It turned out that Sitrep 13/2011 was wrong (along with just about everyone else) on the identity of our new Minister. Shadow ES Minister Melinda Pavey was sidestepped at the 11th hour last Sunday in favour of long-serving Liberal MLC and former Police and ES Shadow, Mike Gallacher, who was appointed Minister of Police and Emergency Services.
We live in interesting times. The newly-elected Carr Government separated Police from Emergency Services back in 1995, and kept them that way for 16 years, only to be reversed by the O’Farrell Government at the first opportunity. Mike Gallacher is the 5th highest ranking member of the Government in terms of seniority. It is highly unlikely that Emergency Services would have enjoyed as prominent a position, or a seat in Cabinet, had we remained independent of the Police portfolio.
And a new Ministry
The Union welcomes the O’Farrell Government’s establishment this week of a Ministry for Police and Emergency Services and its absorption of Emergency Management NSW (the former Office of Emergency Services) as a logical and timely step towards the greater coordination of the State’s fire services. More to follow.
Transfers and qualifications
Back in Sitrep 17/2009 we reported that “the Union and Department have now established a working group to develop a policy setting out how members attain certain qualifications and how transfers to and from stations where those qualifications are used, including Hazmat, Rescue and Aerials, operate”. Regrettably, Departmental indifference has meant that only a handful of meetings have been held between now and then and two years on there appears to be little chance of an outcome from that working group any time soon. So what is to happen in the meantime?
Members are instructed that in the absence of any agreed policy or guideline on the interaction between qualifications and transfer, no member can be transferred if their transfer will result in them losing a qualification allowance.
The only exceptions to this instruction are when a member requests the transfer, or if the Commissioner takes disciplinary action against a member by “revoking the firefighter’s appointment to a position” (Regulation 46(1)(d)).Any member in receipt of a qualification who is notified that they are to be transferred is advised to bring this instruction to the notifying officer’s attention and, if the transfer is not immediately withdrawn, to contact the Union office immediately.