Recently the United Services Union wrote to Dubbo Regional Council in relation to the classification of Wellington as a “rural centre” for the purposes of section 218CA of the Local Government Act 1993.
Section 218CA provides that following an amalgamation, a council must ensure that the number of regular staff of a council employed at a “rural centre” is, as far as reasonably practicable, maintained at not less than the same level of regular staff as were employed by the previous council at the centre immediately before the amalgamation.
Council’s response was that this didn’t apply to Wellington as the prison and Nanima Village put the population over 5,000.
The Union immediately launched an industrial dispute in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. During these proceedings, the Office of Local Government wrote to Council clarifying its stance on the matter and that Council must now deem Wellington a “rural centre” for the purpose of the Local Government Act and as far as reasonably practicable, maintain the core numbers for the centre of Wellington.
As of 13th November 2017, Council has given an undertaking before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that it will;
1. Abide by the correspondence from the Office of Local Government and deem Wellington a rural centre;
2. Return the core employment numbers of Wellington to that as at 12 May 2016;
3. Continually update staff through the Consultative Committee on the status of this matter.
This is a great win for members at Wellington and the community!