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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 15018

Ms Hall asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 27 March 2003:

(1) Is there a plan to restructure the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and does this restructure involve an amalgamation of offices as opposed to a co-location of Divisional AEC offices.

(2) If there is to be an amalgamation of offices will this amalgamation; (a) result in (i) a reduction of staff, or (ii) in a reclassification of staff positions, and (b) affect offices in the Hunter and on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Mr Abbott (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —The answer to the honourable member's question, as provided to me by the Australian Electoral Commission, is as follows:

(1) The Electoral Commissioner has stated that he is not considering undertaking a major restructure of divisional offices before the next federal election. Currently, the AEC is seeking to achieve efficiencies through rationalising its leasing and property arrangements. This is a ongoing process where leases are reconsidered as they come up for renewal and has been part of AEC's business planning for some time. These reviews may or may not result in offices being relocated. Where it is decided to relocate, offices may be (1) relocated to new premises within the existing electorate (2) collocated with another AEC office, or (3) amalgamated with other AEC offices.

It should be noted that, in many cases the amalgamation of divisional offices, (that is where functions are integrated) will not necessarily result in a change in location. The following amalgamations are being considered this calendar year.

NSW : Bennelong, Bradfield & North Sydney - these offices are currently collocated at Chatswood and will remain in Chatswood . Berowra may also be moved to the Chatwood premises later in the year.

VIC : Casey, Menzies, Deakin and Chisholm. - these offices are currently collocated in Ringwood and there are currently no plans to relocate.

QLD : *Oxley and Blair - these offices are currently collocated in Ipswich and will remain in Ipswich.

* Moncrieff and McPherson - these offices are currently collocated in Southport and will remain in Southport.

SA : Sturt and Adelaide with AEC's Head Office - Adelaide and the AEC's Head Office are currently collocated. Sturt will be relocated to join those two offices in King William St, Adelaide.

WA: Pearce and Hasluck - these offices are currently collocated in Midland and will remain in Midland.

TAS: Franklin and Dennison - currently collocated on the 1st Floor at 86 Collins Street, Hobart. At the end of April 2003 it is planned to amalgamate them with AEC's Head Office on the 2nd Floor of the current premises, 86 Collins Street, Hobart.

*these changes will be subject to redistribution outcomes.

(2) The amalgamations listed above will involve some integration of functions resulting in reallocations of duties and a change in lines of reporting. The AEC is currently examining design options tailored to meet local requirements and until this exercise is completed will be unable to provide a definitive answer to whether there will be (a) a reduction in staff numbers, or (b) any reclassification of staff positions, although some change is anticipated.

The AEC is exploring possible sites for the progressive collocation of five divisions in the Hunter region in line with its strategic property plan. The actual combination of offices is still under review and suitable accommodation and possible locations have not been established. There is no current proposal to collocate offices on the Central Coast of NSW.