Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 There have been a number of significant achievements by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment over the past year. These include: the fmalisation of the Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy and the start of its implementation; a sector-wide review of senior executive training and development programs and the development, with chief executive officers, of an executive development strategy for all management levels across the public service over the next 5 years; the commencement of a review of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act and subordinate legislation in light of the first 2 years of operational experience; the coordination of the introduction of a range of new human resource management mechanisms - for example, career planning workshops, equal opportunity management plans, occupational health and safety programs, and the employment of intellectually-handicapped people; and the commencement of negotiations with the NT Trades and Labor Council for a new enterprise bargaining agreement for the public sector. 1995-96 should see further development in each of these areas. Particular attention will be paid to determining which agencies and employees are benefiting from the performance of the provisions of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act. The year ahead will also see the office developing new policies to accommodate changes in the work environment, work and family issues, and changing community attitudes to employment matters. These matters are creating demands for more flexible working arrangements, and it is imperative that the public sector responds quickly and positively to them. The continuing commitment of this government to the training and development of its staff is reflected in part in the major sector-wide programs coordinated by the commissioners office. Initiatives, such as the Executive Development Program, the Public Sector Management Course and Management Skills for Women are key parts of this governments program to ensure managers at all levels are properly equipped to deal with the demands of an ever-changing work environment. The Department of Correctional Services budget for 1995-96 is $30.7m, compared to $31.471m in 1994-95. Honourable members will note that the majority of changes occur in the Custodial Operations Activity. The Alice Springs Prison allocation increases by $ 1.083m to take account of the costs of commissioning the new prison, whilst the Gunn Point Prison Farm allocation decreases by SI.533m to reflect the lower level of operation of this facility next financial year. The program provision for construction of the new Alice Springs Prison is $26.9m. Throughout the construction phase, slight changes have been necessary to contain costs. However, a fully functional prison will be completed and opened in late 1995. The construction budget will not be overspent. Numbers at Gunn Point have been held to approximately 50 prisoners whilst negotiations continue over the future of the facility. This is sufficient to maintain prison farm operations and to promote appropriate security programs for Aboriginal prisoners in particular. With regard to the negotiations that are continuing with the Commonwealth, plans are prepared to house additional ex-Gunn Point prisoners in minimum security complexes on the Darwin Prison reserve. Formal arrangements have not been entered into with the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries for access to Berrimah Research Farm, but that will be done. There will be adequate scope for employment of minimum security prisoners at the Darwin Prison reserve without the need to access the Berrimah farm, but of course this may be an option for the future. 3542
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