Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 2226 ..
MR RAMSAY: I am pleased to table the Nous Group's strategic review of the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The review indicates that the DPP continues to provide a quality service to the ACT community, and it highlights the commitment and the professionalism of its staff in adapting to changing work environments. The government is committed to viewing the justice system holistically and working across the system to ensure that the ACT community has access to a timely, transparent and fair justice system.
Early last year I worked with the Director of Public Prosecutions to engage the Nous Group to undertake an independent review of the office. The purpose of the review was to assess its capacity to deliver services on behalf of the ACT government and broader community into the future. I will briefly outline the government's action in response to the Nous report's findings and recommendations. As the report recommends, that response was to quickly increase resources in the DPP and consider the long-term staffing needs of the office.
Over the past year, our funding decisions have shown a clear commitment to support the DPP to keep delivering strong, high quality services to the community. In February 2019, as part of the budget review, this government announced $970,000 over two years to support the confiscation of criminal assets work. The need to support this special role was highlighted in the Nous review.
Another key feature of the Nous report is the recommendation that decisions about DPP funding take account of increases in resourcing for the courts and other areas of the justice system. In April 2018 the government announced it would appoint an eighth permanent magistrate. Recognising the need for both Legal Aid and the DPP to deal with the increase in court resources, the government provided $987,000 over four years from 2018-19 for additional DPP staff to support the increased capacity of the Magistrates Court. Additional funding of $1.3 million for Legal Aid ACT was also provided as part of the package.
The significant and long-term boost to baseline funding is now part of the 2018-19 budget. The government will provide an additional $6.922 million over the next four years for additional prosecutorial and paralegal staff. This funding will be progressively provided with an additional six full-time equivalents from 2018-19, increasing by two additional staff each year until there are a total of 12 additional FTEs in 2021-22. This staffing increase will be supplemented by a one-off capital injection of $350,000 for expanded accommodation, and I am confident that these new resources will deliver sustained improvements in the timeliness and effectiveness of the DPP's prosecution services well into the future.
Another important outcome of the Nous review was a set of recommendations for more efficient management of the DPP's budget resources. Nous consulting put forward that, for reasons of both independence and efficiency, a different model of budgeting should be in place.
The government's approach to date has been to use the administrative resources of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to offer economies of scale to smaller, independent agencies. Things like human resources and finance services are provided