Court Issues Orders Following Finding DCS Breached Enterprise Agreement

09 May 2019

The Deputy President of the South Australian Employment Tribunal issued orders late yesterday afternoon. This follows legal submissions on the proposed orders he included in his decision on the PSA’s case in relation to consultation about the implementation of the State Government’s decision to privatise the Adelaide Remand Centre (ARC).

In that decision the Court found the Department for Correctional Services (DCS) failed to consult as required by the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 about a number of issues relating to the implementation of the privatisation of the ARC.

The Judge further found that the Department’s failure to comply with the Enterprise Agreement is ongoing.

The hearing yesterday gave both parties the opportunity to put their respective positions on the proposed orders forward. The final orders (here) are based on the proposed orders in the court’s earlier decision of 30 April 2019 (here).

The orders mean that consultation must happen. The PSA is willing to engage in meaningful consultation with DCS, including on the matters outlined in the decision. The orders suggest that notwithstanding disclosure issues the Government is raising, a level of consultation can begin immediately. The PSA is willing to do what we can to begin that process.

The Court’s decision confirms members must be treated with respect at work by their employer; to be consulted about things that affect them at work; and to have a genuine opportunity to influence decisions.

The Government is still making arguments about what documents they are willing to provide and which they what to remain secret. The Government is also making arguments about who actually has the documents. This is in stark contrast to the Treasurer, the Hon. Rob Lucas MLC, today confirming to our Worksite Representative Forum following a question from Correctional Officer Worksite Representatives, that DCS, Treasury and the Cabinet Office all had access to documentation relating to the privatisation which originated from DCS under the instructions of the Chief Executive.

A further hearing is scheduled for next week about disclosure of documentation, with the Government still taking a hard line in attempting to keep critical information hidden from members.

The Government has indicated that it is considering appealing last week's Court decision.

Further information will be provided as the next steps progress.