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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4122 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Public Sector Management Standard 14, Chapter 6, which dealt with relocation expenses generally and called up certain entitlements applicable to SES officers as contained in the Commonwealth Public Service Board Determination 1984/46; and

the powers of Chief Executives and the Commissioner to make certain decisions in relation to relocation costs. Specifically, the Commissioner could set rent ceilings, vary officer contributions, and extend the period of application of any benefits.

In these circumstances, it would not be necessary to make a new Public Sector Management Standard under section 251 to amend these rates. The Standard permitted the exercise of discretions by Chief Executives and the Commissioner to vary those rates.

I have attached the relevant parts of the Standard that the Commissioner relied on in making her decision.

Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to table this information, which totally undermines Mr Corbell's speech. Alternatively, Mr Corbell perceives that his interpretation of the Act is better than the Commissioner for Public Administration's interpretation.

Why were these arrangements varied? The reason for varying them is the same as the reason for having the relocation costs in the first place - to ensure the Territory could attract high-calibre staff. This decision sets clear limits on the allowances, to remove negotiation on these issues while maintaining the Territory's recruitment power during a period of reform. It took into account the altered employment arrangements for executives employed on fixed-term contracts, which would normally be for up to five years. My understanding is that the three-year term related to the normal Commonwealth arrangement when SES fixed-term contracts were for three years. In these circumstances, the change in duration reflected the usual term of contracts - again, an existing entitlement amended to reflect standard employment arrangements. Further, it was amended within the authority of the existing rules by a person authorised to make that change. It was legal, appropriate and proper.

Under this authority the Commissioner for Public Administration considered the circumstances of newly recruited executives relocating to the ACT as well as streamlining the administration of the existing entitlements. The standards say that the commissioner is responsible for setting rent ceilings. Chief executives can also approve higher rent ceilings. The amount set by the commissioner reflected the existing officer contribution, the reviewed rental ceilings based upon a rental survey at the time and the extended duration, consistent with the new employment arrangements. Those were the circumstances behind the commissioner's decision. They were matters within the commissioner's discretion.

Will I stop the payments, Mr Speaker? Mr Corbell has asked whether I will stop the payments. I have made my views clear. I asked the Remuneration Tribunal to review these entitlements in 1998. The entitlements previously provided in the standards were capped at $30,000. Executives appointed from this time are covered by that

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