Wednesday 2010 - Estimates Committee B (McKim) - Part 1







Mr Dean

Mr Finch

Mr Wing

Mrs Taylor

Ms Rattray (Chair)





Dr Goodwin





Hon. Nick McKim MP, Minister for Human Services, Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection, Minister for Community Development, Minister for Climate Change, Minister for Sustainable Transport and Alternative Energy


Cassy O'Connor MP, Secretary to Cabinet




Department of Justice


Lisa Hutton, Secretary

Michael Stevens, Deputy Secretary

Robert Williams, Deputy Secretary

Greg Partridge, Assistant Director of Prisons

Chris Batt, Director, Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

Jo Maxfield, Manager, Reception Prisons

Ginna Webster, Director, Community Corrections



Department of Premier and Cabinet


Greg Johannes, Deputy Secretary, Policy

Nick Evans, Director, Policy and Programs, Program Development Unit

Wendy Spencer, Executive Director, Office of Climate Change



Ministerial Staff


Ronan Lee, Adviser

Andrew Perry, Adviser

Christian Attfield, Adviser

Rosemary Sandford, Adviser

Claire Jansen, Assistant Policy Adviser/Executive Officer


(Department of Justice)


Output group 6

Corrective Services


Mr FINCH - I would like to go back to the subject of sick leave because I remember there was quite an issue last year that we focused on and we were shocked then, as we are now, about the amount of overtime that is being paid related to sick leave.  What is the entitlement of a TPS staffer in respect of their sick leave allocation through their contract?  How many days of sick leave have been taken by the staff at Risdon Prison?  But also, are there any comparisons made with other sectors of the public service to see whether there is something specific to the work of the prison service that means that they perhaps take more sick leave than other areas of our work community?


[11.00 a.m.]

Mr McKIM - We are currently doing an audit, not to compare across other agencies in Tasmania but to compare with other corrections agencies around the country, so we are comparing like with like.  That audit is currently under way and has not been completed yet.  We are hoping that it will allow us to understand how we are travelling in the national context, comparing apples with apples rather than with oranges.  Sick leave represents about 43 per cent of the overtime payments.


Mr DEAN - What was it?


Mr McKIM - 43 per cent.


I do not have specific details on days of sick leave but I am happy to provide those.


Mr FINCH - Yes, and I think it might also be interesting to have a look and compare apples with oranges - it is alright in correction services to have a look at that situation - to see if there is something that is specific to a prison service that causes more sick leave or gives a suggestion of whether it is over-used or whether, in other areas of occupation, people do not access their sick leave requirements as much as perhaps a prison officer does.


Mr DEAN - Could you do some comparisons?


Mr McKIM - I will respond to Mr Finch if that is okay.  Prison work is shift work, so it is not directly comparable to non-shift work in the context that we are discussing.  For that comparison to be valid, you would need to compare those rates for other agencies that require the delivery of a 24 hour a day service, rather than just a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. service.


Mr DEAN - A comparison with the police service would be reasonable, wouldn't it, because they are a 24 hour service and a similar situation?


Mr McKIM - Perhaps it would.  I do not know what the police data collections are.  It is not my agency.  You might know better than me.


Mr DEAN - I am sure they can tell you to switch.


Mr McKIM - If we can source that data I am happy to talk to Ms Thorp about accessing data from Tasmania Police and I am happy to consider making that comparison if that is technically possible.


Mr FINCH - Minister, when do you suggest that audit might be completed?


Mr McKIM - It is an audit that is being done internally within our agency.  It is not possible to give a specific time for the completion because it requires data being sourced from other states so some of the sources for the data are beyond our control.  We are progressing that as quickly as we can.  I would prefer not to put a timeframe on it because the timeframe is outside my control because we are waiting for corrections agencies from around the country to respond.  We have a good relationship with both ministers and corrections divisions around the country and, as I indicated, Mr Barber is representing me at the ministerial council today.  Hopefully we can have that completed sooner rather than later.


Mr FINCH - Maybe before next budget Estimates.


Mr McKIM - Well, I am hopeful that will be the case and I would expect to receive some tough questioning from you if it was not the case.