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Meet Flinders Island Members Marc, Megan and Lyn
CPSU Organiser Rosemary Stuart recently visited King and Flinders Islands where she held a number of meetings with CPSU Members and visited workplaces.
Read more about three Flinders Island CPSU Members below:
Marc Cobham, Flinders Island Hospital
We Spoke to Marc Cobham on a sunny Flinders day.
He’s the Support Services Coordinator at the Flinders Island Hospital, which is also an aged care facility. He’s fairly new to the role but not to working for the Tasmanian Public Sector.
“I’ve been working here since August 12 last year, prior to that I worked for 12 years at Service Tasmania on Flinders Island, Marc said. “My job involves managing the support staff of the hospital – that’s the cleaning, kitchen and laundry staff. It involves running the laundry for most of the time as well. It’s a fairly varied job, which requires me to work closely with the Nurse Unit Manager. It’s a huge change from Service Tas, a rapid learning curve because health operates differently in a lot of ways to DPIPWE.”
It’s a Monday to Friday job for Marc, who supervises about 13 full time, part time and casual staff of about 44 at the hospital.
On her visit Rosemary asked Marc if he’d be interested in being a Delegate, and he’s waiting for that to be accepted.
“I’ve always been a union person and strongly believed in unions and the rights of workers. I’ve been a Delegate in past jobs in New South Wales, and it’s something I’ve always been very passionate about.”
Marc’s lived on Flinders for 15 years, moving from Sydney as a bit of a sea change.
“I came here as a tourist and fell in love with the place. It’s a very unique place; it’s got that natural beauty. It’s a small community of about 740 people. It’s a very close knit community and that obviously has its pluses and its minuses. The best part is, when anyone ever needs a hand there are always plenty of hands to help. It’s a very safe place to live with lots of decent people.”
“In the hospital, especially with the aged care facility, we know everybody, the residents and the patients get really well looked after here.”
Outside work Marc has sat on Flinders Council since 2007, is president of the local Furneaux Landcare Associationand is in the Local Hall and Natural Resource Management Committees.
“Lots of things wouldn’t happen without the volunteers here on the island. Apparently Flinders Island has one of the highest ratios of volunteers to the population anywhere in the country. We’re about 38% and Tasmania is about 20%.”
Megan Nevin, Flinders Island District High School
Megan loves her job at Flinders Island District High School, where she’s worked as the School Business Manager at Flinders Island District High School for eight years.
Like Marc, she enjoys the close-knit nature of island life. “You know the ins and outs of everything and get to know the kids pretty well too.
“ I really love the work I do, and that probably has to do with the diversity of it. It’s pretty hectic most of the time, especially with our numbers going down. When I first started we had a full time clerk, now I get about a day a week in clerking hours. There’s still the same amount of work to do, if not more. You really have to prioritise what needs to be done.”
Megan’s job involves helping manage the budget, maintain six teacher residences and organising maintenance of the school. She’s also the line manager for Teacher Aides and Education Facility Attendants.
“I’m also the IT problem solver, when things go wrong, this is where they come! I’m also like a travel agent – the office do all the off-island travel booking, whether it be kids or staff going to PDs or staff using their Bass Strait travel warrants. As School Business Manger I also managing the finances and deal the kids as they come up, if they need a band aid or they’ve broken a pencil.”
The number of students at the school varies throughout the year with around 60 to 70 children ranging from kinder to grade 10.
Despite its relatively small size Megan said it has some great facilities.
“We’ve got a swimming pool, a gym, a tennis court and oval, a woodwork room and a home economics room, which is pretty good for a little school. We also run the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. We also have a school farm and an olive grove.
This year we picked over 500kg of olives and got it produced into olive oil here on the island, which the kids help out with parts of this process.”
Megan said these facilities and programs give the children a decent range of experiences that are outside the normal curriculum.
“It’s not just a school, it belongs to the community. There’s a lot of community input into the school. The art council, the council, the youth program, they all contribute to what happens here at the school. I love working up here with the kids because you get to see them grow. One minute they’re starting kinder, then you blink and they’re ready to go on to secondary school.”
Megan hasn’t always lived on island, moving about 12 years ago from Melbourne. “I changed from being a middle of Melbourne city girl to a country girl who gets her hands dirty. I met a mad Irish man, got married and had kids and now we’re here.”
“I’ve got two little kids, my first starts school next year, which will be interesting! I’m a volunteer ambulance officer and apart from that, life is pretty much about coming to work and raising kids, which keeps me pretty busy.”
Megan helps put up the CPSU information in the staff room and where she can advises people to join the union. “When the Department of Education change something or if there’s something you don’t quite agree with, you don’t really have a voice on your own. The union allows you to be able to put forward your voice.”
Lyn Wilson, DPIPWE
Lyn’s a Client Services Officer and recently nominated as a CPSU Delegate in Information and Land Services. “This means a lot of customer interface work and cashiering, it’s all the Service Tasmania front of office work,” Lyn said. “You’re also the go-between for people coming in for tourism, I tell them where they can go and visit, give them contact numbers and other things like that unofficially.
Lyn’s worked in DPIPWE for over 10 years and was a CPSU Member since she started at the agency.
“It’s a small workplace. I co-share the job with one other person. The shopfront is only open about 24 hours a week; I work about 15 and my colleagues works the rest. The hours were reduced earlier this year.
Lyn said she knows many of those who come into the office. “We also do get a lot of tourists through the advent of summer mainly. We get a lot of bird watchers in, those who love walks and other naturalist-type tourists.
“We’ve got 52 islands in the Furneaux Group, of which Flinders Island is the biggest. Whitemark is the provincial town on the island. We have gorgeous beaches, and you could nearly have a beach to yourself most of the time.”
Lyn was born on Flinders but left for work at 17. “I came back when I was 38 and I worked in Health, in Family Based Care as a Coordinator. I’ve also worked in the Post Office before I applied for this job when it came up about 10 years ago.
“Outside work I just do some voluntary work for the elderly, I’m not in any structured organisation, there are a couple of people my husband and I help. I volunteer for palliative care and I just love relaxing on our beach shack. We have a son who lives off-island now so it’s just my husband and I, he’s semi-retired.” Lyn’s also a Justice of the Peace.
Recently Rosemary Stuart was on the island and asked Lyn to become a CPSU Delegate, as was Marc Cobham, who Lyn knows quite well.
“I think it’s good to have two people on the island because you don’t get much support. It’s nice to have someone else who you can talk issues over with.”
Lyn was an unofficial Delegate for Members for a long time, helping her CPSU colleagues achieved some terrific results.
“I was the union Delegate when I worked in Telstra. I was also the Federal Rep on the appeals board for the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association. I thought, why not have a go again here?
“We always thought because we were such a small workforce that it wasn’t appropriate to have a Delegate but it’s really good to see the thinking on that has changed, and on the island we do need someone because we have our own things going on that might be a bit different to other parts of the state.
“I’ve always believed in the union movement all my working life, so I’m very honoured to be accepted as a Delegate, if that’s the way it goes. I love representing the causes of people, disadvantaged people, it doesn’t have to be in the workforce, and I always like to champion the underdog.”