Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Questions on Notice

Immigration and Citizenship: Staffing (Question No. 2511)

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration) Share this | | Hansard source

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 2 November 2012:

(1) What is the total expenditure on staffing for the department and for all portfolio agencies, and what is the Senior Executive Service (SES) and non-SES breakdown.

(2) What are the current staffing levels for SES and non-SES officers, including a breakdown by location?

(3) Since November 2007: (a) what changes have occurred in the average staffing level; (b) why have these changes occurred; and (c) what have been the budgetary implications.

(4) In regard to reductions in staff numbers: (a) how have reductions been absorbed by the department; and (b) what functions have been sacrificed and why.

(5) Has there been a target for staff reductions to achieve savings; if so, what is that target and what strategy is being implemented to achieve it.

(6) Have any voluntary or involuntary redundancies been offered to staff; if so, how have staff been identified for such offers, and are there plans for such offers in the future.

Photo of Kate LundyKate Lundy (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) total expenditure on staffing for

2011-12 is $799.345 million (DIAC 2011-12 Annual Report p345), of which $28.069 million is for SES (DIAC 2011-12 Annual Report p388) and $771.276 million is for non-SES.

The Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal (MRRT-RRT) total expenditure on staffing (including members) for 2011-12 is $41.657 million, of which $0.521 million is for SES and $23.306 million is for non-SES and Members.

(2) The current staffing levels at 31 October 2012, for SES and non-SES officers by locations are outlined in the table below:

(3) (a) The following table outlines the average staffing level of the department for the financial years 2007-08 – 2012-13. It also highlights the change in average staffing level from the prior financial year.

Table 1

(b) The increase in average staffing level is due to increases in the number of the Department's programs including the increased workload associated with Irregular Maritime Arrivals. The average staffing level for the department increased from 7,232 in 2009-10 to 8,565 in 2012-13. This resulted in an overall increase of 1,333.

(c) The following table outlines employee benefits expense incurred by the department for the financial years 2007-08 – 2012-13. The number for 2012-13 is an estimate.

Table 2


(5) (a) The department's challenge has been to rebalance its workforce numbers across all of its activities by continually prioritising and moving staff to areas of greater need, whilst also being cost-conscious in non-salary expenditure.

(b) The department has prioritised expenditure and generated savings in discretionary areas, such as contractor and consultant use, hospitality and entertainment, legal expenses, travel, media buy, recruitment advertising, printing, and more efficient training.

(6) The Department of Immigration and Citizenship currently has set no targets for staff reductions.

(7) Six staff were offered a voluntary redundancy (VR) from 1 July 2012 to end of October 2012. These staff have been identified for such offers consistent with the arrangements provided for under the department's Enterprise Agreement. Staff are excess to the organisation's requirements where:

        There are currently no organisation-wide plans for such VR offers in the future.