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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 46

(Question No. 4481)


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

(1) What is the present workload of the Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton 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 are 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 workload activities were as follows:

Citizenship-550

Change of Resident Status-70

Re-entry Visas-579

Temporary Entry Permit extensions-66

Reliable statistics on counter inquiries are not available.

(2) At the time of the 1986-87 Budget the staffing level of the Office was two; one Clerical Administrative Class 6 and one Clerical Assistant Grade 5. The average staffing level (ASL) allocation at that time was around 2.5

(3) The range of services provided 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 area serviced by the Rockhampton Area Office stretched from Mackay and its immediate environs to the North, Bundaberg and its immediate environs to the South and Longreach to the West. Much of this area falls within the Fitzroy and Mackay statistical division.

(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 $121 500.

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

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

Citizenship interviews will be undertaken by Australia Post-this arrangement already applies in cities and towns throughout Australia, including those which are remote for DIEA offices. Other functions will be taken over by the Brisbane Regional Office and Townsville Area Office. 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 form 2.5 to 1.2 is planned, ie. a saving of 1.3 ASL. This reduction is possible because the need for supervision and administrative support will be minimised. Workloads will be handled more efficiently by `streaming' work in the larger office rather than having one officer move frequently form one function to another as happens in smaller offices.

(11) Estimated net savings to the Commonwealth resulting form reducing the activity of this Office will be as follows:

1986-87

1987-88

Staff...

30000

46000

Administration...

18000

27000

Total...

48000

73000

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