Professionals Australia is calling on the government to support its science, engineering and technical professionals working across its key organisations in Victoria.
“Australia’s future prosperity hinges on the skills, expertise and knowledge of technical professionals. It’s time for government to value the crucial role they play in both policy-making and service delivery.” said David Smith, Australian Government Group Director of Professionals Australia.
Many scientists, engineers and technical professionals who work in the public sector face constant uncertainty about their jobs and working conditions as enterprise agreement negotiations grind to a halt, while many policy recommendations are ignored.
“Whilst we have tried to take a positive approach to the negotiations to date, the directive from government to its agencies is driven by ideology, not evidence.
“Until we stop the erosion of our in-house government technical and professional capability across the government there will be failures, cost blowouts, and a risk to Australia’s international competitiveness.” warned Mr Smith.
Professionals Australia members in Victoria will today launch a two day action to protest the government’s failure to listen to their concerns. Members will not be responding to emails, telephones or attending meetings to highlight the problems facing the STEM workforce.
“Members have tried explaining, negotiating, demonstrating to government why the work they perform is valuable to the broader community.
“Yet these steps are falling on deaf ears after over 12 months of enterprise agreement negotiations. Perhaps it will take silence to make the government listen?
“Members are angry. Professionals working in the public sector are heading into their second year of uncertainty. The government isn’t listening, so we want to send a strong message to decision makers that it’s time to return to the negotiating table with a fair and reasonable offer.
“Nobody wants to take this sort of action, but the government’s preference for ideology over evidence has given them little choice.
“This action coincides with Science Week – we know how important a vibrant and sustainable STEM workforce is to almost every goal we have across all government agencies.
“The government needs to implement a fairer pay system for technical professional that closes the gap between the public and private sectors.” David Smith said.
Technical professionals across government provide vital expertise to government that ensures the decisions they make are based on the best available information. Every day, their work is critical to innovation, support to industry and the maintenance of our high living standards.
Media contact: Matt Harris 0421 098 246