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TEU demands answers

Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013

By Erica Visser

The Broken Hill Town Employees Union has called on City Council to make public the contents of a confidential report on the viability of Shorty O'Neil Village.

Council decided last month to open the village up to EOIs following the development of the report.

TEU Secretary Rosslyn Ferry said she was disappointed that Council had not liaised with it and the United Services Union (USU) before the decision took place.

The TEU received no correspondence from Council until after the decision was finalised last month, nor was it even informed of an initial meeting with village staff.

"We're hoping to be shown the report ... I think personally it's something that affects the community so it should be made public," Ms Ferry said.

Meanwhile, Ms Ferry and the USU's Ian Fayle had a brief meeting with Council's new interim general manager, Greg Wright, where a petition
amounting to 140 signatures urging Council to reconsider its decision was handed over.

The petition is ongoing around various outlets and would be tabled at this month's Council meeting.

It has been running for just over a week and Ms Ferry hopes to triple the number of signatures.

"I'm hoping that this would be enough for them to reconsider their decision to develop the EOIs," Ms Ferry said.

"We're still looking for people to sign the petition in support of the employees."

Labor Councillor Marion Browne said that Ms Ferry's response was very premature.

"There has been a decision to get EOIs for managing it but who knows what the response will be," Clr Browne said.

"It's really important for everyone to understand the situation we're in and that's the reason we're looking at what our options are.

"Certainly in this case there's been no decision, everyone's been very clear that the needs of residents and interests of the employees are being considered."

Clr Browne agreed that the unions should be kept informed on the progress of the EOIs.

"The unions really have to be kept abreast, of course they play a role in this and they're doing their job."

Ms Ferry previously told the BDT that SOV staff would be worse off under any provider other than Council.

Clr Browne said that she could not guarantee that she would not support a provider that would leave staff worse off because she could not "possibly say what the options are".

"It is absolutely premature, I have no idea what the interest will be."

A specialist company would construct the EOI document.

Council would not say how much it would cost.

"These days, they're specialist jobs and staff at Council have been stretched really thin over the past few months," Clr Browne said.

"It needs to be accurate."

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