Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 12

(Question No. 4477)


Mr Cadman asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 22 August 1986:

(1) What is the present work load of the Albury Wodonga office of his Department.

(2) What is the staffing level of this office.

(3) What range of services does it provide.

(4) What geographical areas does it serve.

(5) On what date was the decision made to close this office.

(6) What is the cost of maintaining the office.

(7) What consultations took place concerning its closure with (a) The regional director, (b) the officers of the Albury/Wodonga office and (c) local migrant community groups.

(8) What new arrangements are proposed to serve the requirements of clients of the office.

(9) Will the same number of staff be required; if so how will these staff be deployed.

(10) If not, why not.

(11) What is the cost benefits of the new arrangements over the present operation.


Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The number of applications received in 1985-86 for the main work load activities were as follows:

Citizenship...

414

Change of Resident Status...

52

Re-entry Visas...

338

Temporary Entry Permit extensions...

90

Reliable statistics on counter enquiries are not available.

(2) At the time of the 1986-87 Budget, the staffing level of the Office was two; one Clerical Administrative Class 7 and one Clerical Assistant Grade 3. The average staffing level (ASL) allocation at that time was around 2.2.

(3) The range of services at the time the decision was taken was as follows: migration (including family and occupational migration, and refugees), change of status to resident, temporary entry (including visitors and temporary residents), and citizenship.

(4) The Albury Wodonga Office serviced an area which has no direct relationship to statistical divisions nor local government boundaries. In approximate terms the boundary encompassed (and included) Tallangatta, Mount Beauty, Wangaratta, Cobram, Deniliquin, Narrandera and Junee.

(5) The initial decision to close the Office was made in response to portfolio savings targets developed in the 1986-87 Budget process.

(6) The cost to maintain fully the operation of the Office during 1986-87 (at current prices) would have been around $90,500.

(7) Because of the confidentiality inherent in the Budget process, it was not possible to undertake consultation before the initial announcement. Full consultation subsequently has been taking place with those affected.

(8) An officer of the Canberra Office with local knowledge will be assigned to handle enquiries from areas affected by the closure.

Citizenship interviews will be undertaken by Australia Post-this arrangement already applies to cities and towns throughout Australia, including those which are remote from DIEA offices. Other functions will be taken over by the Melbourne and Canberra regional offices. Similar arrangements now apply for many other cities which are distant from a DIEA office.

(9) No.

(10) A reduction of ASL in a full year from 2.2 to 1.0 is planned, ie. a saving of 1.2 ASL. This reduction is possible because the need for supervision and administrative support will be minimised. Work loads will be handled more efficiently by `streaming' work in the larger office rather than having one officer more frequently move from one function to another as happens in smaller offices.

(11) Estimated net savings to the Commonwealth resulting from reducing the activity of this Office are as follows:

1986-87

1987-88

Staff...

25 000

37 000

Administration...

7 000

10 000

Total...

32 000

47 000

These estimates exclude possible redundancy payments/redeployment costs in 1986-87 which are not yet known.