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Department of Justice

Annual Report 2017-18

Message from the Secretary

I am pleased to present my first Annual Report as Secretary of the Department of Justice, having been formally appointed to the role in March 2018, following the resignation of Simon Overland in August 2017.

In the short time that I have been with the Department, I have been struck by the diversity of the services the Department delivers, the significant skills and expertise of our staff and the breadth of our responsibilities in seeking to achieve a safe, fair and just Tasmania.

The 2017-18 reporting period has certainly been a busy one for the Department of Justice with the Government making a number of election commitments related to our portfolio, and the 2018-19 State Budget delivering $44.239 million in new funding for the 2018-19 financial year, and over $200 million in the following three years.  These commitments and investment represent both a significant opportunity for the Department but also a challenge, as we need to rapidly mobilise and prepare to progress these initiatives.

During the reporting period, we have had a particular focus on reviewing and enhancing our corporate governance to provide an appropriate framework for decision making within the Agency.  We have also undertaken a significant body of work to develop an Information and Communication Technology Strategy to guide the significant investment and improvements we need to make in the short and longer term.

The Department continued to support our Ministers across their portfolio areas during 2017-18, progressing a significant number of policy and law reform projects in areas as diverse as land use planning, expungement of historical convictions, neighbourhood disputes about plants, bail and family violence to name just a few.  Critically we have also led the Tasmanian Government’s involvement in and response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse. A key milestone for this work during 2017-18 was the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to join the National Redress Scheme.

Internally, we have also commenced two important projects, firstly to develop and implement a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for the Department, and secondly to obtain White Ribbon Accreditation, which recognises workplaces taking active steps to prevent and respond to violence against women, both inside their organisation and within their broader community.

The year has not been without its challenges, as we have continued to see an increase in demand for many of our services.  This has created pressure on staff, and infrastructure in several areas across the Department particularly in the Prison and Courts and across our Protective Jurisdictions including the Guardianship and Administration Board, the Office of the Public Guardian, and the Mental Health Tribunal.

We said farewell to several senior staff in the first half of 2018 with Director of Legal Aid Graham Hill departing to take up a role in Western Australia and Director of Prisons Brian Edwards retiring.  We also welcomed Kristy Bourne as Deputy Secretary Administration of Justice in late 2017.

I, along with all staff of the Department, was saddened by the passing of the former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Corrections, Doctor Vanessa Goodwin, in March 2018.  We were proud to be able to honour her significant contribution to the State, and to the justice system in particular, by naming the new mother and baby facility at the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison in her memory.

Lastly I would like to extend my thanks to the staff in all areas of the Department of Justice who continue to do an exceptional job in delivering services in pursuit of our aim of a safe, fair and just Tasmania.  The commitment and enthusiasm of our staff has certainly aided my transition to the role of Secretary and I look forward to continuing to work with our people to deliver the extensive work plan for the next year and beyond.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks
Acting Secretary

About us

Here's a snapshot of our Department as at 30 June 2018. Download our Annual Report from the links below to read about us in more detail.

Quick facts

In 2017-18 the Department

  • had staff in more than 40 office/building locations across the State
  • provided support to six Ministers across its various portfolio areas
  • granted 39,217 people registration to work with vulnerable people
  • awarded 33 contracts with a total value of $14 million dollars - 28 of these, valued at $13 million, went to Tasmanian businesses
  • processed 17,123 bond lodgements and 19,095 bond claims


1,443 staff equating to 1,313.25 full time equivalents (FTE)

803 women

  • 532 female full-time staff
  • 271 female part-time staff

640 men

  • 586 male full-time staff
  • 54 male part-time


  • 12% are aged under 30
  • 22% are aged between 30 and 39
  • 27% are aged between 40 and 49
  • 38% of all staff are 50 and over


  • Led the Tasmanian Government’s involvement in and response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, including the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to join the National Redress Scheme
  • Implemented the Expungement of Historical Offences Scheme to allow people to make application for charges relating to historical homosexual or cross-dressing offences to be expunged
  • Achieved our 2020 target of 40% female representation among senior executive officers across the Department
  • Received an unprecedented infrastructure budget for the Department as part of the 2017-18 Tasmanian Budget to progress a number of major prison and court infrastructure projects
  • 16 Bills were introduced into or passed by Parliament


  • Implemented changes to local systems, forms and processes to register same sex marriages in Tasmania following the introduction of same sex marriage.
  • Commenced the Justice Connect project, which will replace outdated technologies across the criminal, correctional and civil jurisdictions with a contemporary, integrated system.
  • Progressed preparations for the introduction of home detention with electronic monitoring as a sentencing option.
  • Commenced work on a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for the Department along with beginning the White Ribbon Accreditation Process.
  • Developed a Strategic Infrastructure Framework for Custodial Corrections in Tasmania.


Annual Report 2017-18

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