Updates for CSYW & YJ members

Posted on June 24, 2019

Please see below for updates on a number of CSYW & YJ matters.

Media comments regarding Child Safety

The work you do in Child Safety, Youth & Women and Youth Justice is challenging enough already – you don’t need to be made into a political football.

On Friday, there was a newspaper article regarding deadlines for Child Safety investigations, which lead to comments back and forth between the government and the opposition. Minister Farmer did note that cases are much more complex than they were 15 years ago, when the timeframes were originally set. We agree – which is why implementing a caseload cap is more critical now than ever.

Branch Secretary Alex Scott spoke to ABC News Radio on Friday, highlighting the desperate need for more resources for you to do your job, saying "there are just not enough hours in the day to make sure that they can get to these children in a timely fashion." The news story and Alex's statements were replayed a number of times throughout the afternoon and evening.

Youth Justice Amendment Bill – do you have any feedback?

As you might be aware, Minister Farmer recently proposed new legislation, the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill, to address some of the issues contributing to high levels of young people on remand in both Youth Detention Centres and subsequently watch houses. The proposed legislation is intended to support the four pillars of the Queensland government’s Youth Justice Strategy.

As people who work with young people and other stakeholders daily, you are extremely well-placed to provide feedback as to how any proposed legislative change might actually impact on the ground.

Delegates are considering making a submission to the Parliamentary Committee considering the legislation. There is not a significant amount of time in which to do so, so if you have any comments that you would like included as part of a Together submission to this committee, please send it through to csyw@together.org.au by Friday 5 July. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss.

Agency Consultative Committee and Machinery of Government changes

On Thursday, delegates will be attending the Agency Consultative Committee (ACC). This forum still currently covers both CSYW & YJ. We hope to have an update on the Machinery of Government process at this meeting to report back on.

A number of other agenda items have been raised for Thursday's meeting, including but not limited to:

  • Safety of staff – including increased physical & verbal assaults against staff, the process of reporting such incidents, roll-out of phones to staff frequently working in the field like CSOs and CSSOs;
  • Conversion process for RJ convenors with the announcement of extended funding;
  • Further detail regarding the supposed 16.8 caseload average for CSOs; and,
  • Access to flexible working arrangements for all staff.

If you have matters for the ACC, please do not hesitate to contact your local delegate or the union office to discuss.

There is also the Youth Detention Centres Consultative Committee, which the Cleveland and Brisbane YDC LCCs report to – this will next meet on Wednesday 10 July.

Arbitration

Based on the number of important claims we will be seeking to have heard by the independent industrial umpire through arbitration, Steering Committee delegates recommended we seek an extension of hearing dates after originally having only been scheduled for three days. Your Steering Committee and broader delegate network have dedicated a lot of hard work to ensuring that we are in the best possible position to argue for fundamental changes to your working conditions, and that means we require significant numbers of witness statements and supporting evidence to do so.

Last week, we found out that the earliest the full bench of industrial commissioners can meet for a period of longer than three days is mid-January. Of course, ideally, we would have liked to see a shorter timeframe for arbitration. However, as delegates have said, this is an opportunity for us to do this right and take the time we need to ensure our case and evidence is strong and multi-faceted. This timeframe will also allow for resolution of the scope order for operational staff in Youth Detention Centres to have their own agreement.

The new timeframes also highlight the importance of the state government delivering an interim wage increase. We are continuing to pursue this and will keep you updated as matters progress with this request as well as the State Wage Case.

As a reminder, you can see an early draft determination here. Delegates are still fine-tuning the document and there are some adjustments that need to be made, but it covers off the key claims we will be pursuing.

We know it is a bit much to ask you to read through a 25+ page industrial instrument, so keep an eye out for a 'highlights' version of the draft determination coming out soon!

As always, don't hesitate to contact us if there is anything you would like to discuss or clarify – this is a very involved process and there are no questions too simple.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au