Members will be pleased to hear that the VHPA 2015 Delegates Conference went off without a hitch over the Thursday and Friday of last week.
Speakers included Danny Hill, Assistant Secretary of Ambulance Employees Australia; Education and Training Officer for the National Tertiary Education Union, Ken McAlpine; Maurice Blackburn Associate, Enrico Burgio; VHPA Branch Secretary, Craig McGregor and Health spokesperson and Greens Leader, Richard Di Natale.
“It was great to have the opportunity to put together a full two-day event,” noted Branch Secretary Craig McGregor. “It allowed us to explore a diverse array of issues and to do justice to each of them.”
The highlight of the first day was the captivating presentation on Victoria’s longest industrial dispute given by Danny Hill.
“Danny’s presentation on the ambos’ Code Red campaign was incredibly inspirational and showed just how much commitment and work a good campaign takes. Not just from the Union staff, but far more importantly from the membership on the ground”, said Royal Melbourne Delegate Jacqui Ginn.
This presentation was supported by sessions hosted by stalwart VHPA Delegates Karin Moore and Rebecca Barnden. The sessions were structured to provide insights and inspiration for Public Sector AHPs who are in the early phases of their campaign.
Branch Secretary, Craig McGregor, spoke about the identity crisis that has long plagued the diverse Health Professional group. “The lack of visibility has been an issue for our Members, and other Health Professionals, since at least the late 1980s,” noted McGregor.
McGregor proposed a model that would see the nominal designation, “Allied Health Professional”, expanded and reorganised so as to include all vocational groups covered by the VHPA.
“If we are to continue growing both in terms of membership and industrial strength we need to be forward looking,” noted McGregor. “With the public sector campaign kicking off the timing couldn’t be better.”
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale generously donated his time—which remains in short supply thanks to his very recent ascension to the leadership position—to present at the conference on the Green’s vision for the provision of healthcare across the nation.
Di Natale offered to be the ‘voice of Allied Health Professionals in Canberra’ and extended an invitation to the Branch to present our concerns to the Senate Select Committee on Health—an offer we will certainly be taking up.
The second day of the conference saw the focus shift towards the Public Sector Campaign. Ken McAlpine, having had many years of industrial experience, presented on the essence of bargaining and offered up a range of very useful negotiating guidelines.
In the afternoon attendees had the opportunity to split up into three groups to begin working with their organiser on strategies, tactics and messaging for the campaign.
The Conference marked another success for the Branch and was a great way to launch the Public Sector Campaign.