Qld considers WorkChoices 'side-step' for local govt workers

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Qld considers WorkChoices 'side-step' for local govt workers

The Queensland Government is investigating the potential to move its 37,000 Local Government staff under statutory authorities, which would effectively exclude the operation of WorkChoices.

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The Queensland Government is investigating the potential to move its 37,000 Local Government staff under statutory authorities, which would effectively exclude the operation of WorkChoices.

According to Ilfracombe Shire CEO, Michelle McFadyen, the State Government confirmed it is taking advice on the possible avenue last week at a CEO forum in Brisbane. 

She said the Deputy Director General of the Department of Local Government, Phil Clarke, confirmed that the State Government is investigating the potential to establish statutory authorities, separate from Local Governments.

‘Had this question not been directly asked of Mr Clarke last week, we’d still be none the wiser about this,’ McFadyen said. ‘I am just wondering when the State Government was thinking of consulting with the 37,000 Local Government employees about this? Has anyone asked them if they want to work for Local Government or some other statutory authority controlled by someone other than the Council?’

For McFadyen, the main concern lies with just how the Queensland Government might implement this.  

‘The State Government moving to exempt Local Government from WorkChoices doesn’t come as a surprise, they have been openly opposed to this legislation. What concerns me is the way in which the State Government might go about this,’ she said.

Timed with amalgamations

McFadyen believes it explains why the unions ‘have been silent’ since the announcement to force amalgamations on Local Government earlier this year.

‘Also concerning is the fact that employees, who are not members of a union, are not represented on the Local Transition Committees which will guide the transition of amalgamating Councils,’ she said. ‘Union membership of many councils in the Central West is very low, estimated at between 10% and 30% of total employees. There are three union representatives on each Local Transition Committee, but no one to represent the non-union employees.  

‘Clearly, this whole forced amalgamation agenda by the Beattie Government was not about Stronger Councils. 

‘It’s all becoming clear now that it’s about Stronger Unions and a very strong partnership between the State Government and unions.  Unfortunately, local communities and Local Government employees are collateral damage.’

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