Following the release of the University of Western Australia's research into WA Local Government CEO workplace stress report, the LG Professionals WA's Board at its Board meeting on 6 December 2019 considered the research findings and recommendations. The Board officially adopted the following positions in relation to the research:
- CEO's stress level is three times the national average and is comparable to what would generally be considered as traditionally dangerous occupations such as mining, construction, police and emergency services.
- There is very little, if any, legislative support to ensure a safe working environment for CEOs.
- Much of this stress is attributable to strained inter-personal relationships with elected members as well as hostile ratepayers/ratepayer's associations, with overt and subtle bullying, harassment and intimidation of CEOs and, in some instances, their families, evident in Shires, Towns and Cities across the State.
- More demands than there are resources available to them to deal with issues.
LG Professionals WA's Positions
The Association accepts the findings from the research and is pleased to see that the issues we have been observing have now been independently validated by evidence based scientific research.
The Association is aware of a legal view that indicates that the Occupational Safety and Health Act does have provisions to hold elected members to account regarding their duty as an employer to provide all employees, including the CEO, a safe workplace. However, the regulatory body WorkSafe WA appears reluctant to enforce the Act when it comes to elected members.
Actions: LG Professionals WA to approach WorkSafe WA to understand why they are not exercising their power when it comes to the Duty of Care of elected members. If WorkSafe WA maintain their position, we will also seek to approach the Office of the Auditor General to discuss an audit of WorkSafe WA regarding this issue.
Click here to read all the recommendations and LG Professionals WA's subsequent positions