Senate debates

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Questions on Notice

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Question No. 2172)

Photo of Gary HumphriesGary Humphries (ACT, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel) Share this | | Hansard source

asked the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, upon notice, on 18 September 2012:

In regard to the 2012-13 financial year:

1) What is the net financial effect on the department's budget of: (a) the original 1.5 per cent efficiency dividend increase from 1.5 per cent (b) the additional 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend; and (c) other savings measures as introduce in the 2012-13 Budget papers.

2) What measures or strategies are being considered to ensure continued operation within the budget and efficiency dividend targets of the department.

3) What percentage of the department/agency's budget is designated to staffing?

4) What is the size of the department/agency's staffing establishment? Include figures for FTE, PT, casual, contractors and consultants.

5) Will or has consideration been made to reducing staffing compliment including contractors and consultants?

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

1a. Refer to page 19 of the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Portfolio Budget Statements 2011-12.

1b. Refer to page 18 of the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2011-12.

1c. There were no additional savings announced in the 2012-13 Budget. The Finance Minister announced additional Departmental savings on 25 September 2012 and DBCDE will meet these.

2. The Department has undertaken some structural change as a result of reduced appropriation funding in 2012-13, which is now estimated to be $111.6 million, compared to $127.5 million in 2011-12. Together with the increase in the efficiency dividend, this funding change comes about as a number of reviews are completed; the Australian Broadband Guarantee program is fully wound-up; one-off funding for some activities related to the development of the National Broadband Network ends; and the digital switchover program expands into metropolitan areas. To address these changes, the department has:

­developed a new structure based around collapsing some SES jobs together, thereby reducing the size of the SES;

­offered some targeted voluntary redundancies in certain Divisions, where activities have ceased;

­reviewed a number of expense areas, such as travel, consultants and contractors, to identify savings; and

­reviewed the provision of corporate, legal and financial services of the department, and identified efficiencies in delivering these services to the department.

3. In 2012-13, employee benefits are projected to be $79.3m, or 66% of total projected expenses.

4. The Average Staffing Level for the department is projected to be 641 in 2012-13.

5. Yes. As noted in 2 above, the department has reduced staffing in certain divisions, particularly where activities have ceased, as well as around 20 positions in the corporate, legal and financial service areas.