I hope those who were able to take a break over Christmas enjoyed their time off with family and friends.
I must begin by acknowledging the challenges that some of our comrades are currently facing.
It can be extremely difficult to maintain a work-life balance while being a parent or a partner. Additionally, factors such as the cost of living, diverse backgrounds, and having to work away from your family further exacerbate these challenges.
Regardless of the difficulties you may be encountering, I strongly encourage you to reach out for assistance if needed. There are a variety of support services readily accessible to provide the help and support you require.
Do not put off seeking support.
In late 2023, the AFPA achieved a significant milestone with the successful passing and implementation of presumptive legislation. This accomplishment has been a goal for our organisation since 2019, and it is the result of extensive lobbying efforts and hard work by the AFPA. I would like to thank all of the AFPA staff, AFPA members, and delegates (past and present) who helped with this win for members.
These presumptive legislation changes will bring about significant improvements for all of our members who have sustained mental health injuries. They will no longer be required to provide proof that their job specifically caused the injury, and we hope this will expedite their access to treatment; AFPA Legal and Industrial Manager Giles Snedker talks more about this later in the Legal report.
As things start to slow down for many of the front-line members, please be reminded to prioritise your well-being and self-care. Everyone needs to recharge and rest, and there should be no ignominy in utilising your entitled time off. As I have mentioned before, when you are on leave or stand down, it is important to disconnect and take the opportunity to rest without checking work emails or participating in group chats. An article by Natalie O’Brien in the Herald Sun, which is listed in our Media resources, includes a statement from the AFP that I believe to be inaccurate and somewhat misleading:
“…That AFP members were remunerated appropriately if they were recalled to work….”
This fails to acknowledge the circumstances in which employees who were/are not in receipt of an allowance (on call) but are expected/obliged to diligently oversee their work-related emails and devices in anticipation of potential work recalls – whilst on stand down, leave, or the like. The operational composite does not compensate for this.
Whilst it is disappointing that the first EA meeting of 2024 was postponed, I have been informed we will kick off bargaining again very shortly with a doubling of meetings each week. I had planned to provide an update from this meeting to the membership; however, the cancellation has meant I have had to delay this. As soon as there is a further update in this space, I will let you know.
I hope you enjoy reading the rest of the AFPA Dispatch for January.
Below you can find a summary of the media appearances I have made over December and early January.