SARDI Contract Survey Results And Action on Contract Employment Update

08 August 2018

Thank you to the large number of staff at SARDI who completed the survey about rolling term contracts. The results give us a strong argument for change to the current policy of rolling short term contracts. The report from this survey is here.

The survey results clearly show that concern about this issue is deeply and widely felt by SARDI staff and some staff have been on rolling short term contracts for many many years. It also shows that this work practice has a significantly negative impact both personally and professionally on SARDI staff as well as being detrimental to long term strategic work and succession planning.

It reinforces that the levels of contract employment in the scientific and research workforce of PIRSA is questionable not only legally, but also morally.

Over the last few weeks the following has also happened:

  •  PIRSA HR officers have attended the worksite to talk with staff.
  •  Some staff have submitted their contracts to PIRSA to be reviewed in relation to the Public Sector Act.
  •  PIRSA has sought Crown Law Advice about the sections of the Act referring to contract employment.
  •  The PSA has met with the Office of the Commissioner of Public Sector Reform who informed us that they are soon to review Determination 1 to clarify the use of contract employment and the PSA will have input into this review process
  •  On Thursday 2 August 2018, PSA Organiser Janet Giles and Worksite Representative Simon Goldsworthy met with PIRSA HR to discuss the survey results.
  •     The PSA is in the process of seeking our own legal advice on the use of short term contracts and the definition of projects.


At the meeting on 2 August 2018 PIRSA made a commitment that if there are any contracts that are considered legally inappropriate following obtaining the advice from Crown Law, they will be acted on.

PIRSA also stated their willingness to engage in a cooperative process to develop possible alternatives to high levels of contract employment in the SARDI workforce.

This remains a live issue for the PSA. If your colleagues are not yet members, please encourage them to join. The more members we have at SARDI the stronger argument we will have to ensure more job security for everyone.