• 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.

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...

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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