Secretary’s Report – EBA negotiations continue

As we draw closer to the end of our current Enterprise Agreement in November, TPAV has been actively engaged in enterprise bargaining negotiations with Victoria Police.

As members would expect, the Association has been strongly advocating for an agreement that is focused not only on your pay, but on your wellbeing at work too.

In our updates to members we have focused on the major pillars that underpin our claim, that is, the key areas of your working life that most impact your health, wellbeing, safety and time outside the job.

A key question we asked ourselves before we entered into these negotiations was how should a modern workplace operate in a modern police force?

The regular distractions members receive while off-duty, the unpaid overtime experienced at stations and frequent shift changes, have motivated us to think differently about what should be considered acceptable conditions for our members.

That is why we are seeking the implementation of 10-hour shifts, improvements to shift penalties and minimum staffing arrangements.

Our Transit PSO members have called for (and deserve) a defined career structure.

This will not only provide further opportunity and career development, it will assist Victoria Police to grow its capacity to better utilize PSOs across the transport network and designated places.

You will receive further updates as negotiations progress to allow you to consider what, if any, action will be required to support our claim.

It is essential that during this time, you ensure that you have access to our app, TPAV emails and Facebook Members' Group to stay as informed as you possibly can be during this important process.

Delegates updated on EBA, terrorism, hostile vehicles and mental health

Last month, the Association’s delegates from across the state came together to deliberate on key issues impacting our members. In addition to receiving briefings regarding EB negotiations, your local representatives were provided updates from the Chief and Deputy Commissioners regarding important issues that confront our members.

Victoria Police updated delegates on ongoing work to develop its capability when responding to volatile and high-risk incidents, such as vehicleborne attacks.

It remains an area of great interest for delegates, who for some time through the Association’s advocacy, have worked towards new policy development to support frontline members called upon to resolve situations like this.

Our delegates also heard from New Zealand Police Association, who relayed the experience of their members on the ground and in the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Fortunately, we have not had to endure a terror attack in Victoria on the same scale experienced by our New Zealand colleagues, however understanding the impact felt by members and the significant strain it placed on union support and wellbeing services provided us with an opportunity to consider how we could best support our members should a similar tragedy unfold in Victoria.

Delegates also heard about the significant progress that has been made in Victoria since the Cotton Review into Police Mental Health.

This extended to related initiatives that aim to improve the response to members with mental health injuries and prevent injury in the first instance by ensuring proactive support is provided to members when they seek it.

It has long been accepted that more needs to be done to improve the mental health of police, but now we are seeing meaningful change, both within Victoria Police and TPAV who have worked hard in conjunction to improve mental health literacy, support and responses for members.

The next phase of the Association’s blueprint to improve support services for members requiring mental health support will be the development of the BlueHub project.

The BlueHub project will develop and implement a specialist mental health referral, assessment and treatment program that sits between the current services available to members from Victoria Police and the non-specialised treatment available through the public health system.

For some of the delegates present, this conference was their last.

Ordinary elections commenced in September that will inevitably see some new delegates step up and experienced ones step down.

For those leaving the delegates’ table, your passionate and engaging debate will be missed, but we know that we can count on your continued support as members.

On behalf of our members, we sincerely thank you for your commitment.

International support from our New Zealand friends

Many members will know of the recent horrific murder of Australian Sean McKinnon in New Zealand, who was shot dead in a random attack while travelling with his fiancee near the popular New Zealand beach town of Raglan, south of Auckland.

Sean's sister Emmeline, a member of ours, received the terrible news no one wants to receive and with the support of TPAV, was connected with our friends from the New Zealand Police Association (NZPA) who met her at the airport and provided transport, accommodation, advice and support to her and her family over an extended period.

On behalf of all members of TPAV I want to thank NZPA President Chris Cahill, their Welfare Fund Manager Peter Hayes and all members of the New Zealand Police Association for their support when one of our members needed it most.

We should never take for granted the value of our international policing family and it is at times like this that we see its true value.