|Issue No 39||12 November 1999|
First Social Audit Win For Rural Road Workers
By Mark Hearn
Rural council workers have forced the state government to conduct a social audit into the impact of competitive tendering of work on the state's roads.
Following months of protests, negotiations and pressure from the Municipal Employees Union the State Government has finally - and publicly - committed to conduct a Social Impact Study into the ramifications of compulsory market testing of RTA local government funding.
The public announcement that the Government would conduct the Study finally came at the Local Government and Shires Association Conference at Dubbo when MEU regional and metropolitan delegates quizzed the NSW Minister for Roads and Transport Carl Scully on the floor of the Conference.
The questions directly led Mr Scully to admit the Government would conduct the Social Impact Study. The MEU has been pushing for the Study since the Government announced it would subject the local government work to Competitive Tendering.
According to MEU General Secretary Brian Harris this campaign has been about people and jobs. "The pressure has come from the local communities themselves - it has been a large grassroots movement with several large rallies conducted across NSW which has forced the Government to back down and conduct the Study".
The MEU has argued consistently that Competitive Tendering would cause devastating effects on regional communities leading to job loss and the destruction of some smaller communities.
"This is a major victory - not just for the MEU and it's members but also for the communities whose livelihoods were at stake. Of course the battle is not over - we will be urging all local councils to support a moratorium on the market testing of RTA local government funding until the Impact Study is complete," Harris says.
"We will also be working with the government to ensure that the Study does fully assess the social impacts on jobs and local communities."
The Inquiry must examine:
- The impact on occupational health and safety,
- Community service obligations,
- The impact on rates of pay, conditions of employment, equal employment opportunity, together with the effects on job security and unemployment,
- The impact on rural and regional employment including the maintenance of local government as a strong and independent public employer,
- Economic and regional development,
- The effect on skill development and training.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005