THINGS MUST CHANGE: Former prison officer Trish Burgess says a rule that locks people out of applying for government jobs for a year if they fail a test is unfair.Photo Tim Howard / Daily Examiner
THINGS MUST CHANGE: Former prison officer Trish Burgess says a rule that locks people out of applying for government jobs for a year if they fail a test is unfair.Photo Tim Howard / Daily Examiner Tim Howard

Failure not an option

FAIL a test when applying for a government job, like one of the casual positions at Grafton jail, and you could be locked out of reapplying for that job for a year.

Former Grafton prison officer Trish Burgess has slammed the rule as unfair and called for it to be overturned.

Ms Burgess, who worked in the NSW prison system until 2007, attended an information session at the Grafton jail last Monday to see if that detail was revealed and to warn people about the rule.

She said failing tests, which are part of the initial job application for some government jobs, including casual positions at the jail, would result in the applicant being ineligible to apply for that job for 12 months.

Ms Burgess raised the issue at the information session last week and Department of Justice session co-ordinator Nally Nguyen confirmed it was the case.

Ms Nguyen told those at the meeting it was not a government policy but a requirement of the private company that supplied the testing.

Ms Burgess said locking people in regional areas out of applying for a job for a year was unfair.

"It might be you've had a bad day for whatever reason and failed a test," she said.

"But you can't go and re-apply for that job for another 12 months.

"Another thing that's unfair is that rule only applies to uniformed jobs.

"Others are not subject to that rule. It's a double standard."

Ms Burgess has tried to discover on the NSW Government website the origin of the rule but could find no reference to it.

"The only thing I could find about it was a note attached to a section about job applications," she said.

"That's it, no policy, just a note. Not worth the paper it's written on."

Ms Burgess, who has raised the issue with the Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, said she has contacts in the prison system who have indicated they would have trouble passing the tests.

"Chris wrote me back a letter saying he'd passed the matter onto the Public Service Commissioner, Graeme Head," she said.

"It's been a couple of weeks but I haven't heard anything back from him."



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