The year in review
This year saw Professionals Australia members work together like never before to achieve respect, recognition and reward for the vital roles they play in Australian society. Next year we will re-double our efforts to lift the standing of professionals and provide quality services to help them get ahead and stay ahead in their careers.
This year we helped thousands of members with individual workplace advice and support, gave unique tailored career support and provided directly relevant news and views. We have secured pay increases and protected conditions for thousands of members through bargaining.
Member Advantage continues to save members thousands of dollars every year on purchases. Hundreds of members attended seminars and events and actively took part in the forums we held. There’s room for improvement and work will continue to ensure members get the best value for money in the year to come with new and improved services, including CPD, enhanced industry insights and new insurance offers.
Our engineer members have been at the forefront of our Better Infrastructure campaign, with mass meetings, targeted advocacy and the production of detailed policy documents. This campaign goes to the heart of the main issues in infrastructure delivery in Australia: the need for more engineers, in adequate supply in government, to ensure that taxpayers and the government get best value from infrastructure investment.
While governments are long on talking about infrastructure investment, they have been sorely lacking in drive to fix the underlying foundations of the system which has seen politicisation of project selection, waste, delays and over-runs. The next year will see this campaign grow in size, strength and deliver practical outcomes for the benefit of our members.
Under the guidance of our Professional Engineers Division, we established RPEng, a practical, affordable and credible registration scheme for engineers which has been a great success already, with more than 130 engineers choosing to seek accreditation. Professionals Australia believes in registration for engineers as a means to protect the community and the integrity of the profession – but has practicality, affordability and integrity at the heart of its RPEng offer.
The future of manufacturing
Professionals Australia has argued at the highest levels about the need to invest in advanced manufacturing in Australia with the imminent departure of the automotive industry. We have been instrumental in the development of targeted policies to achieve this in South Australian, Victoria and nationally. Next year we will work to see these policies rolled out and argue for a re-focussing of the Automotive Transformation Scheme to a broader remit.
Still the clever country? Our flagship science campaign
Work on our campaign to put science at the centre of Australian public policy debate has commenced, and with a dedicated Scientists Division, the foundations are now in place for a concerted effort in 2015.
Growing a science and technology workforce with the STEM and other capabilities needed to drive innovation, productivity improvement and global competitiveness over the next decade will require stable, strategic and sustainable investment in science and R&D and the development of worldclass infrastructure to support it.
It is critical that we position Australia now for a future as a science and innovation leader – this is what our members told us, and this is the key message of Still the Clever Country?
The future of pharmacy
Tackling low pay has remained one of the key issues in community pharmacy throughout 2014. The Professional Pharmacists Australia’s (PPA) remuneration survey report confirmed that discount pharmacy operators are paying staff significantly less than their competitors, driving down salaries in the industry -a problem PPA is seeking to confront in our case to the Fair Work Commission’s review of the Pharmacy Industry Award. The best way to tackle the issue of discount chain pharmacies paying low wages is to lift the Award, not reduce it.
1200 pharmacists signed our petition to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia asking them to join our efforts to lift pay rates. PPA was able to put the concerns of employees directly to the owners’ union and the Guild is in no doubt that the voice for employee pharmacists will only get stronger as we approach the Award review.
We continue to advocate that employee pharmacists have a seat at negotiations for the multi-billion dollar Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA). There are some encouraging signs as we approach these negotiations, with the Minister for Health writing to PPA and stating that he looks forward to working with us and other key stakeholders in supporting a sustainable CPA – it’s the first time the Minister has acknowledged that employee pharmacists have a role in the process.
We look forward to working even harder in 2015 to win greater recognition, reward and respect for community pharmacists.Return to Professional Edge December content