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SA UNIONS Work - Secretary's Report

South Australia is on the cusp of economic and social change.  Our economy is moving from our traditional base of agriculture and manufacturing to one driven by the mining and the defence industries with significant growth in education and community services.

We are facing the challenge of climate change which will impact on us more than other places in our nation as we live on the edge of a desert and at the end of the Murray River.  The need for new technology and the emerging green economy could provide opportunities for our people into the future. 

We need to all work together and generate creative solutions if we are to deal with an ageing population, increased migration and the future of our small economy in light of global financial pressures.

Unions in South Australia have a pivotal role to ensure that the economic benefits of booming new industries benefit the state's workers, their families and communities well into the future.

We intend to actively assist in the development of our state as a socially just, productive and economically sustainable place.  We want to do this through active involvement in policy, strategies and projects that will address the challenges of the future such as labour and skill shortages, climate change and social inclusion.

The challenge for all of us is how the future of our state can be fairly shared with its people in a sustainable environment.

Click here for the full SA Unions Agenda >>.. full agenda

The four main priorities of the agenda are:

  • Sharing the wealth - addressing a two tiered economy and inequality
    the impact of a mining boom and defence expansion
    Mining booms deliver strong economic growth but not necessary a sustainable economy, at times creating a two tiered economy.  We need to learn from this and ensure the wealth created is shared and distributed to the whole community and communities are supported for the long term.

  • Fair and safe work - building a productive and engaged workforce
    re-instating fair work laws
    There are groups of workers such as young people, newly arrived workers and those in uncertain and casual employment, who are more vulnerable and need special protection in the law from exploitation.
    a strong safety regime
    Every worker should know they can come home safely from work to their families.  Improved Occupational Health Safety and Welfare (OHSW) is also critical to increased productivity and the future of our state.
    fair treatment of injured workers
    Following recent changes to the WorkCover laws injured workers now have fewer rights and some of the most inadequate entitlements in the nation.  Two key recommendations are to reinstate fairness in the workers' compensation system and strengthen and enforce obligations on employers to care for and employ injured workers.
    work and life
    SA Unions believes to grow our population we need a state which values and supports workers to engage in community life and spend time with their families which will give us an edge in a competitive labour market.
    an active and valued public sector
    The challenges facing our state require an effective and professional public sector workforce.  We need to revalue the importance of frank and fearless advice from public servants to Government.
    SA is currently a low wage state.  Unless this is addressed it could exacerbate labour and skill shortages as workers chase high paid work rather than low paid service industry jobs.  If we are to attract workers we need to raise the bar.

  • Climate change - on the edge of a desert, at the end of a river Although we are a national leader in renewable energy South Australia is especially vulnerable to climate change.  Good management of the Murray and our state's water system is fundamental to the future viability of our state.  Without it we face the loss of our food, wine and agricultural industries.  Other key industries in our state leave a high carbon footprint.  A Carbon Emission Trading Scheme is crucial to the future of our nation and the world but there are implications for workers and the state economy that need to be considered. 
    Two key recommendations are:
    to develop ways to support industries and workers to manage the carbon trading scheme and provide skills and opportunities in the transition to a greener economy
    invest heavily in the development of green jobs particularly in the manufacturing sector with the aim of becoming the Australian leader in green job creation.

  • A strong union movement - crucial to a democracy
    Unions represent the collective voice of working people.  All workers benefit from the activities of unions and the sacrifices made by generations of union members.  Strong, independent and democratic unions are crucial to a strong system of democracy.  They provide an important balance to powerful vested interests and ensure that important issues such as the impact of globalisation on workers are not ignored.  Key recommendations are:
    the State Government to recognise the important role of trade unions and the right of SA workers to join and actively participate in their unions
    a right of entry for union officials to workplaces in order to provide support and information
    consult with unions about key policy areas for the state.


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Executive Officers

Jamie Newlyn, Maritime Union of Australia - SA Branch

Liz Temple
Community & Public Sector Unions (CPSU)

Vice-President (Women)
Demi Pnevmatikos, United Voice

Joe Szakacs

"The Executive Officers team brings experience, balance and broad representation and whose priority will be to grow and strengthen workers' rights in South Australia". 

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