Our year in the APS
2019 has been a year marked by speculation and uncertainty in the APS. The deliberations of the Thodey review into the public service catalysed broad discussion about the role played by the APS, the role it might play into the future and, critically, the level of internal expertise and capability required in the public service to deliver for the Australian community. There’s been a lot of deep thinking on these questions conducted in the media, academia, amongst the workforce and in the halls of power.
Yet, despite having the final report from the review of the APS for many weeks, we know little about what the government has in store for the public service, for public servants, and the critical services you provide, in 2020. Aside from last week’s announcement about combining 18 departments into 14, we’re left simply with sweeping statements about impending changes from the Prime Minister, without substance to back it up. As one former secretary put it:
This year we have also been reckoning with the outcome of the large scale shift of enterprise agreement conditions into employment policy, which has been occurring in negotiation rounds since the introduction of the first coalition government bargaining policy; that being a seemingly endless process of policy revisions, reviews and restructuring across departments and agencies. And of course, perhaps the most significant impact of all, the widespread abandoning of enterprise agreement negotiations in favour of pay rises issued via determinations.
In spite of all of this, Professionals Australia members, delegates, and all commonwealth public servants, have continued to faultlessly and tirelessly discharge their duties and deliver services in the interests of Australia and the Australian community. APS employees have stood strongly together and have been joining their union to navigate these testing times.
This year we developed a concise agenda, calling on the government to support STEM professionals in the public service by developing smarter public policy, improving the STEM capacity in agencies, and creating better STEM careers in the APS. We’ve taken that message to senate inquiries, the Thodey review, to media, meetings with ministers, the opposition and cross benchers.
This year we’ve also
- helped members with hundreds of legal matters, 22 performance management and internal dispute processes
- navigated 14 enterprise agreement and determination negotiations in the APS,
- managed consultation on over 50 policy and procedure reviews,
- visited members in 7 states and territories working across 20 agencies,
- dealt with restructuring at 14 agencies.
As a member of Professionals Australia, you are part of an organisation which has a real impact on the lives of the people we represent, and the future of STEM in the APS. We’re run by a committee of APS professionals just like you. We may not know exactly what’s in store for STEM professionals in the APS in 2020, but we do know that we have the best chance of dealing with whatever comes our way if we are united together and act collectively.
Professionals Australia members have access to our skilled national team of delegates, organising and industrial staff to help guide you through and represent your interests. If you are concerned about something happening at work, let your local contact know:
Dale Beasley – Director ACT
Emma Parkinson – Organiser Victoria
Kimberley Rowney – Senior Organiser South Australia
Tamarah Rowlands – Senior Organiser Western Australia
Adrian Catt – Organiser New South Wales
Thomas Whibley – Organiser Queensland
It’s only by taking on the challenges of 2020 together that we’ll be able to overcome them. Please share this email with your colleagues and encourage them to join.