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Fair Work Act 2009                                       1057315






s.158 - Application to vary or revoke a modern award


Application by Hibbins






THE COMMISSIONER:  I will take appearances.  Who do I have here in Melbourne?


MR A HIBBINS:  Angus Hibbins.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Thank you, Mr Hibbins.  In Sydney?


MR C DELANEY:  Delaney, initial C, for ASIAL; Australian Security Industry Association.




MR H HARRINGTON:  Harrington, initial H, for the Australian Industry Group.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Thank you, Mr Harrington.  Thank you very much for your attendance today.  This matter has been listed for a hearing on application by Mr Hibbins to vary the Security Services Industry Award.  I understand that the application seeks to insert or identify classifications particular to security officers working in hospitals, psychiatric institutions and the like; so to insert a category of 'hospital security officer'.


From the application, I understand the suggestion is that the hospital security officer should be classified at what is currently the security officer levels 4 and 5.  Is that right, Mr Hibbins?


MR HIBBINS:  Yes.  I just wanted to clarify there that I was trying to put in for a security officer within the public healthcare system - - -




MR HIBBINS:  - - - that contains an emergency department and mental health facility.




MR HIBBINS:  So more so the public sector.


THE COMMISSIONER:  In particular it would apply to hospitals that had an emergency department in the public sector?




THE COMMISSIONER:  Mr Hibbins, why don't you tell me a little bit about why you want to do this - or why you're asking the Commission to do this and, if you can, address any relevant matters in the Act that I'm required to take into account.  I'll hear from you and then I'll hear from Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington in Sydney.


MR HIBBINS:  Yes.  I'm probably going to have a bit of difficulty referencing the Act, because I'm not super familiar with it.




MR HIBBINS:  But the reason why I'm doing it is mental health is a complex environment that since the 1970s has seen less restricted measures; whether that be mechanical, physical or chemical restraint of an individual.  I want to see officers trained in mental health illness so they understand that the person is suffering and they're not a bad person.  It would be fair to the consumers to see security officers trained in mental health to a fundamental standard as to understand the complexities of their illness, as well as protect the officer's mental health and physical health.


I'm also at the end of my bachelor degree in nursing, so I do have an understanding of mental health.  I've worked in security for 12 years and the past three years I've worked in hospitals.  I've seen what it does to security officers, where they become sort of like prison officers and they become more aggressive towards the client, and I've seen officers deteriorate through mental health.  I've also seen some officers get paid $21 an hour to deal with some of those things that I reference and I don't think that's fair on the officer as such.


THE COMMISSIONER:  What is the interaction between a security officer and a mental health patient?


MR HIBBINS:  So within the public system you will get clients brought in under section 351.  I refer to the Ai Group's submission where they mention that security officers can expect a level of this, whether it's an event, nightclub or sporting events, but there are two in‑roads.  An officer will restrain that person and the police and ambulance might take away that person.  They will bring them to a hospital or the police station.  They generally bring them to a hospital under section 351 of the Mental Health Act, which then means that they become housed within a hospital.  So an officer might physically restrain the person, they come across them - - -


THE COMMISSIONER:  But isn't that the job of the health staff?


MR HIBBINS:  No, not necessarily.  That's why a security officer is there, as well, to ensure the safety of the staff.


THE COMMISSIONER:  I understand they're there to ensure the safety of the staff, but they're not there to treat the - - -


MR HIBBINS:  Not there to treat them, but they're to be involved when the patient might get upset or is dangerous.  You know, we have clients bringing in knives, batons.  A lot of homeless come through, so they're always bringing batons and stuff, drug‑affected.  Officers often do patrols through mental health facilities where you then come in contact with clients.  You're there to treat them as a person; to talk to them if they talk to you.  You're not just there to tune them out and be - - -


THE COMMISSIONER:  How is that different to the security officer who sits at the front desk in this building?  You know, surely they're responsible to respond politely and appropriately - - -




THE COMMISSIONER:  - - - to a member of staff from the Commission who speaks to them.


MR HIBBINS:  Well, the person at the front of this office doesn't come across mental health every day.  You know, when the consumer gets housed within a mental health facility you may have interaction with them and come across them again and again and again, if that makes sense, so - - -


THE COMMISSIONER:  I'm just not clear on the extent to which a security officer is required to interact.  I understand that if the security officer is patrolling a mental health facility, clearly they are going to come in contact with patients with mental health issues.




THE COMMISSIONER:  But I'm not quite sure what it is they're doing that is in addition to their security officer role.


MR HIBBINS:  All right.  That is in addition to their security officer role - I'm just trying to say they're more - yes, sorry, I'm a bit lost on that one.


THE COMMISSIONER:  No, you're right.  You're right.  So is what you're suggesting that the types of people they may have to deal with in a security situation - because security officers deal with security situations, doctors and nurses deal with health.




THE COMMISSIONER:  Is your concern that security officers working in health facilities are likely to come across more extreme circumstances where they need to intervene from a security perspective - - -




THE COMMISSIONER:  - - - than the security officer at 11 Exhibition Street, for example?




THE COMMISSIONER:  Yes, that - - -


MR HIBBINS:  Yes.  Most mental health facilities have a high dependency unit and you'll get a code in there which then you have to go into; a code grey, which is aggressive or violent person.  You will be interacting - once the place is settled, you would keep a presence.  You would be interacting with clients to make sure they're calm, they're not becoming aggressive themselves.  Like psychosis, people can get quite delusional and - yes, so there is that element with security officers in a hospital, that they will interact with clients more.  They're not just to go in there - - -


THE COMMISSIONER:  Who employed - - -


MR HIBBINS:  - - - and be the muscle.


THE COMMISSIONER:  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you.


MR HIBBINS:  That's all right.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Who employs the security officers in a hospital?


MR HIBBINS:  They're usually contractors to the hospital.  They're not in‑house run, yes.  The hospitals used to - most hospitals that I've worked at and looked at online, they used to be a lot more in‑house run, but it's all contracted out now.


THE COMMISSIONER:  So apart from the more complex needs of the people that a security officer might come in contact with in a health facility, what is it that makes the job more difficult?  What is it that dictates that someone working in those environments should be paid more than - because, I mean, as Mr Harrington - or Ai Group said in their submissions, someone working at a nightclub at 4 o'clock in the morning or working at an event at the MCG on Saturday might come into contact with some quite aggressive, violent, drug‑affected - - -




THE COMMISSIONER:  - - - or alcohol‑affected people that need to be dealt with.  Last Saturday - I don't know whether the parties in Sydney saw it, but there were some quite violent scenes at the football in the Collingwood/Greater Western Sydney game.  What makes dealing with health in the health sector more - or warranting a higher classification and a higher pay than someone having to deal with that every Saturday at the football?


MR HIBBINS:  Yes, so I would say not so much narcotics, but more the events, it's more of a once‑off incident.  I wrote a little statement on that.  Unfortunately, at the end of the road the people who are violent to public, aggressive or suffering from mental health or drug‑affected - are the public hospital systems and police, and that's what I was mentioning before how police bring clients to a mental health hospital or mental health facility and that's the end of the road.


So once the police sort of drop that individual off, it's up to the security and clinical staff to manage that client within that facility.  They can't leave.  If someone is under a section 351, they are involuntary and not allowed to leave the hospital.  Yes, I would say security officers, you know, versus a nightclub or event, they have to use less restrictive measures because it is about consumer and patient care, whereas someone at an event, they're able to restrain someone, get the police or ambulance involved and move them on, yes.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Is there anything else you want to tell me?  Is there anything else you want to say in response to what the Ai Group or the security industry have said?


MR HIBBINS:  So I will make reference to Ai Group when they said:


The applicant is not well placed to make broad statements concerning the ability of the industry in general or even his own employer to attract and retain staff.  It is noteworthy of the individual, occupational reports published by a department, skills, small family business - include security officers amongst occupations.


Basically they are saying there is no skill shortage, which they not wrong, there isn't a skill shortage of security guards, but what I was trying to get at is - the statement I made was not to do with security's ability to provide security guards, it was its inability to maintain well suited security staff to the role.  So when we talk about providing an officer to a public health hospital with an emergency department and mental health facility, why would they want to work for $22 an hour and deal with all the things I've mentioned when they could drive around in the car and check locked doors for the same price?  For $22 an hour you're driving around checking doors and that's it.


THE COMMISSIONER:  For $22 an hour you're working at a nightclub or the grand final.


MR HIBBINS:  Not from my experience you wouldn't be getting paid $22 an hour for a nightclub.  I'm just saying, yes - - -


THE COMMISSIONER:  But the rate is whatever the rate is.




THE COMMISSIONER:  Some nightclubs and the MCG might pay more, but isn't that a question of the rate that the hospital is contracting at?  It's what the hospital is prepared to pay?


MR HIBBINS:  I'm not exactly sure.  Quite possibly, yes.






THE COMMISSIONER:  From your perspective this is about having security staff who are properly trained, properly skilled to deal with the types of clients that they come across in hospitals, but particularly in hospitals dealing with patients with mental health issues.






MR HIBBINS:  Yes, so - yes.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Thank you.  Well, why don't I hear from Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington, and then you will have an opportunity to say anything else that you want to pick up from what they've said.  Okay?


MR HIBBINS:  Yes.  Thank you.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Mr Delaney, is it?


MR DELANEY:  Yes.  Thank you, Commissioner.


THE COMMISSIONER:  You can remain seated, Mr Delaney.  That's fine.


MR DELANEY:  I thought with the microphones, the way they are, it's difficult to hear me.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Just bend it down.




THE COMMISSIONER:  I'll let you know if I can't hear.


MR DELANEY:  Thank you, Commissioner.  Obviously we have produced our submissions in reply to Mr Hibbins and we provided those.  I would just like to make a few comments, if I may.  This seems to be more about training rather than issues of the classification structure.  Just by way of explanation, there are some hospitals that contract out some or all of the security to private contractors.  Those private contractors and employees would variously be covered by either the Security Services Industry Award 2010, which is the subject of these proceedings, or they might be under an enterprise bargaining agreement.


Employees who are engaged directly by the hospital are covered by the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010, and I'll touch on that a little bit later if I may.  In terms of the classification structure of the award, that particular classification has been around since about 1998 and was introduced into the modern award when the modern award was made.  Now, the modern award is an industry based award, not an occupational award and therefore the structure for classifications was based on what activities the employees were performing.  That has come fairly traditionally from the legislation that exists about security activities and the licensing.


Unfortunately, we don't have one security service legislation in Australia; each state has its own legislation dealing with the licensing of security officers.  There is a common training process and that allows for security officers to go through certs II, III and IV.  The basic functions of a security officer as enshrined in the classification structure which is schedule C of the award, is to watch, guard or protect persons and/or property, et cetera.  Now, those activities are common right across all the security activities that are performed in any industry where private security has been engaged.


As you identified and so has AiG in their submissions, the security activities can be in almost any environment that one could imagine.  To inject into the classification structure one particular environment - for instance hospitals and, in this case, hospitals with mental health units, et cetera, psychiatric units - would pretty much upset the whole balance of the classification structure.


When the AIRC and the Fair Work Commission drafted the modern award, they considered things like the primary duties of an employee in respect of level of competency or skill and an employee's degree of responsibility and judgment that might be used, autonomy, accountability, their required level of supervision and so on.  They are what is in the award right now.


Security officers employed under this award could variously be engaged at levels 2, 3 and 4 or even higher and could be paid in accordance with demand and supply.  Look, I have to admit that the security industry doesn't offer very high rates of pay in terms of market rates because they find it very difficult for customers to pay high rates.  Now, the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010, under clause 14.3, has the security officers at level 4, which is $22.70 per hour.  The Security Services Industry Award level 2 is $22.53.  They're essentially comparable in the amount of money that they're prepared to pay under the award for security officers whether engaged in-house or by a security provider.


Now, we don't seek to argue about whether the incidence of violence in emergency departments or psychiatric units may be higher than elsewhere from time to time, but we do say they're not different from what might happen elsewhere.  I think, Commissioner, you were asking the question, well, what's different between dealing with somebody at an event or at 4 o'clock in the morning at a venue.  The difference is very, very little.  It's just the environment in which it takes place, it's not the activity that the security officer has to perform.


We would argue that there has been no evidence provided by the applicant that would support the need for a change.  We don't believe - and I think we put it into our submissions - that there has been sufficient evidence to support a change to meet, for instance, the modern award objectives.  We accept that Mr Hibbins has got a valid reason for wanting change.  He has seen that in his own workplace.  He is studying nursing.  He understands that this is sympathetic to the needs of the patients and to the security officers in hospitals, but we see that as a matter of training more than anything else.


You will be aware that in Victoria there was an inquiry into violence and security arrangements in Victoria's hospitals.  That inquiry has been completed.  There is one undergoing - an inquiry in New South Wales currently and there have been some elsewhere that I'm not aware of.  It is not an unusual situation for governments around Australia to consider the problem that all staff in hospitals face, both nursing, doctors and security people, the administrators, but, from what I've seen, none of those that have been completed have suggested a change in rates of pay for security officers or a classification change in the award that we've got in front of us now.


By the way, there are 19 awards in the modern award system that have included in them a classification of security officer.  That allows 19 industries to engage security officers as direct employees and of course the Security Services Industry Award 2010 allows customers to fall on the private security industry to either top up or provide their security needs.  I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, Commissioner.


THE COMMISSIONER:  My only question, Mr Delaney, is what the outcome was from that Victorian inquiry.


MR DELANEY:  The chairman's foreword included the following sentence - if I may.




MR DELANEY:  It says:


Violence in hospitals is an ongoing problem in Victoria.  Such violence can take the form of verbal abuse, threats and physical assault and in most cases is directed at health workers who have immediate contact with patients.


It goes on to say:


Nurses are most at risk and particularly those who work in emergency departments of hospitals.


Now, I don't have any more information than that with me at the moment, but it is a public document - - -




MR DELANEY:  - - - and it's available.  It makes no comment, from what I've read, that would indicate an award variation needed to be made to provide security officers with the training that they need - or may need - to protect health workers in the hospital system.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Thank you, Mr Delaney.  I will access that report and have a look at it.  If in my perusal of it anything comes up that I think I should get some comment from the parties about, I will let you know.  Okay?


MR DELANEY:  All right.  If I may add, Commissioner, without downplaying it, that is a report from Victoria.  This is an application to vary - - -




MR DELANEY:  an award which has national application.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Yes, I appreciate that, Mr Delaney.


MR DELANEY:  Thank you.


THE COMMISSIONER:  I suspect that the public health systems are not substantially different state to state in terms of the issues they confront.


MR DELANEY:  I agree.


THE COMMISSIONER:  But I am aware of that.  Thank you.  Mr Harrington?


MR HARRINGTON:  Thank you, Commissioner.  Before going into our more substantive submissions, I might just take brief issue with the applicant's submissions which state that security work is now more complex than it was back in the 1990s.  We (indistinct) of the applicant in that respect and we understand that he himself has only worked in the security industry for 12 years, so we've got no evidence before the Commission with respect to changes as the applicant describes.


The applicant has also taken issue with a reference in our submissions to certain commonalities between the work that the applicant describes as being distinctive to health facilities and work performed in nightclubs or events.  We continue to rely on our own submissions on this point.  The issue of dealing with aggressive publicans (indistinct) we simply say that the conditions which the applicant uses to justify an award variation (indistinct) our point doesn't extend beyond there.


The applicant has also stated that although there is no skills shortage of security officers, the rate of pay in the award isn't conducive - or at least the minimum rate of pay is not conducive to maintaining staff with the requisite previous experience.  We simply say in response that if employers were (indistinct) retaining staff (indistinct) act as a correcting force there.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Not generally working at the moment.


MR HARRINGTON:  Sorry, Commissioner?


THE COMMISSIONER:  It's all right.  It was a side quip with respect to the comments of the Governor of the Reserve Bank.  That's all right.


MR HARRINGTON:  My apologies.  I'm not (indistinct) as I'd like to be.  The precise nature of the application which is before the Commission may be somewhat nebulas.  It's clear to us that the applicant seeks to insert into the award a separate classification for employees who are currently engaged under the Security Services Industry Award that spend some or all of their time in health facilities of various descriptions.


The initial application of 2 July 2019 sought some sort of objective with respect to the Security Award, but this was described in the form of a review or a variation of training programs to be inserted into the award.  The applicant's subsequent submission that he filed on 9 August (indistinct) the Commission, continue to describe the objective in a variety of different ways; the Security Award and beyond (indistinct) security officer, a review of the Security Award and a request that security officers working in a mental health emergency department in a hospital (indistinct) paid similar to that of a level 4 or a level 5 under the award.


We understand the applicant is now electing to propose a variation to public health facilities or at least a subset of those, but even now it's not quite clear to us what he would like to see.  The applicant initially referred to a dedicated allowance to be associated with the new classification, although it's not clear whether this is still being pursued considering the (indistinct) nature of the variation that's sought.  We would recommend the Commission exercise its discretion to dismiss the application on the basis that it has no real reasonable prospect of success.


We would argue that the proposed variations would be inconsistent with the modern awards objective and contrary at least to the minimum wages objective.  This would be our alternative position.  However, some level of speculation has to be exercised on our part (indistinct) conclusions in this regard, but we assume for the purpose of (indistinct) that broadly the applicant is seeking an additional classification to be inserted into the Security Award that provides separate rates of pay that are similar to either a security officer level 4 or level 5 of the award.


That means the classifications would cover only security officers that are currently covered by the Security Award, as opposed to any of the other awards that cover security personnel in other industries.  The proposed classification would cover security officers that spend some or a majority or all of their time working in a health facility and the application was made under 158, and it's intended to be pursued on that basis and not under 160 as was previously stated.


We're also assuming that the applicant is not seeking to revoke the modern award if no box was ticked in the application and that the applicant was not pressing its earlier proposal for the inclusion of an allowance for hospitals security officers; so we're proceeding on these assumptions.  The applicant's arguments in support of the proposed variations are inadequate to justify the Commission exercising its powers to amend the modern award.


Various health risks which the applicant contends are associated with deployment to health facilities, contact with diseases and aggressive public, aren't really endemic to deployment to such locations.  Moreover, it's not clear why these conditions would warrant creating a new classification of employee under the award.  The conditions which are referred to in the applicant's submissions are merely a representation of his own experience.  There is no evidence that they are representative of security officers generally or who are engaged to work in health facilities.


The applicant's submissions refer to what may really be the case for a small subset of work tasks in a limited number of facilities.  An award variation should to be made on the basis of this application.  It's not difficult to imagine various contexts in the security services industry where there may be exposure to aggressive or violent (indistinct) a major event we mentioned in our submissions, sporting tournaments, nightclubs.  The issue is highlighted by the applicant (indistinct) other than health facilities.  We put that a response to this is probably more sensibly considered in the province of work health and safety legislation.


The applicant has claimed that violence is increasing in hospitals.  No evidence has been provided to support this.  Provision (indistinct) to justify a separate classification for hospital security officers.  I will also just mention that security work, including that performed in health facilities, is already covered by the Security Award - at least in existing classifications.  Even if there are commonalities between the duties required in this variety of work, this doesn't necessitate a separate classification.


The classification stream in the Security Award is very (indistinct) based on skill, duties and responsibilities.  These are sufficiently flexible to be applied to the various venues which security services may be required.  The applicant is under the impression that security officers operating in health facilities are restricted to engage at level 3 under the current classification system in the award.  We say this is incorrect.  Deployment to a health facilities does necessarily bar an employee (indistinct) higher up to 4 or 5.


On the contrary, it (indistinct) dedicated classification to hospital security officers would, on the other hand, discourage them reaching higher classifications as it would effectively isolate some employees from the broader classification system.  It would be contrary to the intent and the design of the classification system in the award to provide separate classifications for security officers deployed to health facilities.


The evidentiary threshold that has to be met for a proposed variation generally requires detailed evidence of the operation of the award, the impact of the current provisions on employers and the employees covered by the award, and the likely impact of the proposed changes.  We say that the threshold hasn't been met by the applicant.  The evidence that has been provided was applying to his own circumstances and was made up of no more than mere assertions.


The considerations which the Commission is required to take into account for the purposes of determining whether a proposed variation is necessary to achieve the modern awards objective don't support making the variations proposed.  In this respect we simply rely on the points raised in our submissions.  Security officers now obtain the capacity to progress from levels 1 through 5 under the current award.  The inclusion of a dedicated classification would restrict the relevant employees' access to higher classifications which have not been considered amenable to addressing relevant living standards (indistinct) paid.


The industrial balance created by the Fair Work Act is underpinned by the notion of collective bargaining.  The need to encourage collective bargaining we say weighs against granting the variation proposed.  If the issues highlighted by the applicant are supportable and represented a specific company, the applicant's issues may be appropriately addressed in collective bargaining.


If some unique conditions within a small cross‑section of the industry were considered to justify a modern award variation the number of applications would likely be endless and enterprise bargaining would have far less work to do initially, requiring classifications of all the hospital security officers above level 3 - would arguably act as a considerable disincentive to engage new employees when employment to a health facility is required.  This goes to the need to provide (indistinct).


The applicant's statement (indistinct) attracting employees to the industry hasn't been supported by any evidence.  As outlined in our written submissions, the security services industry is already exposed to considerable cost pressures.  Requiring immediate engagement of all employees deployed (indistinct) level 3 classification would likely result in a higher proportion of industry revenue being devoted to wages and (indistinct) providing adequate personal protective equipment and risk prevention measures.


To meet a broadly defined (indistinct) classification structure that is able to respond to various circumstances in the security services industry by including a separate classification with respect to what may be describes as a minor subset in the industry would unnecessarily complicate the classification structure in the award.  If the applicant's proposed variations were granted, such an approach would have precedential value potentially (indistinct) applications to cover other subsets of industry.


The modern award system is meant to be (indistinct) easy to understand and sustainable.  The objective would be considerably more (indistinct) if all the subsets within an industry were required to have their own dedicated provisions.  It's Ai Group's position that the introduction of a new classification covering all those already covered by existing classifications under the Security Award would result in an alteration to minimum wages.  As such, the minimum wages objective applies to the exercise of the Commission's powers in these proceedings.


Aside from the points already made in the submissions, Ai Group notes that the applicant has not demonstrated work value reasons; whether these be (indistinct) nature of the work or level of skill and responsibility involved or the conditions under which the work is performed justifies the variations proposed.  These points don't demonstrate any relevant commonalities across (indistinct) security officers.  Moreover, the creation of a separate classification for such employees (indistinct) to which the award applies from classifications based on skill and responsibility as these progress in the existing classification structure.


Ai Group opposes the application (indistinct) the written submissions and we recommend that the application be dismissed.  If the Commission is not minded to take this course of action, we contend that the proposed variations are unnecessary (indistinct) meets the modern awards objective and are contrary to the minimum wages objective.  If it pleases the Commission, those are our submissions.  I'm happy to take any questions.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Thank you, Mr Harrington.  That was quite comprehensive.  Mr Hibbins, have you got anything you want to say in reply to what Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington have said?


MR HIBBINS:  Yes, a little bit.  With Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington - and yourself with evidence - it's a difficulty for me to provide evidence in regard to what is seen in hospitals, as consumers are entitled to their privacy.  It won't do justice to those individuals if I was to provide incident reports for yourself on my behalf which would show what happens in hospitals.  Yes, so I don't know if the Commission can get that sort of information by judicial process.  I know it's very complex, dealing with a lot of consumer stuff.




MR HIBBINS:  Just a comparison, as well, for the Commissioner, Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington.  This is a hospital security officer versus a prison officer, which I made reference to.  A hospital security officer can secure containment of mental health consumers; help mental health consumers make positive decisions about negative decisions they may be able to make; conduct environmental searches for contraband to ensure ward safety; making positive influence on mental health consumers by helping them navigate the mental health facility; seclusion of physical restraint of consumers and individuals who are a danger to themselves, staff or others, ensuring safe environments for staff and public and consumers.


This is the role of the prison officer:  secure containment of offenders; help offenders gain enriched prospects; help offenders gain life skills; officers invite offenders to analyse their decision‑making and adopt more positive behaviour; assist in protection, safety and security of the prisoners, their teammates and visitors; making positive influences on the prisoners you work with; helping them approach release from prison with confidence they can avoid re‑offending.  Yes, that was retrieved from correctionsjobs.vic.gov.au/prison-officers.


THE COMMISSIONER:  The duties that you just read out for a hospital security officer, where did you get those from?


MR HIBBINS:  They are in my experience and the experience of other guards at hospitals I've worked at, so - yes.


THE COMMISSIONER:  One of the differences of course is that a corrections guard is employed under the Corrections Award.


MR HIBBINS:  Yes, of course.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Yes.  So he is employed under the industry of corrections.  It seems to me that one of the difficulties is that the health industry has determined in some cases not to directly employ their own security officers, but rather to do that through a contract to another firm.  One of the questions I have though is why - I mean, one of the things that the public health industry does do is bargain.  There would not be a public hospital in Victoria that doesn't have an enterprise agreement.  Why are the security guards not caught up in that enterprise bargaining process or, alternatively, in an enterprise bargain with your own employer?


MR HIBBINS:  Yes.  So, from my experience often companies that are providing security to hospitals, it's only a small section of their employment.  It might be 15 guards that they provide on a 24‑hour basis.  I guess it's not really seen valid to the majority of the rest of their workings, if that makes sense.  I'm not exactly sure how an EBA works.  I understand the principle of an EBA; it's when employees and employers get together and bargain.




MR HIBBINS:  Yes, I would say a lot of guards wouldn't know they can do that, as well.  They sort of just accept it is what it is.






THE COMMISSIONER:  Is there anything else you want to tell me?


MR HIBBINS:  Not really.  The only thing I had to mention was the evidence, but obviously we can't really gather that; those reports.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Well, thank you very much for your application and your submissions, Mr Hibbins, and Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington.  I will reserve my decision, so I'll issue a decision in writing in due course.  I should tell you, Mr Hibbins, that on the basis of the material you have given me it's very unlikely - - -




THE COMMISSIONER:  - - - that I'm going to be able to grant the application.  Could I just say though that I think - and this is something for Mr Delaney and Mr Harrington, as well - the issues you raise in terms of security guards working in the health industry are real issues that confront real workers every day.  They are not to be glossed over or thought of as not important issues.  The question that I have to decide though is whether the award should be varied.  Even if I don't grant the application, you shouldn't take that as any commentary on the importance of the issues that you have raised.






MR HIBBINS:  Sorry, Commissioner, after reading Ai Group's and ASIAL's reports it became apparent that I haven't provided enough evidence to adjust the award.  If I choose to pursue this again - because it is something that's quite close to me and I do see a lot of guards go through a lot of trouble - and I decide to gain evidence, am I able to put the application in again?




MR HIBBINS:  And better formed - - -


THE COMMISSIONER:  Yes.  There is nothing to stop you doing that.


MR HIBBINS:  All right, cool.




MR HIBBINS:  Thank you.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Anything else from you, Mr Harrington or Mr Delaney?


MR DELANEY:  No, thank you, Commissioner.


MR HARRINGTON:  Nothing from us.  Thank you, Commissioner.


THE COMMISSIONER:  Thank you very much for your time.  We'll adjourn.  I will reserve my decision.


MR HIBBINS:  Thank you very much.

ADJOURNED INDEFINITELY                                                          [10.53 AM]