Ministry for Police Deputy Director-General Appointment

About this Item
SubjectsBudget: New South Wales: 2004; Police: New South Wales; Political Appointments; Public Works; Members of Parliament: Staff
SpeakersSpeaker; Debnam Mr Peter; Watkins Mr John
BusinessQuestions Without Notice

Page: 11706

    Mr PETER DEBNAM: My question is addressed to the Minister for Police. Is the Minister's determination to micromanage New South Wales Police the only reason he has appointed his former chief of staff, Jane Fitzgerald, to a specially created $174,850 deputy director-general's position in the ministry while continuing to withhold individual police budgets for this financial year?

    Mr JOHN WATKINS: I welcome the honourable member for Vaucluse back to the police portfolio; that is his first question in eight months. One can understand why the Leader of the Opposition may not want to ask a police question. The honourable member for Vaucluse has been set the onerous task of repairing the damage done in police stations across the State. It is a difficult task, and I wish him well. In July 2004 the Ministry for Police assumed responsibility for police properties planning, additional policy development functions and a specific mandate in relation to financial advice to the Minister.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Murrumbidgee to order for the second time.

    Mr JOHN WATKINS: To facilitate these additional functions, the ministry has expanded by 22 positions. Those additional positions included five positions in police properties for work previously done in police, and that moved across to the ministry policy development team positions, some correspondence positions, and two positions for extra financial advice.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Willoughby to order.

    Mr JOHN WATKINS: The transfer builds on the long-established arrangements whereby the Minister has responsibility for police and budget issues within the portfolio. That is entirely appropriate. Budget policy is the responsibility of the Minister for Police; operational issues are the responsibility of the Commissioner of Police. In order to manage the increased staff and associated responsibilities, a new senior executive service position of deputy director-general was created. The position is responsible for the management of the ministry's policy and parliamentary support functions. The position was established after approval by the Director-General of the Premier's Department and an independent evaluation by Mercer CED. So Mercer and the Director-General of the Premier's Department approved the establishment of this position.

    The position was advertised in the press and in the New South Wales public service notices in accordance with public sector recruiting requirements. Appointment of the position was merit based and the independent selection panel, which members opposite criticise, comprised the Director-General of the Ministry for Police, the New South Wales Crime Commissioner and the former Director-General of the Department of Education and Training. The position of Deputy Director-General is not new to the Ministry for Police. It was first established in 1992. Under the Fahey Government, in 1992, the position of deputy director-general was created. In fact, at that stage the ministry had fewer staff than it currently has, but it had a deputy director-general. The position was subsequently disestablished in 1997 following a restructure of the ministry as it reduced in size. The re-establishment and appointment of a deputy director-general reflects the increased size and responsibility undertaken by the ministry. The change in emphasis for the ministry will enable the police commissioner and NSW Police to better concentrate on operational and frontline issues. Indeed, I answered questions about this issue at this year's estimates hearing.

    Mr Andrew Tink: Point of order: Is there an ICAC inquiry into this appointment?

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for Epping will resume his seat.


    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I place the honourable member for Epping on three calls to order.