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Annual Report 2008-09 Performance Reports

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Chapter 5 Our performance

This chapter will first cover our performance in areas for which activity is measured across the Department and all outputs. This will include:

  • Attorney-General’s Department Resource Statement for 2008–09 showing available resources to the Department reconciled with actual payments made (Table 1)
  • services provided to ministers and Parliament, and
  • small airline usage.

Chapters 6 to 8 will provide detailed performance reports based on the outcomes and outputs framework and performance information set out in the 2008–09 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) and any Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES).

The Department has three outcomes against which it reports, namely:

  • Outcome 1—An equitable and accessible system of federal justice. This outcome has eight outputs (see Chapter 6).
  • Outcome 2—Coordinated federal criminal justice, security and emergency management activity for a safer Australia. This outcome has six outputs (see Chapter 7).
  • Outcome 3—Assisting regions to manage their own futures. This outcome has two outputs (see Chapter 8).

Performance reports are structured to demonstrate a clear relationship between the performance standards for each outcome and output, as set out in the PBS and PAES and the actual results achieved for the Department in 2008–09.

Each chapter covers an outcome, providing:

  • an overview of the activities that contributed to that outcome
  • a resource summary table, and
  • separate reports on each departmental output and associated administered items.

At the output level, each performance report contains:

  • a summary of performance and key achievements contributing to the output
  • results of evaluations or reviews
  • purchaser/provider arrangements, where relevant
  • outlook for the following financial year, and
  • reports against the key performance indicators for the output and related administered items.

The report includes a selection of case studies that provide an insight into the people behind the Department’s key achievements.

2008–09 Resource statement

Table 1: Attorney-General’s Department resource statement, 2008–09

  Actual available
appropriations
for 2008–09
($’000)
Payments
made
2008–09
($’000)
Balance
remaining
($’000)

ORDINARY ANNUAL SERVICES1

 

 

 

Departmental appropriation

 

 

 

Prior year departmental appropriation

100,157

Departmental appropriation

232,213

S 31 relevant agency receipts

24,248

Total Departmental appropriation

356,618

253,600

103,018

Administered expenses

 

 

 

Outcome 1

389,514

375,548

13,966

Outcome 2

75,500

55,507

19,993

Outcome 3

126,653

112,139

14,514

Payments to CAC Act bodies

10,856

10,856

Total Administered expenses

602,523

554,050

48,473

Total ordinary annual services

959,141

807,650

151,491

OTHER SERVICES2

 

 

 

Administered expenses

 

 

 

Specific payments to States, ACT, NT and local government

 

 

 

Outcome 1

118,726

118,366

360

Outcome 3

112,661

97,221

15,440

Total

231,387

215,587

15,800

Departmental non-operating

 

 

 

Prior year equity injections

50,024

41,206

8,818

Equity injections

18,283

18,283

Previous year’s outputs

2,105

2,105

Total departmental non-operating

70,412

41,206

29,206

Administered non-operating

 

 

 

Prior year administered assets and liabilities

143,923

143,923

Administered assets and liabilities

21,000

12,787

8,213

Total administered non-operating

164,923

12,787

152,136

Total other services

466,722

269,580

197,142

SPECIAL APPROPRIATIONS

 

 

 

Special appropriations limited by criteria/entitlement

 

 

 

Judges’ Pensions Act 1968 s 14(b)

26,373

26,201

172

High Court Justices (Long Leave Payments) Act 1979

827

827

Law Officers Act 1964 s 16(13)—former Solicitors-General

450

342

108

National Handgun Buyback Act 2003 s 9

3,513

3,064

449

National Firearms Program Implementation Act 1996 s 9

60

54

6

Total special appropriations

31,223

30,488

735

SPECIAL ACCOUNTS

 

 

 

Opening balance

6,869

6,869

Appropriation receipts

11,758

11,758

Non-appropriation receipts

4,042

4,042

Payments made

 

4,170

–4,170

Closing balance

22,669

4,170

18,499

Total Resourcing and Payments

1,479,755

1,111,888

367,867

CAC Act = Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

All figures are GST exclusive

Notes:

1 Appropriation Bill (No 1) 2008–09 and Appropriation Bill (No 3) 2008–09

2 Appropriation Bill (No 2) 2008–09 and Appropriation Bill (No 4) 2008–09

Services to ministers and Parliament

Ministerial correspondence

During the reporting period, the Department processed approximately 17,600 items of correspondence addressed to the Attorney-General or the Minister for Home Affairs; an average of approximately 70 items per day.

The most frequent topics arising in this correspondence included the Victorian bushfires, family law, same-sex marriage, people trafficking, safety of children, euthanasia, pornography and the proposal for a charter or bill of rights.

Parliamentary questions on notice

At 1 July 2008, five parliamentary questions on notice were on hand, and a further 31 questions were addressed to the Attorney-General or Minister for Home Affairs during the year. Of the 31 questions received in this reporting period, 13 were from the House of Representatives and 18 were from the Senate. Nine questions were transferred to other ministers. Responses to 26 questions were lodged during the reporting period; 17 were from the House of Representatives and nine were from the Senate. One question was on hand at 30 June 2009.

The statistics in Table 2 are provided for Departmental Outcomes 1, 2 and 3. They do not include questions on notice assigned to and responses prepared by, corporate areas and portfolio agencies.

Table 2: Services to ministers and Parliament, 2008–09

Outcome Submissions to ministers Cabinet submissions lodged Responses
provided to
ministerial
correspondence
Responses
to questions
on notice
Briefs* Speeches

Outcome 1—An equitable and accessible system of federal civil justice

1,429

9

4,524

8

583

108

Outcome 2—Coordinated federal criminal justice, security and emergency management activity, for a safer Australia

947

5

1,967

14

432

38

Outcome 3—Assisting regions to manage their own futures

82

1

1,029

1

82

15

Total

2,458

15

7,520

23

1,097

161

Note: * Approximate number of meeting briefs, possible parliamentary question and ministers’ office briefs (does not include updated briefs or briefs provided by portfolio agencies)

Small airline usage

The Attorney-General’s Department did not reach the target figure of 25 per cent usage on smaller airlines through 2008–09 due to the availability of flights and adherence to the Best Fare of the Day policy. Departmental employees flew with Qantas more often than Virgin during 2008–09 (Figure 4). The Department will continue to develop initiatives to improve its usage of smaller airlines on the route.

Figure 4: Small airline usage between Canberra and Sydney, 2008–09



 


 

Our people

Improving access to justice

 

Lisa O’Connell and Danica Yanchenko, Access
to Justice Taskforce, Access to Justice Division.

A wide-ranging evaluation of the entire civil justice system

The Attorney-General has made improving access to justice a high priority. In tackling this part of the Government’s reform agenda, the Department established the Access to Justice Taskforce in January 2009. The taskforce is examining ways to ensure the civil justice system responds to the varied needs and circumstances of all Australians. The goal is to reform the federal civil justice system to improve access to justice for all Australians and encourage early resolution of disputes.

‘The taskforce is examining all areas of the civil justice system. I’m involved in everything from research and consultation to policy development and drafting the final report to government,’ said Lisa O’Connell, Senior Legal Officer with the taskforce.

‘The scale of the project is a challenge. Working on such a large project requires a big picture approach and a lot of consultation to ensure all aspects of the civil justice system are considered,’ Lisa explained.

The final report will examine the civil justice system and will cover the many institutions and services through which the Government helps people resolve civil disputes, and prevent disputes from occurring.

For Danica Yanchenko, a graduate with the taskforce, working on such an important policy project has been a highlight of her time with the Department.

‘This is my second rotation within the Department and the team is fantastic,’ she said.

‘It’s a unique opportunity to be working on such a wide-ranging evaluation of the entire civil justice system. It’s very rewarding.’

The taskforce will present its report to Government later this year.’

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