After nearly 40 years with the Public Sector, a PSA member is calling it a day.
As the rental crisis bites, the role PSA members in Housing play has been placed in the spotlight. Long-time member and Delegate Angela Denham looks back on her role in this vital service for the people of NSW.
After a two-year break after working for the Department of Lands from 1983 to 1991, Angela Denham moved to Housing in March 1993.
“I was given one week of temporary work originally and finished up staying for 29 years,” she said. “I enjoyed the variety of the work. No day is ever boring at Housing.
“I like being able to move to different roles or portfolios, which has kept things interesting. Working in a job I would do voluntarily and getting paid for it is great.”
In common with many women in the Public Sector, Ms Denham appreciated “the flexibility to have time out for family needs when required”.
As with many PSA members in Housing, the work brings with it challenges.
“The biggest challenge is the ‘system’,” she said. “I find it very frustrating when barriers are in place and my client needs help now, not in six months.
Ms Denham said her employer plays a vital role in an increasingly ruthless housing market.
“We need to increase resourcing for the Department of Housing to enable better and faster processing of applications,” she said. “In western Sydney there are so few properties available and people are waiting more than five years for priority housing
“We need to build more properties that meet community needs – with one or two bedrooms on the ground floor or in buildings with lifts, with bathrooms and kitchens that are easily modified when required.
“We need to force landlords to keep properties in good condition and stop no-fault Notices of Termination unless the property is to be sold. Tenants should get their full bond back if this occurs.”
Ms Denham comes from a proud union family – her father was a British coal miner – and she was a member of the PSA throughout her career. She is continuing her membership as a Retired Associate.
“Union membership is essential to any paid worker, anywhere in the world,” she said. “We need to provide a united front to prevent the erosion of rights and privileges that have been hard won by previous generations and to ensure individuals are treated fairly.
“People died to give us the right to congregate and negotiate with our employers and their sacrifice should not be wasted by people who take these rights for granted.”
Union membership is essential to any paid worker, anywhere in the world