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Notice given 8 July 2005

1020  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—

(1) What powers: (a) will the proposed trial part-time employees be able to exercise under the Customs Act 1901 ; and (b) are other employees able to exercise that the proposed trial part-time employees will not be able to.

(2) Will the proposed trial part-time employees be Australian Customs Service (ACS) officers for the purposes of the Act; if not, why not and how will they be classified.

(3) (a) What duties will the proposed trial part-time employees be able to exercise, compared to the full-time employees; (b) of the duties which they will be able to exercise, which duties will they be normally exercising; and (c) will they be required to exercise other duties or perform other roles in case of a shortfall of staff in another area.

(4) Can information be provided specifying: (a) which training modules are offered to new employees (i.e. other than the proposed trial part-time employees); and (b) which training modules are offered to the proposed trial part-time employees.

(5) How much training is being given to proposed trial part-time employees, in comparison to the training given to other employees.

(6) Have any guarantees been provided by ACS to its employees that the work of proposed trial part-time employees will not be extended to the entry desks; if so: (a) can details of the guarantee be provided; and (b) when and how was this guarantee given.

(7) (a) What supervision will be afforded to each of the proposed trial part-time employees; and (b) what is the ratio of supervisors to: (i) proposed trial part-time employees, and (ii) to other employees performing the same duties.

(8) Will extra supervisors be required for the trial; if so: (a) how many; (b) were they sourced and where from; and (c) were any specific groups targeted; if so, which ones and why.

(9) For the proposed trial part-time employees: (a) what conditions of employment are being offered; (b) what annual leave, sick leave and other leave entitlements are being offered; (c) what rate of pay will the employees receive; (d) will this rate of pay be hourly or weekly; (e) what overtime entitlements will be offered; (f) what equivalent level in relation to an ACS officer will they be employed at; (g) what contract will the employees be offered; and (h) can a copy be provided of each employee’s contract; if not, why not.

(10) Were the positions for the proposed trial part-time employees advertised; if so: (a) can a copy be provided of the advertisement; (b) where and when was it advertised; and (c) what was the cost of the advertisement.

(11) Was the advertisement targeted towards specific groups; if so, which groups and why.

(12) (a) How many applications for the positions were received; (b) when was the cut-off date for the receipt of applications; (c) what was the interview process; and (d) was it the same as the process for other employees; if not, how did it differ.

(13) (a) What security checks have been undertaken by ACS for each part-time employee; and (b) are these the same as the normal security checks.

(14) (a) How many applicants were rejected because of security issues; and (b) does this represent a higher or lower proportion of rejections due to security issues than the regular intake; if so, can a comparison be provided.

(15) (a) Can details be provided of the interview process, including details of various stages and interview techniques; and (b) did role-playing form a part of this process; if so, can a description be given.

(16) Was the trial a departmental or a ministerial initiative.

(17) With reference to the decision to trial the employment of part-time employees at Sydney and Adelaide: (a) how and when was the decision made; (b) who made the decision; (c) what discussions and consultations with current employees have been undertaken by ACS and can a copy be provided of those minutes, circulars and newsletters; (d) what options were considered prior to the decision to use part-time employees to deal with peak workloads; and (e) was a discussion paper produced prior to the trial being commenced; if so, can a copy be provided.

(18) When was the need for the trial identified.

(19) (a) Has this been referred to the Airport Security Investigation; and (b) have airport owners been consulted.

(20) When was the Minister’s office notified of this plan.

(21) What is the projected workload for ACS officers at each airport in the various roles they perform.

(22) What is the expected workload in each international airport.

(23) Are projected figures for the next 12 months available; if not, why not; if so, can a copy of the figures be provided.

(24) (a) When and how was the need for extra staff for peak periods at international airports first recognised; (b) can figures be provided from 2001 including the projected increase in work load requirements; and (c) can the figures relating to passenger movements be split between entry desk processing and exit desk processing.

(25) Is a review of the trial scheduled at the completion of the 3 months trial period; if so, can a copy be provided when it is available.

(26) (a) What, if any, guarantees have been given to the part-time employees about their future employment with ACS after the completion of the trial; and (b) can a copy of the guarantee be provided.

(27) Has the measure been fully costed; if so, what is the expected cost.

(28) (a) What are the current passenger processing target times; and (b) do these target times vary based on: (i) airport, (ii) time of day, (iii) time of year, (iv) or any other factors; if so, can a copy be provided of the variations.

(29) For each airport, what percentage of passengers are processed: (a) within the target time; (b) more than 50 per cent but less than 100 per cent outside of the target times; (c) more than 100 per cent but less than 200 per cent outside of the target times; and (d) more than 200 per cent outside of the target times.

(30) Who sets the targets for passenger processing times and how often are they revised.

(31) (a) When was the last revision; and (b) what was the outcome.

(32) What arrangements, if any, are in place which require the proposed part-time trial employees to be recalled where they may have been involved in a prosecution of a suspected breach of the Customs legislation.

(33) (a) What arrangements are in place to protect part-time employees from any potential litigation arising from their work; and (b) what workplace workers’ compensation provisions apply to the 23 proposed part-time trial employees.

(34) Are any of the 23 proposed part-time trial employees former ACS employees; if so, how many.

(35) Did the Minister consider an approach of Surge Capacity Building, such as used by the Australian Federal Police and other agencies; if so: (a) what was the nature of those considerations and why was the approach ultimately rejected; and (b) were any discussion papers or reports produced; if so, can copies be provided; if not, why not.

1021  Senator Murray: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that at the estimates hearings of the Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation Committee on 17 February 2005, (Committee Hansard p. 33) he said, ‘There is one piece that has been knocked back 44 times; we know that’.

(2) Can details be provided of those 44 times.

(3) Can the Minister indicate whether the list below is an accurate Senate history of the rejection of the small business unfair dismissal exemption proposal: the measures which have sought a small business exemption were rejected by the Senate over the 38 th to 40th Parliaments on eight occasions and are: (a) two attempts via regulations disallowed; (b) the Workplace Relations Amendment Bill 1997; (c) the Workplace Relations Amendment Bill 1997 (No. 2); (d) the Workplace Relations Amendment (Unfair Dismissals) Bill 1998; (e) the Workplace Relations Amendment (Unfair Dismissals) Bill 1998 (No. 2); (f) the Workplace Relations Amendment (Fair Dismissal) Bill 2002; and (g) the Workplace Relations Amendment (Fair Dismissal) Bill 2002 (No. 2).