Landscape SA Bill: Employment Conditions remain unknown

17 June 2019

The Landscape SA Bill has now passed the Lower House of the Parliament. Despite a number of amendments being proposed, most were rejected by the Government and the bill remains as introduced with a few minor changes.

The bill will now move to the Upper House (Legislative Council) were the PSA will be lobbying Members of the Legislative Council.

In the event that the bill passes the Upper House with amendments, the amended bill would then return to the Lower House.

During debate on the Bill, the Opposition Spokesperson (Dr Susan Close MP) and Minister for Environment (David Speirs MP) discussed the employment conditions of those who will work for the board. Some of the debate can be found below:

Dr CLOSE: "...Is the EBA that they are currently signed up to going to remain in force, not only for the remainder of its term? Will they be the conditions under which the new EBA will occur or will there be a shift because they have moved into a different category?"

Minister SPEIRS: “The decentralisation of the boards will inevitably create staffing changes, perhaps a feeling of uncertainty among the workforce, and that has been something that, as minister, I have made very clear to the officials within my department that we must work through in a careful, sensitive and appropriate way, consulting heavily not only with the staff affected but also with their representation through the union and in particular the Public Service Association.”

“It is intended that any employees who transfer to a board as part of the Landscape SA reform     will do so with predominantly the same or similar terms and conditions of their current employment, and this will be subject to further work as part of the transition planning.”

“As the Green Adelaide board will be supported by DEW employees, it is worth saying on the     record here that the terms and conditions that apply to those employees will not change at all.     The change, if any, will occur to those who are moving out of the department structure with landscape boards. But, as I really emphasise, the aim is that terms and conditions of employment will be largely the same.”
Dr CLOSE: “Will terms and conditions, or the enterprise agreement under the way in which the legislation is written, potentially differ between boards?”

Minister SPEIRS: “ is technically possible that the terms and conditions could be different between the landscape boards, but it would be largely my intention and that of the organisation to keep those as consistent as possible to really ensure mobility across the organisation.”

The above answers from the Minister show that:

  • there are no guarantees that members will retain all their existing pay or conditions.
  • Any pay or conditions improvements that are negotiated in future Public Sector Enterprise Agreements may not flow on to those working for the boards.  
  • Employees doing the same work for different boards could be paid differently.

The PSA will be meeting with members of the Legislative Council seeking improvements to the bill.