After years of raising concerns regarding culture and morale at the Australian Antarctic Division both in Kingston and for those expeditioners travelling to Antarctica, the CPSU has today welcomed the release of the Independent Review of Workplace Culture and Change at the Australian Antarctic Division.

The findings of the review are upsetting to read but confirm what CPSU members have been reporting for several years now. The report highlights that:

  • There are strong divisions and a toxic culture between AAD employees and management;
  • many AAD employees do not regard their workplace as psychologically safe;
  • many women in the division have felt disadvantaged or suffered, because of their age and gender, and;
  • many AAD employees who have experienced physical or psychological bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, haven’t reported it because they either don’t have confidence in in the system, or they are fearful of repercussions.

The CPSU has had ongoing concerns for staff who feel that it is neither safe or effective to raise workplace concerns, and today’s report has more than justified those concerns.

The CPSU seeks to work collaboratively with the Division to turn around these workplace issues, lift morale, and make the AAD an employer of choice. Australia’s presence in Antarctica and the work of the Division are too important for this not to occur.

Quotes attributable to Zac Batchelor, CPSU Tasmanian Regional Secretary:

“We will be going through the report in its entirety in the coming days, but it so far confirms what our members have been telling us for years now. That is, bullying, harassment, a culture of fear and intimidation, and poor leadership within the AAD are all having adverse impacts on staff at the AAD, and consequently, their ability to do their jobs.

“The CPSU is deeply concerned by many aspects of the report, but one of the most alarming is the fear of repercussions or lack of confidence in systems when reporting physical or psychological bullying and harassment.

“Staff have to know that they are safe when raising an issue in their workplace, and for many staff at the AAD that is not the case.

“The report acknowledges the levels of comradery of workers at the AAD and their commitment and passion. But it also acknowledges at numerous points that it is management who have allowed these issues to fester and who have failed to lead the division in the right direction.

“The CPSU is ready and willing to work with the Division to turn things around. Failure to do so would not only continue to compromise the safety of staff, but the important work they do in Antarctica.

Monday 3rd April 2023 Media contact: Tori McGregor 0429 000 620