Pay And Conditions For Marine Unit Officers

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12th October 2010, 06:01pm - Views: 1027
Pay and Conditions for Marine Unit Officers

Customs and Border Protection today confirmed that allegations of officers
contracting Tuberculosis (TB) are misleading.

Customs and Border Protection also confirmed that misleading statements
have been made about the allowances and working conditions of officers at
sea.

Customs and Border Protection is currently negotiating a new Enterprise
Agreement with all staff, including those in the Marine Unit. The ballot for the
proposed Agreement is underway and the outcome is not yet known.

Latent Tuberculosis Infection

Through annual preventative health screening, six officers tested positive to
exposure to Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) over the last three years.

LTBI is very different to active TB - it is non-infectious and is not a notifiable disease under the National Health Security Act 2007.

The tests indicate that the six officers were possibly exposed to LTBI. All were
appropriately referred to specialists and treated with antibiotics which
considerably reduce the small chance of developing the active disease.

Five of these officers have completed a successful course of treatment and the
sixth is undertaking the six-month treatment course.

Tests cannot conclusively identify the source of exposure to LTBI.

Like health workers and other law enforcement officers, Customs and Border
Protection Marine Unit officers perform a range of duties and often work in
areas where there is a risk of possible exposure to infectious diseases.

Customs and Border Protection delivers a range of preventative measures to
protect all of its Marine Unit officers as follows:

* Officers are provided with a "Disease and Vaccination Guide", which
includes information on tuberculosis and prevention;

* Access to preventative vaccinations where vaccinations are available;

* Education programs delivered by a doctor or paramedic prior to all
northern deployments;

* Officers have access to personal protective equipment, including gloves,
masks and antiseptic hand gel;

* Any transportees taken onboard that show symptoms of illness are
immediately provided with a high filtration mask and isolated from other
transportees and officers;

* Annual medical test, including testing for possible tuberculosis; and

* Chest x-rays every 2 years.

Allowances and working conditions

Pay and conditions for Marine Unit Officers meet the existing Customs
Collective Agreement 2007-2010.

All sea-going Marine Unit officers currently receive the following allowances:

* Commuted Marine Allowance or Composite Deployment Allowance
which amounts to an additional 60 percent of an officer's base salary.
This equates to an additional payment between $26,968 and $47,489 per
annum above base salary;

* $16.85 per day for the Incidentals component of the Meals and
Incidentals Allowance while at sea; and

* Marine Accommodation Allowance of $50.68 per day while at sea.

As stipulated in the current Agreement, Marine Enforcement Officers are
entitled to a Southern Ocean Operations Allowance, in addition to the
allowances listed above, when deployed to duties at sea in the Southern
Ocean. This is to compensate Marine Enforcement Officers for working in the
harsh Antarctic conditions and higher risk physical environment which includes
extreme cold and high sea states. The current allowance is $170 per day.

In recognition that the role of Customs and Border Protection in maritime
security has been greatly enhanced in recent years, the Chief Executive Officer
has committed to a full review of pay and conditions of Marine Unit Officers.

Allegations that Customs and Border Protection officers have been deployed on
a continuous patrol for 92 days are wrong. Customs and Border Protection
Marine Unit Officers are typically deployed for periods averaging 45 days.

These deployments are only extended in medical emergency situations or if
operational requirements necessitate an extension. To date the maximum
length of time officers have been on patrol is 53 days.

Customs and Border Protection will continue to work in good faith with
employees and their representatives to maintain and improve working
conditions for all staff.

Media enquiries:
Contact Customs and Border Protection Media
(02) 6275 6793

SOURCE: Customs and Border Protection
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