MS TIERNEY — To ask the Minister for Health (for the Minister for Environment and Climate Change): In relation to a 31 July 2013 article in the Weekly Times which detailed the Department of Environment and Primary Industries cuts of 785 staff, 185 staff more than was initially planned —
(1) Why did the department cut more staff than its own intended quota.
(2) Which internal areas of the department were staff cut from.
(3) Which offices around the state have staff been cut from.
I am informed that:
Changes to staff numbers in the workforce are not all as a result of workforce strategies implemented under the Sustainable Government Initiative but also include a combination of factors including normal fluctuations in the workforce due to project, industry and community requirements and natural attrition.
In the article on 31 July 2013, the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and Water, Peter Walsh, advised that: ‘the numbers were only estimates and the actual numbers would not be available until the annual reports were published’.
The staffing numbers detailed in the Weekly Times on 1 July 2013 of 785 were sourced from staffing estimates provided to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC). The figure of 785 was derived from actual staffing numbers as at 30 June 2012 of 4632.3 FTE and estimated staffing figures projected to 30 June 2013 of 3846.9 FTE.
The actual staffing figures as at 30 June 2013 were 4045.4 FTE resulting in an actual staffing reduction of 586.9 FTE.
The reason for the difference between the estimated and actual figures by 198.5 FTE was that the projected numbers provided to PAEC were estimates only of expected staffing numbers transferring to new departments as a result of the machinery of government changes.
Minister Walsh also advised the newspaper that: ‘like all government departments, the former DPI and DSE contributed to efficiency savings implemented across the Victorian public sector’.
The reductions were across the department and various locations across the state. In the development of the Voluntary Departure Package program, exemptions were determined to ensure important frontline service delivery was maintained including critical fire and emergency management roles.