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Meet Delegate Mick Rowley

RECENTLY CPSU Member Mick Rowley was elected his workplace’s Delegate.

He sees it as taking a more active role in his union. “With all the changes here lately no one was really willing or confident enough to step up and speak out,” Mick said. “In all my working life I’ve been a union member. My current work place was sadly lacking a voice so I thought I’d have a go and be that link between Members, potential Members the union, and management.

“Sometimes you rely on the goodwill of management that things are right and fair, and there are good managers that have everyone’s best interests at heart. Then you go through a phase where that’s not the case and you need to take a closer look at what’s happening within the work place. Having a Delegate means there’s someone who you can go to and trust when you’re not sure.”

Mick works on level 3 at 99 Bathurst St, Hobart. This floor is where a lot of the behind the scenes policy work happens for Children and Youth Services. “There have been many changes of late with the break-up of Disability and Community Services and Children and Youth Services separating out. That’s changed the dynamic of the workplace quite a lot. With these changes comes new focuses, directives and we’re still working our way through a lot of these changes. Children and Youth Services has gone through a major review of all its business areas. Now there are a lot of discussions that still need to be had, in terms of impacts on staff. So at this stage we’re starting to unravel some of those mysteries and see what it all means and where it will take us. Along with that there are staff changes all the time, with new people coming onto the floor and others staff moving elsewhere.

“Some people are probably feeling a bit unsure of their futures.  The next 12 months will be interesting, with current budgets set for the year ahead with CYS looking fairly well positioned but looking further forward budget wise, maybe less so. These longer term uncertainties may see additional people join up with the union, although they should be joining now while things are good.”

Mick started with CYS a couple of years ago as a Finance Analyst, where he focused on monthly and annual reporting as well as variance analysis.

“After that I was in Gambling Support program for 12 months, where the position and work was about education, training and putting out a message about how gambling can potentially be disastrous to people’s lives. I then spent 12 months out at St Johns Park, which had an operational focus, working with Child Protection Workers, Child Health and Parenting staff as managing a small administration team.”

Mick now works in the Children and Youth Services finance team again but this time he’s now in more of a project role looking at energy usage for Children and Youth Services.

“Part of my current job involves looking at how CYS staff can reduce our kilowatt hours energy usage.  This is part of the current Tasmanian Government Global Warming reduction initiatives.  Flowing on from this is the department’s strategic plan which aims to drive down energy usage thus potentially reduce costs and CO2 emissions. It’s not just looking at turning off lights, it’s looking at what we can do by way of investing in our current  buildings to make them more effective, and energy efficient and cost less to operate out of. I am also developing a CYS specific energy reporting process. Part of my current role is also looking at developing a Strategic Asset Management Plan for Children and Youth Services, which considers the recently developed models of care for developing longer term strategic direction.”

Mick recently attended a two-day Delegate training course. It was great to hear real stories and work place experiences from people who have been in the role for a while, it was most helpful.”  Mick learned plenty of new things including what a Delegate can and can’t do and their rights and responsibilities. “The two days went very fast with some great speakers and informative videos that covered some past struggles that unions have gone through. It was good to find out more about the CPSU helpline, and that’s the kind of information I can share in our workspace and get the message out there.  I’m interested in learning more about Work, Health and Safety. Even if there is a staff member allocated to that role, it doesn’t hurt to have someone else to bounce ideas off and share the burden.”

Outside work Mick is a keen sailor. Sailing is something I’m passionate about and I’m happy to talk to anyone who wants to get involved.

Mick started sailing young at eight years old in dinghies and he’s a Member of the Derwent Sailing Squadron, where daylight savings means one thing – twilight sailing on a Thursday.It’s a great time of year to be out on the water. We sail in Div. 1, which means we’re sailing amongst the faster of the Div. 1 boats. Within that there’s a mix of boat / crew capabilities and speeds. Then there’s the division twos, threes and fours, who are a bit slower but enjoy it just as much.”  

Mick likes to keep active at work, and both he and some of his colleagues are involved in a program called Exertime. “It’s something that the University of Tasmania is doing some research on. There’s a school of thought that says officebased work is potentially detrimental to our health so we have to keep active. That’s following on from some research from the US that found as well as going to the gym you’ve  got to consider these eight to ten hour days where we are predominantly sitting on our backsides and how that can potentially reduce your life expectancy.

“Exertime encourages people to do one or two minutes exercise every hour at work. That can be just getting up out of your seat and sitting down five times. That has been shown to have a positive health outcome. So walking to the photocopier half a dozen times isn’t such a bad thing. There’s a whole range of things you can do. Planking is one that seems to be quite popular. That happens here about 3 o’clock every afternoon – there’s a group of us who plank between one to three-and-a-half minutes.

“It’s a bit of fun and a team gelling thing. As long as you empty all your pockets to lighten the load! I think some other departments and workplaces are trialling Exertime.”

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