This has been one of the toughest years many of us have ever faced. Between the health and economic impact of the global pandemic and the worst bushfires in a generation, we have received our fair share of challenges. As the year draws to a close, it’s worth reflecting on some of the issues our membership confronted in 2020.
One of our key priorities was protecting the safety and economic security of our members, especially those working on the front-line in the battle against COVID-19.
In the pharmacy sector, the ‘Keep Pharmacies Safe’ campaign fought against proposals for pharmacies to become COVID testing facilities, which would have endangered the health and well-being of pharmacy staff and the broader community.
As part of the wider union movement, we campaigned for the adoption of the JobKeeper subsidy, which supported millions of people – including many of our members – during shut-downs.
We shone a spotlight on the enormous contribution that our professional workforce is making in the battle against the pandemic and in rebuilding the economy. This included the nation’s scientists; whose work is more important than ever to public health and economic recovery.
Our ongoing campaign for professional engineer registration schemes gathered pace. In Victoria, engineer registration will commence on 1 July 2021 and during the ACT election, all parties committed to introducing registration. Engineer registration legislation was successfully introduced in NSW, with further campaigning required in 2021 to ensure it is implemented effectively. WA is also in play with consultation occurring about the scope of a potential scheme.
For our members in CASA, Airservices and the Australian Public Service, we’ve been working hard to prevent pay cuts and systemic understaffing, and to reassert the important role of the public sector.
In NSW, the Local Government State Award was successfully negotiated, providing pay rises and stability for members in an environment of extremely low wage growth and uncertainty.
Throughout the year, our union has also represented members across a range of professions through workplace advice and support, enterprise bargaining, and advocacy.
In the short time I have been at Professionals Australia, I have been impressed by the commitment and professionalism of our workplace delegates, who are the backbone of our union. Their leadership and support of fellow workers is an inspiration.
Thank you for being a valued member of our union. Your continued involvement enables our membership to remain strong, build collective power and work together to achieve better employment outcomes for all members.
Best wishes for a safe, successful, and happy 2021.
CEO, Professionals Australia