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Permanency: great news for Members

DPIPWE CPSU Members Holly Wiersma and Clare Lawrence have finally had their employment statuses officially converted to permanent.  An extremely long process, it took over 18 moths to get this result. The CPSU’s Stephanie Jablonski has worked with these Members from the outset.

These Members first came to the CPSU for help in early 2012, with an application for permanency made to the Office of the State Service Commissioner in February that year.

A conference was held in April, then the CPSU wrote to Minister Brian Wightman asking for clarity around the program’s funding.

Another conference was held in June 2012. After a lot of waiting another application needed to be made in February 2013 because OSSC was abolished.

It took months for the State Service Management Office to respond to the CPSU about this.

It was a long, frustrating process but it finally proved successful.
We caught up with Holly earlier this week to talk about what permanency meant.

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Holly Wiersma

Holly’s been employed with the agency since 2008, working under five contracts, and having two contract extensions over five years.
When we last caught up with Holly she was working as a Senior Field Officer in the Save the Tasmanian Devils Program, where Clare still works as a Field Officer.
Holly was on a 12 month contract, which was extended twice and was due to end in June 2013. “It wasn’t looking likely that our contracts would get renewed so I started looking elsewhere.
“It was the first time I got the distinct impression that I would be really unlikely to continue my job.
“An internal position came up in the policy division, so I applied for that and I was lucky enough to get it. It’s a 12 month position while the substantive person is away, so another fixed term arrangement. But it’s worked out well because now I’ve been made permanent.”
Holly’s currently working as a Policy Officer, with her primary role being Executive Officer of DPIPWE’s Animal Ethics Committee.
The permanency comes as a relief as rolling contracts meant applying for the same job again and again.
“It’s sad really, to be in a job that you really love and know really well and being on a program that needs continuing work. Applying for permanency was such a long process, I kind of forgot about our application by the time it was approved. I got into the frame of mind that permanency would be great but there was no point worrying about it, so I thought I’d just make do in the meantime.
“When I heard after all this time that it was looking like it was going to go through, it was an amazing feeling – I never thought it would happen but now it has. The security of having a permanent position is great.
“Financially, having a mortgage as well as knowing you’ve got a place to go back to, is really nice. I didn’t quite realise how significant it was until it happened. I no longer have to worry about applying for jobs all the time now. It’s just a big relief.
“Eventually I’d love to go back to RMC (Resource Management and Conservation). What I’m doing now is great, I’ve learnt a lot and it was a really good time in my career with DPIPWE to do something different.”
“I’m also going on maternity leave soon, which is another great aspect of permanency. Before, I would’ve just gone on leave and not come back but now I can look forward to coming back to what I know and love.”
A successful permanency status is also great news for the Save the Tasmanian Devils Program, with Clare Lawrence a passionate worker in the program protects and preserves the devil and the orange bellied parrot.  Clare is a highly skilled employee, with Masters in zoology, a Graduate Diploma in Ornithology, and is an incredibly hard working, passionate biologist.  Having a permanent employee of Clare’s expertise and ability is a real asset to both the agency and to the wildlife that she works with.
For the program, having permanent staff is important to keep knowledge and also ensure continuity. Having a group of committed staff who know the project and where it’s at is really valuable for the Save the Tasmanian Devils program. Constantly reapplying for jobs is also a really wearing process.
“Hopefully we have paved the way because there are a lot of great people who work in that team who do work that is a core focus of wildlife management.”
Another Member suggested that Holly and Clare apply for permanency three years ago. “It really helped to have people behind us being supporting.
“Unless you dig for it or someone makes a suggestion, you don’t know it’s an option to go for.”
The CPSU’s worked hard over the years to secure the working future of its Members. Read more about this here.

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