Annual Report 2006-2007 Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission
Tabled paper 1144
Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission 2006/2007 Annual Report 13 Terry Lisson Director Conciliation, Policy and Law The Conciliation, Policy and Law Unit of the Anti-Discrimination Commission is made up of the Director, one full-time and one parttime Conciliator/Complaints Officer and one Administrative Assistant. This team handles enquiries, complaints, investigations, conciliations, policy advices, and the Commissions legal work, which includes writing decisions, handling appeals, arranging hearings, examining legislation, and providing professional advice regarding the operation of the Act. On average each year the Commission receives approximately 140 new complaints, of which a very small proportion (19 this year) are dismissed at the outset on the basis that they are outside our jurisdiction. Our mandate is to resolve as many complaints as possible through the conciliation process and this year 58 complaints, or 94% of the matters that proceeded to conciliation, were resolved in this way. The average time taken this year to finalise complaints was 6.4 months, which, although a very good standard when compared with similar complaint agencies Australia wide, is longer than the 4 month average achieved in previous years, and slightly above our target of 6 months. We believe that this is largely due to the reduced staff numbers, which are necessary because of budget constraints. It is a tribute to the hard work, efficiency and commitment of the ADC staff that we are able to maintain a quick and efficient complaint resolution service, while at the same time continuing our work in the policy and legal area. Enquiries For most people their first contact with the Anti-Discrimination Commission is when they make an enquiry. The Commission provides free and confidential advice in response to these enquiries. The Commission's website is also used by many to obtain information that might otherwise be obtained by using the telephone or by coming in person to the Commission's office. This year the Commission handled 563 telephone, email and walk-in enquiries (compared to 571 last year), and continued its excellent response time in relation to enquiries with 99% responded to in less than 24 hours. We attribute the smaller number of enquiries received over the last few years (from highs of approximately 900 per year in 2004/2005) to a much higher use of the internet by persons seeking general information. This reflects a national trend also occurring at other Commissions. We continue to receive a substantial number of requests from government agencies, businesses and non-government organisations for professional advice on issues relating to the operation of the Act. This year out of 563 enquiries, 128 were professional advices. The Commissions General Enquiry line and Helpline for Managers and Supervisors is accessed on Freecall 1800 813 846, and our website at www.adc.nt.gov.au