In reference to a news item appearing in the media on Thursday September 6 2018, council would like to strongly refute the inferences made therein. It should be noted that the report excerpts quoted by the journalist involved were eighteen months old and leaked anonymously- for reasons unknown to council.
Oberon Council is committed to the Workplace, Health and Safety of all Staff and Councillors and continues to minimise any risk to its workforce. After being made aware of potential issues 18 months ago, Oberon Council has been voluntarily and diligently working towards an overview of its WH&S practices and policies through a self implemented People at Work and Dignity and Respect at Work program. This program was not enforced by either Statecover or SafeWork NSW.
The program was independently mediated by Statecover together with SafeWork NSW in order to provide an open and transparent process to staff and from the outcomes Council developed and implemented a series of actions and recommendations. This has been an 18 month process and will continue into the future. Council is disappointed by the actions of an anonymous person or persons who seek to undermine greatly improved processes of Council during this time. Council have liaised with both SafeWork NSW and Statecover during this period and recently SafeWork NSW in their communications with Council acknowledged and commended Oberon Council for the significant work that has been undertaken in this program and looks forward to working with Council to continue this work.
It is acknowledged that two notices were recently provided to Council, recommending:
1) a method whereby staff have the access to a process that clearly delineates a way to identify and report mental health or psychosocial risks
2) to further convey and communicate ongoing staff structure processes.
Council has currently responded to one of the notices and is actively communicating with SafeWork NSW in order to finalise the second. Substantial work has already been undertaken to appropriately address the requirements of the notices.
Over the past 18 months, Council has undergone management change as an outcome of the proposed amalgamation process, staff progression and retirements. We will continue to review the needs of the workforce throughout our structure and implement changes to make sure that people are in the right positions to propel Council forward over the coming years.
It must be acknowledged that since the introduction of the Dignity and Respect at Work program eighteen months ago Council has received no complaints in relation to perceived Bullying and Harassment and delivered on two of the biggest Operational Plans in the history of the Local Government Area. Council is very proud of its staff contribution to this achievement. .
Oberon Council refutes any commentary to suggest that it is in, has been or will likely be in turmoil or chaos, as reports have suggested.
Council management and staff are committed to the health and wellbeing of all and are working on delivering not only the requirements of the improvement notices but continuing all our WH&S processes.