Today I am announcing a change of leadership at your union, HACSU.
As many of you will already know, in November 2018 I was elected as the National Secretary of the Health Services Union (HACSU’s national union). After 30 years of working for HACSU members, 20 years as HACSU Branch Secretary the time has now come for me to step into the national role full-time and hand over the HACSU leadership to Paul Healey and Kate Marshall who have been appointed in accordance with the Unions Rules by your elected Branch Committee of Management as the new Branch and Assistant Branch Secretaries.
While I am moving a short distance away to the HSU offices in Carlton, I want members to know that I am not leaving you behind. In my new role I will be taking up the challenges and interests of HACSU members at a national level, whether that be fighting for a quality NDIS or ensuring that mental health services are properly funded. With my full-time appointment to the National Secretary role, I will also have the opportunity and privilege of advocating for the interests of all members of our union in the national arena.
At HACSU we continue to find ourselves challenged by issues our branch cannot directly influence because so much of the funding and policy settings in disability, mental health and alcohol and other drugs are controlled by the Federal Government. Consider the privatisation of public disability services, which was ultimately driven by inadequate NDIS pricing determined by the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Governments. We are also increasingly confronted with important policy decisions in mental health and alcohol and other drugs being made by the Commonwealth Government. To create change we need a strong voice at the national level—a voice which I hope to be. I want to campaign alongside Paul and Kate as the new HACSU leaders every day and for every member.
I have the utmost faith in the capabilities of both Paul Healey and Kate Marshall. I’ve watched both of them grow into strong union leaders throughout my time at HACSU and I am confident they will take up the reins with diligence, competence and heart. Paul’s comprehensive understanding of the mental health workforce and years of dependable union leadership as Assistant Branch Secretary has demonstrated his commitment to members’ best interests. In Kate’s role as Senior Industrial Officer, she has developed an impressive and strong knowledge of the disability sector and has a resolute determination to ensure HACSU members’ rights are protected and enhanced. You are in excellent hands with both Paul and Kate and I wish them the very best.
While it is bittersweet saying goodbye to HACSU, I depart knowing that our union is in the best position we’ve ever been—with a record number of members. I know that under the leadership of Paul and Kate, HACSU will continue the fight to put the heart back into the NDIS and deliver the high-quality and well-funded mental health and alcohol and other drugs services for the benefit of both workers and consumers.
I am extremely proud of the great campaign wins and achievements we have made together. Collectively, we have made a real difference to the lives of our members and the lives of the tens of thousands of people who you support through our bargaining, industry advocacy and workplace activity.
A very special thank you to our fantastic staff, Elected Officials and Branch Committee of Management Members, particularly Deb Gunn, our HACSU President. Thank-you to our remarkable Delegates, advocating for the best interests of your colleagues in workplaces across Victoria.
Finally, I wish to thank each and every member for all you do in your sector and your persistent support of our union and of me as your elected leader. It has been the honour of a lifetime serving you as HACSU Branch Secretary.
United we win – keep up the fight for fairness and decency at work.
Yours in Union,