Working together to protect our future

The Association I think that term conjures up a different image for each of us in the NTPA. For me, it has always meant just that NT Police Officers who give our blood, sweat and tears, working together to ensure our welfare and conditions reflect this, and that none of us slip through the cracks each of us paying in subs each fortnight are the Association. Ive found though, that for some people the Association can just as often be a reference to the team who work in the NTPA office, attending to the day-to-day needs of our members. Ive seen plenty of the broader Association across the years in regions and branches, however in February this year I gained a new insight into the workings of the Association office and team, relieving for Mark Solly Soligo as Field Officer.

Talk about a baptism of fire. I dont think anything could have prepared me for that first day as Field Officer. The phone rang off the hook, as well as messages coming through on email or in person, and by the end of the day I had resolved a sum total of seven separate matters from members across the Territory, as well as taking on five or so others that would require follow up in the coming days and weeks. I knew the Field Officer was busy, but just how busy was something of a shock to me. The tempo didnt let up during the weeks I filled in and could be brutal at times. Unfortunately, I did missed members ringing, usually while in the middle of talking with another member, and I often found myself wishing that there were more of me to go around. Being largely Darwinbased during my time relieving, I also saw that it is easier, in a practical sense, for Darwin-based members to access NTPA support.

While it will be an ongoing extra expense, the 2017 Conference resolution to look at bringing on another Field Officer should ensure that members from across the Territory have greater access to support when they need it. While in the position, I spoke with some members who havent seen as much individual support as they would have liked, but I can attest to the fact weve gotten a fair bit of bang for our buck out of the current arrangement, and there is simply more need for Association support among our membership than one Field Officer can service.

Although I was only in the role for a few weeks, I was able to get out across Darwin and make a quick trip down to Katherine. A big thank you to all those members who I was able to engage with, even if it was just a chat or a quick discussion to flesh out your circumstances and entitlements. Likewise, those attending meetings it was great to see some excellent turnout and the lively discussions that were had. While my time filling in as temporary Field Officer showed me just how hard the members of the NTPA office team work for you each day, it also showed me that the real Association is our members, spread far and wide out there across the Territory, working together to support each other.