• 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.

Debate on IR policy – depaNews August 2007

IR policy...the simple explanatory booklet cartoon – August 2007

New depths plumbed in unsophisticated debate on industrial relations policy

As the election gets closer, debate on industrial relations policy taps new depths. How else do you explain the Government’s fascination with the hoary old concept of "union bosses"? Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Moir got it right in the cartoon that leads this Bulletin.

Whether the Government is tapping into recent market research or polling in the community showing an increasing mistrust and anxiety about trade unions and those elected to lead them, or whether this is simply their politics and hatred showing, there is a simple truism discovered when market researchers ask people about unions. And it is this:

While union members might be sceptical about the way other unions behave, and the way officials of other unions might be perceived, they never really feel like that about their own union. People have a different connection with their union to other peoples’ unions. That's why you find a specific attachment that is not reflected as a general view to all unions. It's also hard to look at the charming, benign and pleasant members of depa’s Committee of Management in the context of the Howard Government’s demonising of thuggish and boorish union bosses. Cripes, everyone’s elected and elected officials reflect the membership - just like in other unions.

And while union coverage has been declining over the last decade or so (although there has been a resurgence accompanying the anxiety about Workchoices) in industries like local government and the public sector, there has been no decline.

We make no apologies for supporting a system that allows us to negotiate a new Local Government (State) Award every few years or so. We did that with the other unions in the industry in negotiation with the employers represented by the Local Government Association and Shires Association. The system that allowed us to do that also allowed us to manage industrial disputes and minimise industrial action. It's hard to find anything wrong with that and it has worked like that for more than a hundred years.

In February we said in our Bulletin to members:

Living with WorkChoices: full steam into the fog. Nothing clear about councils and WorkChoices.

The High Court didn't clarify whether councils are constitutional corporations. That is an argument yet to be had in some court somewhere else. In the meantime, some councils have been happy to sign Referral Agreements with the local government unions and keep the management of industrial disputes and unfair dismissal applications operating in the New South Wales Industrial Relations system. Others have hedged their bets, asserting that they are a constitutional Corporation and therefore all will start "taking advantage" of the (nasty) options available in the Federal Legislation.

90 councils have already signed Referral Agreements. This removes the question of whether they are constitutional corporations or not because, regardless of this issue, they have agreed to continue with the well-managed arrangements of the past and have their industrial relations managed in the State system.

In case there is any doubt, and in case your council has not yet signed a Referral Agreement, we think everyone should.

Robbo's Pearls...

Combined Unions defeat NSW Government in the High Court

At 2:15pm this afternoon the Full Court of the High Court handed down their judgment in the Combined Unions’ challenge to the NSW Government. The challenge had sought to have the Court declare changes to the Electoral Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 unconstitutional. These changes, incorporated in the Electoral Funding Act 2018, reduced limits on expenditure of third-party campaigners from $1 million-$500,000, reduced the capacity of unions working together by retaining the $500,000 limit regardless of how many unions are involved, and introduced jail terms of up to 2 years for breaches.

It’s hard to imagine any better way of starting the new year than rolling the Government. This afternoon, the High Court did precisely that and, to make our victory total and glorious, awarded costs against the Government as well.

Well done to Unions NSW for organising this and all those NSW unions - including the three local government unions - who supported it financially.

We’ve covered the offensive nature of these legislative changes in depaNews in October and November.  The Government reduced the effectiveness of third-party campaigners - which also includes churches, community groups, GetUp, the NRMA, pro and anti-carbon lobbying groups, the Lock the Gate Alliance etc.  Only tyrants and opponents of democracy and transparency try to reduce the effectiveness of political opponents and frustrate the right of opponents to properly campaign and run their argument.

Shame on you, Gladys and all your lot.

We’ve not yet read the judgment in full, preferring to get out the basic win or lose news, but will let you know if we find any juicy or damning bits in the February issue of depaNews.

And just to show you how even-handed we are, in the interests of balance, here is a picture of the Premier having a happier day two weeks ago waving to a driverless and passengerless train successfully arriving at Chatswood Station. No driver, no passengers, but it was on time.  Now there’s commitment to public transport.

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