Speaking of corruptibility, how are OLG and the Minister moving to implement the industry’s consensus on ”no reason” sackings?

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The former CEO of OLG, Tim Hurst, for years told the unions and LGNSW that all we needed to do was to have a consensus position and OLG would refer it to the Minister and get things happening. With hindsight, clearly he was taunting us, because he would not have thought a consensus possible, but since October last year (yes eight months ago) there has been a consensus between the employers’ organisation and the unions to amend the Act so that the only senior staff employee would be the GM. And all other current senior staff positions would be employed under the Award.

Unfair and unreasonable sackings of people who should not have been sacked have been business as usual in the industry, and include close enough to 20 GMs sacked, or who’ve resigned, since the local government elections in December last year.

In 2016, the ICAC first referred to the need to review “no reason” sackings when councillors at Mid-Western had threatened the GM that if he didn’t sack the Director of Planning, and for good measure, also the Director Corporate Services, they would sack him. In a more focused way, the Commission referred to the unacceptable nature of “no reason” terminations in Operation Dasha into the former Canterbury and recommended it be fixed.

Too many GM’s have been threatened that if they didn’t sack the Director of Planning (the usual threat), the Council would sack them. This is a significant corruption risk but one where removing the risk is easy. Easy or not, it’s not being embraced as an easy solution to a corruption risk and facilitated as quickly as LGNSW and the unions would like.

OLG’s regular meetings with the employers and unions operate confidentially but it can be said that in the eight months, there has been limited action to keep the Minister briefed, and if there is to be some consultation with the industry, no one is rushing into it.  

Things just move slowly, there is a backlash by tyrants and those reluctant to forfeit their right to sack unfairly, running stealthily in the background. Clandestine and secretive, none of the opponents are game to publish anything for fear of appearing self-seeking, naive or clueless, or unaware how employment works under the Award.

The employers’ representatives and the unions have now agreed to put together a brief rebuttal of the arguments being discussed in clandestine and secret places. If the tyrants are so confident, why can’t they put it in writing for a proper debate?

Mosman Council was prepared to identify six easily rebuttable reasons when they forced a review of the October decision at the special LG NSW conference in March and where the position of the LGNSW Board was unanimously endorsed.

The Act could be changed by the end of this year, we’ve seen how quickly, almost instantly, the Minister and those responsible for the process can move during COVID, but it will require something more than the sloth-like progress from OLG, and that in turn slowing the Minister, for this to happen.

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