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Thursday, 17 February 2000
Page: 13860

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 13 October 1999:

(1) How many employees does the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) employ in the Large Businesses and High Wealth Individuals Compliance Area in 1999-2000, how many were employed in 1997-98 and 1998-99, and how many will be employed in 2000-01.

(2) How many employees does the ATO employ in the Superannuation Guarantee compliance area in 1999-2000, how many were employed in 1998-99, and how many will be employed in 2000-01.

(3) For information concerning performance standards from its outsourced information technology supplier, EDS/BHP, does the ATO rely on EDS/BHP itself to provide that information; if so, will the ATO examine independent performance monitoring of its outsourced information technology supply.

(4) What measures of performance does the ATO have concerning its outsourcing of the distribution of Group Certificates, and will it make those measures publicly available.

(5) How many employees does the ATO employ in WA in 1999-2000 and how many were employed in 1997-98, 1998-99 and in August 1992, August 1996 and August 1999.

(6) How many employees does the Australian Taxation Office employ in (a) SA, (b) Vic., (c) NSW, (d) Qld, (e) Tas, (f) the ACT and (g) the NT in 1999-2000 and for each State and Territory, how many were employed in 1997-98 and 1998-99.

(7) What percentage of complaints concerning businesses tax avoidance were audited in (a) 1994-95, (b) 1995-96, (c) 1996-97, (d) 1997-98 and (e) 1998-99, and is it a fact that this figure has dropped to as low as 1000 of 25 000.

(8) How many full time equivalent positions existed in the ATO in August (a) 1992, (b) 1996 and (c) 1999.

(9) How many Senior Executive Service positions existed in (a) the ATO and (b) WA offices of the ATO in August (i) 1992, (ii) 1996 and (iii) 1999.

(10) Do WA offices of the ATO receive staffing in a ratio equivalent to other States; if not, why not.

(11) How many full time equivalent positions will be employed at each new call centre to be established in (a) Tas, (b) Vic. and (c) NSW.

(12) How does the ATO decided on staffing levels in the various States.

(13) How many full time equivalent positions will the ATO base in WA in its GST section.

(14) Are all services provided by the ATO available in all States; if not, what, and where, are the services available.

(15) Does processing of tax returns physically occur in each State.

(16) Has the Tax Commissioner received performance pay associated with downsizing in the ATO.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The Assistant Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:


No. of ATO Full Time Equivalent Employees in Large Business & High Wealth Individuals Compliance




2000-01 (est)





By comparison, the numbers employed in 1995-96 and 1996-97 were 1165 and 1185 respectively.

(2) In the Superannuation Guarantee compliance area, the ATO employed 54 employees in 1998-99, 84 in 1999-2000 and is forecast to employ 84 for 2000-01.

(3) EDS is required to achieve or exceed the service levels stated in the Services Agreement and to measure and report their performance against the service levels to the ATO. EDS is also required to use appropriate measurement and monitoring tools and procedures to measure their performance accurately. EDS provides the ATO with access to those measurement and monitoring tools and procedures on request so the ATO can verify that EDS is accurately measuring their performance.

Where EDS fails to meet a service level, EDS is required to prepare and deliver to the ATO a report identifying the service problem and the status of the remedial efforts being undertaken in regard to the service problem.

The ATO will appoint an independent benchmarker to review periodically the service levels and service charges being provided to the ATO under the Services Agreement and compare them with world's best practice for comparable services being provided by other organisations.

In addition, the ATO, or the ATO's nominated Audit representative, has the right to perform a broad range of audit tasks including; examining EDS's performance of any of the services, EDS's efficiency in performing the services and EDS's compliance with its obligations under the Services Agreement.

(4) The contract that Personnel had with the distributor of the Group Certificates was a subsidiary contract to the broader ATO contract for the 'Provision of a Publications Distribution Service'. The subsidiary contract has listed the elements that were to be delivered by the provider including the timeframe for delivery. There were no other performance measures included under this contract.

The contract required the contractor to enter into a service level agreement within one month of the making of the agreement. At the time of the mailout, because of the infancy of the primary contract, the service level agreement had not been made.

These measures are publicly available in accordance with Commonwealth and industry standards and guidelines.

(5) As at 31 August 1999, the ATO employed 1288 staff in West Australia. This includes paid, unpaid, operative and inoperative staff and the Child Support Agency (CSA). Staff employedin the WA branches of ATO in 1997-98 were 1364.47 full time equivalent (FTE); in 1998-99 there were 1323.79 FTE; and on 31 August 1992 there were 1593; on 31 August 1996 - 1503 and on 31 August 1999 - 1288.

(6) Below is a table of the numbers of staff employed by the ATO. The figures include paid, unpaid operative and inoperative staff and the CSA.





As at 31 August 1997

As at 31 August 1998

As at 31 August 1999





























** The Northern Territory was not identified as a code location at the time and figures may have been listed as part of South Australia.

(7) The ATO is unable to provide the requested figures for the 1994/95 to 1997/98 years because the information was not recorded in a centralised location.

For 1998/99 there were 17,535 tip offs received in relation to perceived tax evasion by businesses. All of these cases have been reviewed, 5027 cases were considered to require more thorough profiling, and 1552 audits were completed.

(8) (a) August 1992: 19501 staff. (Note - this is not an FTE figure. It includes inoperative & unpaid staff.) (b) August 1996: 17464.16 (c) August 1999: 16516.23


No. of SES positions in existence in the ATO and WA Offices

August 1992*

August 1996*

August 1999#





WA Offices




* Figures include SES positions for the CSA as they were under the charge of the Commissioner of Taxation (the Commissioner).

# As of 29 October 1998 CSA moved to the Department of Family and Community Services. Therefore, the CSA's seven SES positions have not been included.

(10) ATO Corporate has a higher percentage of staff located in the ACT due to the Corporate Centre being located in Canberra.

Most ATO Corporate service delivery processes are spread generally throughout the ATO, with numbers roughly equivalent to client base in each region (eg Facilities Management, Finance and Human Resource Services). An exception to this is the Personnel (payroll) section, which has been located only in two cities (Sydney and Melbourne) for efficiency reasons.

(11) (a) The ATO has established a call centre in Burnie, Tasmania with 40 FTE positions. The Excise call centre in Hobart will have 8 FTE which will be supplemented by up to an additional 6 FTE to meet workload peaks. (b) The ATO is currently establishing a call centre in Melbourne, Victoria with 227 FTE positions. (c) The ATO is establishing a call centre in Penrith NSW with 300 FTE positions.

(12) Generally, the business lines make their own decisions about staffing levels in the various states, after taking into account a number of factors such as:

location of clients and size of client base;

operational requirements;

existing staff profiles in the states;

business outcomes and service delivery standards; and

maximising efficiencies and economies of scale.

With regard to IT staff, since outsourcing, most are Canberra based, but there are still some small centres supporting Taxlan and training around the country.

(13) Current planning is for 349 FTE positions to be based in WA by April 2001.

(14) Generally, all services provided by the ATO are available in all States. There will be exceptions of course when new services are being rolled out or old services are being closed. Physical presence for most GST services is provided in all States except for the following services: Processing Centres located in Albury and Penrith and Call Centres located in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia (to commence in April 2000).

(15) The processing of individuals' tax returns is undertaken in all States.

(16) The Commissioner has not received any performance pay associated with downsizing in the ATO.