All the latest news and views from the CPSU team

CPSU 2016 Award Winners

CPSU Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Tasmanian Community

Recipient:    Shirley Williams

Community Award winner Shirley WilliamsShirley Williams is a founding member of the Advocacy group Breaking the Silence which was founded 5 years ago.

A group of young people within the Bridgewater and Brighton community came together to see how they could help to stop the violence within their community. They created a video that was based on their fears, hopes and dreams. They wanted social change to occur within their community and stop the abuse and violence.

The small group of young people gained the interest of others within the community and a group of women decided that, if young people can speak up and do something, then they could to. The women came together and formed their own advocacy group which is known now as Breaking the Silence.

Breaking the Silence is an advocacy group which has done great work within the Brighton/Bridgewater community, the Tasmanian community and broadly across Australia, to raise awareness of Domestic violence.

The majority of the group have lived through and experienced domestic violence. They are using their stories to create art which has been part of exhibits here in Hobart, written a book called Hidden which is filled with personal stories and poetry, and are currently in the process of completing an Audio Book.

These stories are extremely confronting, but Shirley continues to work with the group and find new ways to educate the community on what domestic violence and abuse is, why domestic violence it is not ok, and provides information for those who require support.

“People tell us every day that we have made a difference”

The group continue to run projects and programs within the community.


Shirley is a Customer service officer at the Bridgewater LINC. She has been working at the LINC (previously known as the Online Access Centre) for 5 years.

She started in the role as part of a national Government project to connect rural and regional Australia through the access to online services and learning.

The work that Shirley does helps to connect the local community together, “the job is about connecting people”. It is a safe place where people can come to read, learn and network together.

Some of the programs that Shirley is involved in, include the Adult Literacy program and various Children’s reading programs.
Shirley volunteers as an Adult Literacy tutor where she helps adults in learning to read and write. This volunteer work is extremely rewarding. “Helping someone to gain the skills they need to write an address or read their child a bedtime story is extremely rewarding”.
Another well-known program run through the LINC includes National Book Week. Staff at the LINC take part in children’s reading programs where they read to children and help them to read themselves. This includes a dress up day where everyone comes to work dressed as their favourite storybook character.

Commendation for Outstanding Contribution to the Tasmanian Community

  • Sam Dix
  • Scott Ragg

CPSU Suzanne Pearce Memorial Award for Outstanding Work in Children & Youth Services
Recipient:        Michelle Watson

CYS Award Winner Michelle WatsonMichelle has been with the Child Protection Service for over 10 years. Has worked both in and out of home care and case management. Michelle returned to case management in late 2015 and has shown wonderful commitment and dedication to the children and families that she works with.

Michelle is always willing to go the extra mile for others and is a thoughtful and supportive member of the wider Child & Youth Service team.


Commendation for Outstanding Work in Children & Youth Services

 Annica Clarke

Fiona Hales

Tasplan Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Workplace Delegate

Recipient:    Heath Lorkin – Presented by: Daniel Lane (Tasplan)

CPSU Delegate Award Winner Heath Lorkin (2)

Commendation for Outstanding Workplace Delegate

 Andrew Boskell

Greg Rooke

Jason Buckley

John Everard

Ken Hart

Steve Arditto

Tamatha Creely


CPSU Organiser Sarah says of Heath:

Heath works tirelessly everyday speaking, advocating and assisting Members in his workplace. Quite recently we held a morning tea for the new Child Protection staff to attend and find out some information about the history of Child Protection and the CPSU’s relationship. Heath worked to ensure the new staff attended and also gave a great speech about the importance of becoming a Member, and the collective actions that were mentioned above. 3 new staff joined on the spot with more to come.

Heath spends what little time he does have promoting the importance of Membership and holding discussions in the workplace. He can always be relied upon to go above and beyond and contributes to his role effectively. Heath is respected, funny and a well know face amongst his colleagues!

Heath’s commitment to his Delegate role:

ALL CHILDREN deserve to be protected and safe but the resourcing crisis in Child Protection means that families and young people are slipping through the cracks as staff struggle with caseloads that are much too high because of understaffing. This was one of our key campaigns in 2015.

Child Protection staff were key to running out this campaign. In fact without their input, ideas and activism it wouldn’t have worked at all.

The campaign focused on the key message that children need protection and more staff were needed to help them and support families. Because of their dedication to the families and children they help and their huge workload, it has been a difficult area to campaign in. Because they work with children and families, staff are also reluctant to be named or have their faces shown for.

Delegates helped encourage Members to get active, from filling out a survey to get their ideas in November to encouraging staff to sign an open letter to their Minister Jacquie Petrusma to ask for more staff.

Throughout the campaign, we’ve seen Member activism grow in ways we haven’t seen in this service before.

In meetings Members called on key departmental staff to help them work together on understaffing, and proposed solutions and ways to help them help more families and young people.

In December a full busload of Child Protection staff in Hobart headed down to the Minister Jacquie Petrusma’s office.

They brought along toys and shoes to represent the children that aren’t getting the time and support they need because of chronic understaffing. These Members even took to writing the first names and ages of these children on the footpath.

When Assistant Secretary Thirza White spoke to cameras at the event, these Child Protection staff, who are often afraid to show their faces because of the nature of their work, stood behind her – this was a huge moment in Member activism, which was led by our Delegates.

Delegates were key to building momentum to this day, encouraging and informing Members, and asking their non-union colleagues to join.

Newly elected Delegate Heath Lorkin was instrumental throughout these activities.

He’s increased Membership in Child Protection, talking to his workmates and taking to email to talk about what union Members were doing and why they should join. He encouraged Members to come along to meetings about taking action over understaffing; and is proactive in his union conversations and raising awareness of this issue.

He’s also helped Members increase their activism and give them the confidence to speak up about understaffing that they were experiencing across the board.

Heath is a respected member of the wider child protection team and he continues to stand up for his colleagues and the children and families they work with.

He’s participated in training days and is part of our Proud to be Public 2016 bargaining campaign days this year and last.

In a Delegate update in January, Heath told his CPSU Delegate colleagues:

“Working for Child Protection, my job helps keep children and young people safe and supports families in some really tough times. 

“I’m passionate about helping children, young people and their families, as are the people I am fortunate to work with. Last year was extremely hard with increased demand and decreased resources and support, I became a Delegate so that I would help improve things for our service and for the children and community we serve.

“I’m still learning, however, I have been so impressed what can be achieved when people gather in unity.”


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