What’s happening?

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There are two big deal issues for us being considered and managed by the Office of Local Government - and/or the Minister.

First, what’s happening about the senior staff initiatives? We are almost three weeks after the deadline for submissions on the senior staff initiatives, something that has been a critical Issue for us for decades. We received a summary at the last meeting of the Employment Reference Group (convened by OLG with LGNSW and the unions) on 9 November which was not publishable, but we should be able to see a summary of the final submissions, to get a feel for the level of opposition in the industry from the broader consultation and be updated about what follows next and a timeframe for that to happen.

It’s clear that this issue will not be resolved this year, but some commitment to pursuing it would be welcomed by the unions and the employers’ organisation.

And second, what’s happening about how OLG deals with complaints against councillor behaviour?  

Minister Hancock announced it towards the end of 2021 and on 26 November 2021 Gary Kellar PSM wrote that the Minister had initiated an “independent review of the framework for dealing with councillor misconduct” and he had been appointed to carry out the review. He said this was all about how “complaints about Councillor misconduct are managed with the aim of identifying possible areas for improvement,”  inviting submissions “identifying areas for improvement, together with suggestions for the practical application of those improvements”. A coincidence for us, we were at the time in NCAT about precisely that issue, with OLG refusing us access to documents on an investigation into complaints made against a councillor at Wagga Wagga

A Consultation Paper was issued in November 2021, four months to provide submissions, we made ours on 28 March and covered it in depaNews,  and nothing has been heard since. We understood it had started and there were high expectations. We know it has concluded but we’ve not heard anything at all about the report that would have been issued to the Minister (and ordinarily would be distributed within the industry), what recommendations may have been made, what was going to happen to provide all those improvements the Minister at the time anticipated.

Last week we asked, and were told updates would be provided on both these burning issues to the Employment Reference Group, when we next meet on 13 December. This is a confidential forum but we hope to be able to distribute the information.

It’s in the Minister’s office but nothing’s happening. It has been:

since the Government and the Minister were appointed on 5 April 2023. We are still waiting for the legislative changes required.

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