinued in the Industrial Relations Commission on 17 December. Steps had been taken by management to protect the integrity of the planning system without the dabbling of dilettantes and amateurs, councillors were going to receive training about their responsibilities under the Local Government Act and everything was going to be very post-1993.

But not so fast. At a meeting of the Council on 14 December the general manager had sat meekly while the Council carried a resolution delegating to the Lord Mayor that he "retain and instruct" an investigator to review a recent tendering process. This is the same General Manager who sat meekly by while the Council had earlier carried two inappropriate (and incorrect) resolutions about the quality of development control being provided by the Council .

If the meek really are to inherit the earth, then giant slabs of it will be heading towards Parramatta "CEO", Dr Peter Brady.

We have written to the General Manager about this. Sometimes general managers need to be a bit tough with their councillors, telling them what the law actually says about who is responsible for managing staff and that the Local Government Act makes it abundantly clear that it is not the Council, it is the General Manager.

Some general managers are quite prepared to do so. Parramatta general manager, or CEO as he likes to be known, Dr Peter Brady is pictured below driving past the Industrial Relations Commission at the time we were telling the Commission that Dr Brady told us that both he and the councillors understood their roles and the disputes were concluded.

Robbo's Pearls...

What’s happening to the senior staff changes?

On 15 October 2021 the LGNSW Board, spurred on by a second recommendation from another ICAC investigation (Operation Dasha) to get rid of the “no reason” sacking of senior staff, unanimously resolved to do precisely that. LGNSW would now support the views we and the other unions have been expressing for decades. This was a historic consensus.

The consensus was to amend section 340 of the Local Government Act 1993 to ensure that the only Senior Staff positions, on term contracts and denied access to the industrial relations commission would be the general manager. And to amend the Industrial Relations Act to lift the remuneration level for access on unfair dismissals.

All we needed was the OLG and the Government to cooperate. That was close enough to two and a half years ago. 

There was some venal opposition from the usual suspects, but the policy was overwhelmingly reaffirmed at the LGNSW Special Conference on 1 March 2022. That was close enough to two years ago.

In April 2023 a Labor Government was elected in NSW. We all had a reasonable expectation they’d be more supportive of employment changes that reduced the risk of corruption and provided fairer working conditions. They say they are.

What have you blokes been doing?

Hoenig and Minns

It’s in the Minister’s office but nothing’s happening. It has been:

since the Government and the Minister were appointed on 5 April 2023. We are still waiting for the legislative changes required.

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