Yes, permanent employment for senior staff is great news, but when?


On 10 November we advised the Office of Local Government at the Employment Reference Group meeting, of the historic consensus between the unions and LGNSW to transition senior staff into continuing employment under the Local Government State Award.

There are changes that would need to be made to the Local Government Act and decisions would also need to be made about when senior staff would transition into continuing employment after the legislative changes were made. OLG has asked for a comprehensive consensus position on all of these considerations. Lots to talk about.

Realistically, if the unions and LGNSW have already agreed with the ICAC recommendations from Operation Dasha that there is a corruption risk in having directors as senior staff and capable of being terminated for no reason, then the legislative change, once it does happen, should start operating relatively quickly. If the industrial parties accept it’s a corruption risk, and have now agreed to fix it, it should be fixed.

The package of proposals is intended to be provided to the Minister for Local Government before the end of the year. We have a high expectation that the Minister is able to have the Government agree to those changes quickly. This will involve a decision of Cabinet, the drafting of amendments by what is still called the Parliamentary Draughtsman (sic) and then getting in the queue next year with all the other legislative changes.

The Minister may well want to allow a period of consultation. This will allow those general managers who should be rejoicing that they will now be protected from pressure from councillors to sack the Director of Planning, but who can’t quite get past losing their power to unfairly sack directors, to have a say. That’s all well and good, if there are GM’s opposing it, we should know who they are. It’s like the overwhelming evidence that people want to be able to identify trolls.

There are also GMs who will need to be educated about the Award so they understand that the Award provides for performance agreements and other things about which they have little knowledge or understanding.

The unions and LGNSW will meet on 30 November.