At a Community Focus Council Meeting on 14 April a proposal was put before Councillors to invest $millions more on Geelong’s Christmas celebrations.
At this meeting Councillors unanimously voted to defer any further consideration on this proposal until 2021.
The ASU was pleased with this common-sense decision.
At the meeting, several Councillors said it was an inappropriate time for such discussions and the focus needs to be on supporting staff.
However, it was disappointing to read the next morning an opinion article in The Geelong Advertiser from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
In their view, it may be neither “appropriate nor fair” for ratepayers’ money to “bear the burden” of paying employees where “federal or state government funding support is available”.
They think it’s better for their staff to be on the dole than to be paid by Council (using federal tax-payer money instead of council ratepayer money) because then it wouldn’t hurt their budget. This suggestion is misguided, rank and insulting.
Not to mention the implication that staff who dedicate so much to CoGG are in any way a “burden”.
The ‘business as usual’ mindset shown by the two highest elected officeholders in Geelong Council is lacking in the leadership needed for these unusual times.
The ASU is continuing to work with HR at CoGG on initiatives to provide meaningful work for all employees at Council who want to be working, including casuals, ensuring that everyone is supported during this challenging time. We know that staff are a financial investment, not a burden, and employers get back what they put in. We are making sure CoGG remember this too!
This has already resulted in a lot of redeployment opportunities being identified, and a large number of staff continuing in paid work. We are still far from where we need to be, and we will continue to fight for those staff who are worse off.
Comments like those of Cr Asher and Cr Grzybek make the work we are doing that much harder, and they should retract them immediately and publicly.
If you have any ideas to share or suggestions to make about what else could be done, contact your local ASU Delegate or Organiser and we’ll make sure it’s part of the discussion.