Public sector newsletter

Posted on
July 26, 2021
in
Public Sector

Your union update.

Here’s your update on Tasmanian public sector and agency issues, the ongoing COVID response and other things relating to broader public sector and union campaigns. With the new health minister on the job, we’ve been buoyed by some direct responses to issues that our members have been battling for years. Solutions are what's needed, not more reviews or recommendations, and it’s refreshing to see what maybe a new approach. 

 

Roy Fagan Centre review report released

The Roy Fagan Review Report is heavy reading but only highlights what we’ve known for many years – the centre is understaffed and not fit for purpose. The government has adopted the six recommendations from the report, which is encouraging, but we need to see the action, so we’ll continue to hold the government to account on its commitment.

A report is one thing, but the government must commit to a wages policy that attracts and retains the high skilled health workers in Tasmania to care for our most vulnerable citizens.

We met with and wrote to management about increasing staffing levels before the release of this report, and we’re currently working through the process of making sure that more adequately trained, permanent staff are provided to RFC.  

 

Occupational Therapists at the LGH stand up for decent services for our community 

Occupational therapists have been engaging in a community campaign to highlight the ongoing and chronic service shortfalls in the north of the state, and workers have been forced to withdraw all services from the John L Grove Rehabilitation Centre as the department continues to fail to recruit an appropriately experienced OT to supervise practice.

The shortage of OTs in Tasmania has deteriorated since 2019 when LGH OTs had to advise executive management that services would be completely withdrawn from several units and wards in the hospital and a limited service would be provided elsewhere due to an inability to meet demand.

OTs are doing significant work that keeps people out of hospital, gets them discharged from hospital more quickly and saves our community untold amounts of money from unnecessary acute care.

Our OT members are demanding direct action, a dedicated resource for recruitment, a staffing level equivalent to the average of the rest of the country and a permanent increase to OT numbers at John L Grove.

The campaign will continue until we see some real action, and OT members have shown that by standing united and telling the real story, the community will support and back health and community workers every time.

Please check out our Facebook page for patients’ stories, and sign the petition to support the campaign.  

 

Housing, Community, Disability Services redesign 

At the state election, DCT paused the implementation processes of the HDCS reorganisation, but new ministers were sworn in and briefed, and from what we’ve learnt so far, the reorganisation plan that was worked through for the last year or more will be revisited. The election saw further funding to support the construction of an extra 2000 social housing dwellings by June 2027, so shrinking the workforce is ill-advised.

DCT will produce anew proposal with an alternative approach and we look forward to working with members to address any issues the revised changes may create. We’ve been told the proposed selection processes are off the table and there’s been talk that additional resourcing is required to support the government’s capital program and strategic directions.  

The hdcs.reorganisation@communities.tas.gov.au address is open for workers to provide feedback and to communicate on a confidential basis.  

We’ll be catching up with workers once we know more, but if you have any issues, don't hesitate to get in touch with HACSUassist.  

 

Commission of Inquiry 

Submissions to the Commission of Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is still open and if you intend to make a submission, we’re here to support you through this process.

We strongly recommend you contact HACSUassist before making any submission or statement so we can give you advice on developing your submission and any ongoing support you may need if you are called as a witness. For more info please contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or assist@hacsu.org.au  

 

COVID vaccinations 

The blame game around the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues with workers now the new target of a federal government looking to blame anyone except themselves for the gaping holes in the management of their areas of responsibility. It should be noted that the state government program, which most of you would be accessing, is gold standard by comparison.

The federal government has now mandated the vaccine for aged care workers but we’re still trying to get more info on what that means for home care and others doing that work in the public sector. The Morrison Government must prioritise increased supply and effective delivery of the vaccine rather than blaming poor uptake on workers who are some of the most underpaid and overworked heroes of the pandemic.

Stay tuned for more.  

 

Allied Health Professionals working groups 

We released the Allied Health Professionals discussion paper last month. The paper summarises responses from allied health members to an extensive survey about their experiences at work and their priorities for change.

The issues laid out in the paper, found here, are taken directly from HACSU members working within the broad spectrum of allied health as it’s currently defined. Basically, it says we must get busy addressing a range of issues to make Tasmania an attractive place to come and work and build a lasting, valued career.

Working groups made up of health professional members are almost finalised but if you want to get involved, please contact HACSUassist and let us know which working group you’re interested in.

The working groups will focus on establishing a reasoned position on classification, resourcing and workload, education and professional development, worker well-being and job satisfaction, and a range of other general issues.

Keep your eye out for more details and meeting dates in your area. For more information, please contact HACSUassist.  

 

Child safety workers still waiting for better times 

We keep hearing from child safety workers worried about leadership, workloads, technology and the duress alarm system. These issues have been talked about for ages, yet we still have members really feeling under pressure more than halfway through2021.

We know there’s been some movement and positive development, but serious improvement is still needed before the service can perform as efficiently as it should.

Members in the northwest have raised significant issues about direct and timely access to a team leader, and management concede there could be improved frequency in communication – if you’re still having issues, please let us know.

Workloads and case numbers remain a major concern. There are CSOs around the state working above the agreed trigger points that exist to ensure you’re not lumped with an unrealistic number of cases and the huge stress that goes with this. We know trigger points aren’t the best or most nuanced tool for managing workloads, but it beats the alternative.

Technology is another concern, but hopefully we’ll see some improvement soon. We’ve been told that most, if not all, computers now have microphones and cameras for remote Zoom or Teams meetings, and aging mobile phones with battery charge not lasting the full day will be fixed too.

The everlasting issue of duress alarms has been raised and we’ve had concerns about their timeliness, effectiveness and accuracy as well as their monitoring, so we want to hear about your experience with them as it’s a serious workplace health and safety issue that needs more attention and resources if necessary.

We’re still keen for you to come and represent other workers at the consultative meetings to discuss these issues – the more workers that get involved, the more likely the issues will get addressed. We‘re also sure there are more issues, so if you’d like to get involved please contact HACSUassist.  

 

HACSU represents you, HACSU supports you 

Thanks for the amazing work you’re continuing to do to support our community. Feel free to contact HACSUassist between 8am and 6pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 5pm on Fridays, about anything in this newsletter or any other concern, however small you feel your issue might be. Be strong, take care and stay safe - we’re proud to represent you.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email assist@hacsu.org.au or complete our online contact form

Public Sector