UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES MEETING HELD THURSDAY 7 APRIL 2016
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM

PRESENT:   M. Morey [Secretary], T. Costa [Assistant Secretary].

OPENING OF THE MEETING:  The President, Com. J. Kiejda opened the meeting and in doing so recognised the traditional owners of the land on which the meeting was held, The Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

MINUTES:

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the minutes from the meeting of 31st March 2016 as circulated be received".

Com. J. Conomos seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the minutes of the meeting of 31st March 2016 as circulated be adopted".

Com. B. Holmes seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:

From:   United Services Union appointing Joel Conomos in place of delegate Scott McNamara for tonight’s meeting and for the   remainder of 2016. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the credential be received and the delegate welcomed".

Com. P. Novak seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES:  Apologies were received and accepted for: E. Maiden, A. Claassens, Graeme Kelly, S. Turner, M. Aird, R. Collison.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the apologies be received and accepted".

Com. G. Derrick seconded.

CARRIED

GUEST SPEAKERS:

1. The Hon. Adam Searle, MLC

The President, Com. J. Kiejda introduced the Hon. Adam Searle MLC , Shadow Minister for Industry Resources & Energy, Shadow Minister for Industrial and invited him to address delegates.

Com. Searle said the real genesis of the laws was to stop Coal Seam Gas (CSG) protests and that the legislation was not restricted to mining or CSG.

He said the laws deal with police powers and move-on powers. A new aggravated trespass offence, which is a more serious offence of trespass if the property has a business on it.               

Unions NSW amendments have restricted the original bills move on powers for police.  However for the first time ever the police have the power to disband protests.  The most severe power is the new seizure powers which can allow police to confiscate property expected at being used for lock-on. Police will not be required to return to property.        

The change to the definition of mind has also extended offences including up to 7 years jail for demonstrations on land, even if their own land, which falls within the broader definition                 

No commencement date has been given for the law yet.         

Serious infringements on the ability to protest or demonstrate.                  

The laws are also upsetting conservative members of the community.-                   

 Adam advised that both himself and the Leader of the Opposition, Luke Foley and have made commitments to repeal the laws if the ALP is elected to government.

In relation to Essential Energy – A State Labor Government will not terminate Enterprise Agreements if elected.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey thanked Adam for his address.

2. Councillor Linda Scott - ALP Councillor, City of Sydney Council

The President, Com. J. Kiejda introduced Councillor Linda Scott, City of Sydney Council and invited her to address delegates.

Councillor Scott advised there were voting laws in the City of Sydney Council which allows 4 votes per owner; 4 votes per occupant and 4 votes per lease. She said the city was placing residents on the roll without any application being made.

Councillor Scott said she would encourage union property owners to enrol to vote in order to maximise progressive votes in the election.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey thanked Linda for her address.

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From NSW Nurses & Midwives’ Association:- regarding the retention of registerec Nurses in Aged Care Facilities.

NSW has the highest number of residential aged care facilities (884) across all States accommodating 59, 252 people. The Aged Care Act 1997 (Cwlth) is the main piece of Federal legislation governing these facilities.


Historically in NSW there were two main types of aged care facility. Hostels/residential homes housing people needing low levels of care generally staffed by unregulated care workers, and nursing homes housing people with high care needs, staffed by Registered Nurses (RN) and Assistants in Nursing acting under their direction. People living in hostels whose care needs increased from low to high had to move from their hostel to a nursing home to receive high care which was often disruptive and against their wishes.

The Federal Government recognised that people had the right to receive high care wherever they had chosen to live and sought to improve the situation removing the need for residents to relocate. In 2012 they announced the ‘Living Longer Living Better’ aged care reform package to enable this.

For the ‘Living Longer Living Better’ reforms to take effect, some of the wording in The Aged Care Act 1997 (Cwlth) needed to be changed. One such change was to remove the distinction between low level and high level residential care so that people could be funded to receive high or low levels of care, regardless of setting. This took effect from 1 July 2014.

In NSW minimum staffing for nursing homes is set out in Section 104 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW). It states that “a person who operates a nursing home must ensure that a Registered Nurse is on duty in the nursing home at all times” and defines which residential aged care facilities are ‘nursing homes’. Changes to the wording in the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cwlth) to remove the definition between high and low care to allow for ‘ageing in place’ meant that the definition of a nursing home in the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) needed to be amended for the purposes of regulation.

The changes could erase the requirement to have a registered nurse on site at all times in NSW residential aged care facilities where people have high care needs. NSW is the only state that has this protective legislation.

The NSWNMA has therefore been campaigning to retain the requirement within the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW).

There has been massive community support and the NSW Parliament received more than 24 000 petition signatures calling on the NSW Government to keep registered nurses 24/7. A number of community and professional organisations have openly shared their support including (among others) the Country Women’s Association, CPSA, National Seniors, Cancer Council, Palliative Care NSW, COTA and ASMOF.

In June 2016, a Committee of the NSW Parliament began an Inquiry into registered nurses in NSW nursing homes. Evidence from a number of academics, professional clinical and medical organisations and community based advocacy services unanimously concurred that removing the legal requirement to have a registered nurse on site at all times would severely reduce quality of care and increase cost shifting to public health services.

The Committee handed down their report on Thursday 29 October 2015. This contained 17 recommendations including:

  • The retention of a legal requirement to keep registered nurses on duty in nursing homes 24 hours a day;
  • The introduction of minimum staffing ratios throughout the aged care sector;
  • The need to address the wage gap between registered nurses in aged care and those working in the public sector to attract and retain registered nurses in aged care.

http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/5617fd421429545bca257eec008029e4/$FILE/Summary%20of%20recommendations.pdf

The NSWNMA has called for the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner to accept these recommendations and implement them with no exceptions.

The NSWNMA requests that our affiliates within Unions NSW support retaining the requirement within the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) to have a registered nurse on site at all times in NSW residential aged care facilities where people have high care needs through:

  • Writing to the Minister for Health asking her to adopt the 17 recommendations made in the General Purpose Standing Committee No 3 report in relation to the NSW Inquiry into registered nurses in NSW nursing homes;
  • promoting the campaign through their membership;
  • encouraging their members to contact the minister to voice their individual support.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved the Executive Recommendation:-

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW supports retaining the requirement within the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) to have a registered nurse on site at all times in NSW residential aged care facilities where people have high care needs and encourages affiliates:

1.Writing to the Minister for Health asking her to adopt the 17        recommendations made in the General Purpose Standing Committee No 3 report in relation to the NSW Inquiry into registered nurses in NSW nursing homes;

2. Promoting the campaign through their membership;

3. Encouraging their members to contact the minister to voice  their individual support.” 

 Com. B. Holmes seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

2.  From Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union:-  thanking the Penrith Valley Community unions for their support of union members (AMWU, CPSU, Professionals Australia) in the Department of Defence who held a public protest outside the office of Liberal member Fiona Scott on 5th April 2016.

The current Agreement with Defence expired in June 2014 and negotiations have been acrimonious as the Department has acted under direction of Government in seeking to remove core conditions of employment into policy whereby they are removed from the jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission. Conditions the Department seeks to remove to policy include classification, requirement to consult on organisational change, performance assessment, workplace delegate rights, regulation of 12 hour shift, management of poor performance.

Defence workers are highly skilled engineering and technical workers whose role is vital to Australia’s defence capability at key defence sites such as Orchard Hills, RAAF Base Richmond, and Garden Island Naval Base.

Having the support of community and unions through the Penrith Valley Community Unions strengthens the resolve of members in Defence to continue what has been a very long campaign to protect conditions and secure a wage outcome that recognises the significant contribution of highly skilled technical and engineering workers.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved the Executive Recommendation:-

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW  extends their thanks to Penrith Valley Community Unions for their support of union members (AMWU, CPSU, Professionals Australia) in the Department of Defence who held a public protest outside the office of Liberal member Fiona Scott on 5th April 2016.”  

Com. R. Fortescue seconded the resolution.                       .            

CARRIED 

REPORTS:

1.  Gonski Action Update

Delegate Moon reported the National Gonski Doorknock Day held on March 20 was a huge success NSW Techers Federation members and supporters going to 10 targeted electorates to take the Gonski message voters.

Volunteers signed up supporters and sought commitments from the public to support the Gonski needs-based model in the coming federal election.

Delegate Moon advised recent polling revealed even in federal electorates held by Coalition members, the vast majority of voters support the concept of needs-based funding.  However, the Federation was concerned by reports that Premier Mike Baird intends to strike a deal with the Turnbull government that would extend the transition period to achieving the minimum resource standard for all students.  The original plan was for a funding model that would transition all schools to a minimum resource standard in six years.

Delegate Moon stated the additional investment was necessary to address the high cost of poor educational outcomes which will become an even greater drag on Australia’s social and economic development in the future.  Without the funding Australia will only slip further behind as a nation.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the report be received and noted”.

 Com. J. Moon seconded.

 

CARRIED

2.  Campaign Briefing

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey gave an update on the timetable for the ACTU and Unions NSW campaign plan.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted”.

 Com.  A. Rudman seconded.

 

CARRIED


3.  Get Up – New England Campaign

The Secretary. Com. M. Morey advised Get Up has requested union support for the New England campaign by Tony Windsor to unseat the current member Barnaby Joyce.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted”.

 Com.  J. Owen seconded.

 

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.  Save Medicare – Nurses’ Health Forum
    A Special Community Forum to be held THIS SATURDAY (April 9) starting at 10:30 am at the Windsor Function Centre, 2 Dight         Street, Windsor.

2.  One-day symposium on Workers' Rights throughout Supply Chains Flyer
     Commencing at 9:00am 5:00pm on Wednesday 20 April in the Mitchell Theatre, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
    There are limited spaces available for this FREE event so register online at:
     https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/workers-rights- throughout-supply-chains-tickets-22640298743

3.  International Day of Mourning – Thursday 28th April
     Invitation to attend International Day of Mourning with families who have lost loved ones in the workplace:

  • Sydney: 11:45am for 12:00pm at Reflection Park, Darling Harbour
  • Blacktown Council unveiling of memorial Statue: Thursday 28 April, 9:30am -10am
    Blacktown Showground Reflection Pool (near café).
  • Central Coast: Thursday 28 April, 11:45am for 12noon Ourimbah Wall of Remembrance, Chittaway Rd.

 

4.   International Workers Memorial Day
      Thursday 28th April 2016 at 12 noon, Foreshore Drive, Newcastle

5.    Mothers Day Classic  -  Sunday 8 May 2015

       Walk or Run it doesn’t matter how you walk or  run it just matters why.
       Emma Maiden and Rita Mallia will be running again and will be joined by Secretary, Mark Morey so please either join them or              sponsor them.

       Register online: mothersdayclassic.com.au/register-online

 

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 7:10PM

Tagged: Minutes  /   News

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