Page 3146 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
Mr Doszpot asked me last week what retrospective effect, if any, an unsigned, undated and overdue contract has on the termination entitlements of an executive. The entitlements on termination of an executive contract are governed by the terms of the contract and the relevant provisions of the Public Sector Management Act and the Public Sector Management Standards. In the absence of a signed or otherwise incomplete executive contract, the employment relationship is also evidenced by the performance of duties and payments by the employer in accordance with the contract, even if it is not signed. There is, therefore, no impact on any termination entitlements.
Ms Lawder asked me last week about advice I had sought as to whether those contracts comply with the Financial Management Act 1996 and the Public Sector Management Act. As I have already indicated, the time lines for tabling executive contracts set out in the Public Sector Management Act have not been complied with. The Financial Management Act has no bearing on executive contracts. The operation of sections 32 and 80 of the Public Sector Management Act means there is no question as to the validity of decisions made by directors-general or executives under that act by virtue of irregularities in their appointment.
Ms Lawder also asked me whether contracts comply with federal workplace laws and requirements. The statutory regime for the engagement of executives in the public service is compliant with federal workplace relations legislation.
I indicated to the Assembly last week that all outstanding current contracts would be tabled by the end of this sitting period. That is the case with the tabling of the package today.
As part of the audit processes undertaken by the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate to ensure compliance, I have been informed that there is a number of expired or superseded executive contracts which records held by the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate indicate have not been tabled. The oldest of these contracts dates back to 9 August 1996. Of those contracts, the majority are short-term contracts and the remainder are long term. I will update the Assembly further once the audit is complete, including on any recommendations that arise from it.
The government will not accept failures by the public service to comply with legislated accountability requirements. I have made it clear that I will not tolerate future failings in this regard. The public service must understand the importance the Assembly places on transparency and accountability and the extent to which failings in this most basic of administrative tasks reflects very poorly on the service as a whole.
I will provide an update to the Assembly when I am next tabling contracts on the changes that have been put in place to ensure this is the last time the government has to report its officials have failed to comply with the Public Sector Management Act.
Paper and statement by minister
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education): For the information of members I present the following paper: