Department of Justice

Annual Report 2020-21

Message from the Secretary

I am pleased to present the 2020-21 Annual Report of the Department of Justice, which provides a summary of the extensive work undertaken across all areas of the Department over the last 12 months.

In 2020-21 COVID-19 again impacted on many aspects of our work and life, and while a number of areas saw a return to a form of COVID normal operations, some continued to have to adapt their operations to manage the risk, and others saw a significant increase to their workload as part of the government’s ongoing COVID response. I would particularly like to acknowledge the significant workload that WorkSafe Tasmania and Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) undertook over the last 12 months as they continued to play a key role in the response to COVID-19. For WorkSafe this involved a significant educative and compliance role providing information and support to businesses to ensure they understand their responsibilities and are taking all necessary steps to manage the risk in their workplaces. CBOS administered the rental support programs that provided financial support to tenants and property owners experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. More details on the ways Outputs continue to be impacted by or work in response to COVID-19 are provided in the relevant Output reports throughout this annual report.

Both the volume and diversity of the work our staff undertake was highlighted in the release of our new Corporate Direction 2020-2022 which captures the high priority initiatives that the Department is progressing in order to implement the Government’s key deliverables, together with other key reforms and projects. We have identified seven key priorities and more than 30 major projects and initiatives that we are working to progress across all areas of our operations over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years. Progress has already been made in implementing the Corporate Direction, with some items already completed and many others underway. The Corporate Direction is reproduced in Section 1 of this annual report and progress on implementation is reflected throughout the report.

Throughout the reporting period progress was made on a number of major projects which, when completed, will have a positive impact on our clients, the wider community and our own work. This includes major infrastructure developments such as the Southern Remand Centre, Northern Regional Prison and Burnie Court Relocation. When completed, these projects will deliver modern, fit for purpose correctional and court infrastructure that will contribute to better rehabilitative outcomes for people in custody and/or the efficient and effective administration of justice. We are also continuing to progress important technology and service improvement initiatives such as the Justice Connect Program and PlanBuild Tasmania. Both of these projects, which will modernise ways of working, streamline processes and enhance access to information, reached important milestones during the reporting period and I look forward to seeing them implemented in the coming years.

The Department continues to provide a range of important supports for victims of crime, through the work of Victim Support Services, Safe at Home and the Child Abuse Royal Commission Response Unit. This crucial work recognises the ongoing impacts experienced by many victims of crime and I am proud to lead an organisation that not only provides such important support and services, but more importantly that we do so in a sensitive, professional manner that is tailored to the needs and circumstances of individuals. During 2020-21 the legislative framework for the Witness Intermediary Scheme Pilot Scheme was developed and the scheme commenced operation to support a particularly vulnerable group in their engagement with the legal system.

The Department undertook significant work in 2020-21 to support the Government’s commitment to examine and respond to historical cases of child sexual abuse in government agencies, most significantly assisting in the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings. The Department will continue to have a key role in the work of the Commission over it’s duration, including leading the government’s response.

As in previous years, the Department has again progressed a number of significant pieces of legislation to give effect to the government’s policy priorities and reform commitments. In the past 12 months this has included legislation relating to:

  • planning reforms relating to major projects
  • dangerous criminals and high risk offenders
  • several justice miscellaneous reforms, including to address Court backlogs
  • the establishment of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • Advance Care Directives.

The Department has further supported the government’s commitments and priorities through its responsibilities arising from the recommendations of the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Committee and election commitments, particularly those identified to be progressed within the first 100 days of the new term of government. Progress has been made against a number of these, which is reported in the responsible Output’s sections throughout this annual report.

Internally, we have continued to focus heavily on ensuring we have the right frameworks in place to support our people and create a positive workplace culture. During 2020-21 we launched a new set of organisational values, which:

  • influence policy, practices and service delivery
  • help form and strengthen our collective identity as an Agency
  • influence how we engage with colleagues, clients and external organisations
  • create a productive and supportive work environment for all employees
  • set an expected level of employee behaviour.

Following a process of engaging with staff to seek their views on the most appropriate values for the department, in December 2020 I was proud to launch the new Department of Justice values. These are that: We act with integrity, respect and accountability and our workplaces are inclusive and collaborative. Since the launch of our values, we continue to develop tools and resources to ensure the values are embedded in all aspects of our work, a task which we will continue to prioritise in the years ahead.

We have also continued a body of work to implement our People Strategy and Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to ensure that our recruitment and people management framework allows us to attract, retain and develop the best people and ensure our workplaces are inclusive and supportive for all staff.

In addition to the major initiatives detailed above, all areas of the Department undertake a significant amount of business as usual activity which is not often recognised but makes an important contribution to the Tasmanian community we serve. For this reason, I would like to thank all staff of the Department for their work and dedication over the last 12 months. Our people are central to all that we do and I continue to be impressed by the high levels of knowledge and skill they each bring to their roles and the enthusiasm with which they undertake their work.

I would also like to acknowledge Output Managers across the Department, the three Deputy Secretaries and those who have acted in these roles at various times over the last 12 months. Each of these people continue to show strong leadership and commitment in their work and support their teams to achieve outcomes, in roles that are often as challenging as they are rewarding. Without the important contribution of each of these groups, the Department would not have been able to achieve all that we have over the last 12 months.

Additional information on all of these initiatives, along with qualitative and quantitative performance reports, financial statements and information required to be published to meet a range of compliance obligations, is provided throughout the subsequent sections of this annual report, which I commend to you.

Ginna Webster
Secretary
Department of Justice
15 September 2021

About Us

Here’s a snapshot of our Department as at 30 June 2021. Download our Annual Report from the links below to read about us in more detail.

Quick facts

In 2020-21 the Department

  • Had staff in more than 35 office/building locations across the State
  • Provided support to two Ministers
  • Awarded 43 contracts with a total value of nearly $13.9 million – 28 of these, valued at more than $5.7 million, went to Tasmanian businesses
  • Administered more than 260 pieces of legislation across four portfolio areas
  • Collected more than $15 million in fines and finalised more than 75,000 debts
  • Developed eight Bills that were either introduced into, debated, or passed by, Parliament, consulted on a further ten Bills and remade eight sets of regulations.

People

1,557 staff equating to 1,457.5 full time equivalents (FTE)

877 Women

  • 641 female full-time staff
  • 236 female part time staff

677 men

  • 628 male full-time staff
  • 49 male part-time/casual staff

*Note: The Department has two employees who identify as non-binary or have not disclosed their gender.

Age

  • 10% are aged under 30
  • 22% are aged between 30 and 39
  • 26% are aged between 40 and 49
  • 30% are aged between 50 and 59
  • 12% are aged 60 and over

Achievements

Highlights amongst the range of projects and initiatives progressed across the Department during the 2020-21 reporting period include:

  • launched FuelCheck TAS in September 2020, the first mandatory, real-time fuel pricing system in the Tasmanian fuel marketplace
  • further expanded and enhanced the Registration to Work With Vulnerable People framework to better protect vulnerable Tasmanians
  • continued to provide financial support to tenants and property owners experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19
  • continued to work with Tasmanian businesses to manage their COVID risk and facilitate compliance with Public Health directions relating to COVID-19
  • prepared for the commencement of a new Primary Producer Safety Rebate Scheme
  • appointed nine new WorkSafe inspectors located across all regions of Tasmania to enhance capacity
  • oversaw the delivery of 24 projects funded under the Public Building Maintenance Fund to repair and upgrade Court and prison facilities across the State
  • progressed further work, including planning and stakeholder consultation, for the relocation of the Burnie Court Complex to a new site to deliver modern, fit for purpose facilities that will enable the efficient and accessible administration of justice in Burnie into the future
  • progressed due diligence to inform a Combined Planning Scheme Amendment and Development Application for construction of the Northern Regional Prison
  • made significant progress on construction of the new Southern Remand Centre and associated upgrades to facilities on the Risdon Prison site
  • co-located nine Tribunals as the first step towards amalgamation into a single civil and administrative tribunal
  • delivered the legislative framework and commenced the Witness Intermediary Scheme Pilot
  • progressed work to further strengthen the family violence legislative framework
  • released the Child Safe Organisations Bill 2020 for public consultation
  • supported the Government to establish the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings
  • released the Electoral Act Review Final Report
  • progressed measures and initiatives (including working towards the implementation of legislation and commencing recruitment of the seventh Supreme Court Judge) aimed at reducing the court backlog in the Supreme Court and improving administrative efficiency in the courts
  • updated Tasmania’s legislative framework for the indefinite detention of dangerous criminals, including introduction of a new, second-tier scheme that provides for post-sentence supervision of high risk offenders within the community
  • three new therapeutic programs aimed at supporting prisoners to address their specific risks and needs
  • progressed revised partnership agreements between the Tasmania Prison Service, TasTAFE and Libraries Tasmania to enhance prisoners’ access to these services
  • implemented electronic monitoring for individuals subject to a Parole Order with this as a condition
  • progressed work to implement the Government’s planning reform agenda, including legislative amendments to provide for a new Major Projects process
  • continued planning to enable Tasmania Police to be relieved of court security and prisoner transport duties at the Burnie Supreme Court
  • successfully completed a preliminary proof of concept to validate and test the design and functionality of the Astria solution, a digital solution to replace outdated and inefficient practices across the Department
  • progressed to the Implementation Development phase of the PlanBuild Tasmania project.

Downloads

Annual Report 2020-2021


Annual Report 2020-21 (PDF, 2.05 MB)

Contact communications@justice.tas.gov.au for more information.

Visit the Libraries Tasmania online archive for earlier annual reports.

PDFs require a PDF reader to be viewed. Follow this link to download a PDF reader or contact us if you would like to request the publication in an alternative format.