Important Update for Department of Communities Members

Posted November 10, 2011 by Alex Scott

The work done by our members in Communities is essential and helps support Queenslanders in need and their communities.

The union office recently communicated with members in regional locations about the progress of two issues which have been raised by members. In some areas around the state, managers have been refusing reasonable requests to combine work and personal travel as well as knocking back legitimate learning and development opportunities that would previously have been approved.

Union representatives have met and discussed these issues with senior Departmental representatives including through meetings with the Director-General, the Associate Director General Tony Hayes and other senior departmental managers. There is general agreement that some of the refusals have not been reasonable and that action was required to resolve these issues.

With respect to the issues around combining work and personal travel: Our union office has just been advised that the travel policy has now been amended to bring it into line with the current whole of Government policy. This means that the statement about these requests only being approved in 'exceptional circumstances' has been removed. This is great news! Additionally, the Department has also amended the delegation level to a 'level 3' (i.e. Regional Executive Director within Regional Service Delivery Operations) to ensure a more streamlined approval process within regions. Undoubtedly, simply changing the delegation level may not completely fix the issue and so it is likely union members will still need to challenge some decisions. Please inform your local delegate about any ongoing issues in relation to this policy. The updated policy can be found on the Communities intranet, at:

With respect to the issues around learning and development access for regional and remote employees: These issues are more complicated and unfortunately are still ongoing. In order to properly resolve this situation, further collaborative work is required between Departmental and union representatives to ensure that a shared understanding of the policy is developed. This will enable members to access appropriate learning and development opportunities under the policy. Union delegates have requested a further meeting take place as soon as practicable with the Department about this matter and will provide a progress update to members about this matter in the next few days.

Apart from these two issues, there are several other critical projects and changes underway in the Department which will potentially, or are already, impacting on members and their ability to do their jobs easily and effectively.

If any of the following issues affect you, please click on the links below for important information:

Growing Stronger Reforms
Child Safety Workload Review Project
National Disability Insurance Scheme
Field Officer Review
Contract Management Project & Regional Re-alignments


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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