Legislative Council: Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Ministerial Statement

DPP Workplace Experience Report

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:28): I seek leave to make a ministerial statement.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: In December 2022, after consulting with the Director of Public Prosecutions, my department engaged independent expert Rosslyn Cox to undertake a review of the workplace experience of current staff of the director's office of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and those who had left in the last five years, to get an understanding of their workplace experience and to ascertain why people were leaving the office. Today, I tabled Ms Cox's 2023 Workplace Experience Report in this place.

It was never intended that the report would be made public but, given the public interest in the work undertaken by Ms Cox, the director and chief executive of the department have agreed to the report being tabled. This has been an important piece of work that has recognised the challenges of working in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, including relentless workload, largely impacted by external pressures beyond the director's control, and increasingly complex work.

Despite these challenges, Ms Cox did not find that the standard of work produced by the office has fallen. To the contrary, staff continue to maintain their commitment to assisting the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in fulfilling the director's functions. I commend staff at the ODPP for their diligent work. Importantly, respondents to the review reported that, in addition to workload pressure, there were concerns about some incidents of workplace conduct, which were reportedly not addressed, and a lack of effective and consistent performance management and leadership.

The report made 19 recommendations to ensure the office is the most safe and effective workplace it can be. The director and his executive team have accepted the findings of the report and will be implementing all of the recommendations. The report has been given to current staff and will be available to former staff on request.

Bearing in mind that one of those recommendations in the 2023 report is that the director engage with stakeholders to manage the external workload pressures, I intend to re-establish the Criminal Justice Ministerial Taskforce to examine issues raised by the 2023 Workplace Experience Report and to explore options to reduce mental workload pressures impacting on the criminal justice sector.