Monday, 31 October 2011
Questions on Notice
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (Question No. 913)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 16 August 2011:
In regard to the following answers to questions taken on notice during the 2011-12 Budget estimates hearings of the Community Affairs Committee:
(1) Given that in the answer to question no. 348, the department said that no staffing numbers had been reduced as a result of the efficiency dividend, what has been cut as a result of the efficiency dividend.
(2) Given that in the answer to question no. 352, the hospitality spend was $707 848 but according to the department, providing a breakdown of that hospitality spend would use a considerable amount of its resources, therefore can a breakdown be provided of alcohol, food and beverages information for the two most expensive hospitality functions held from
1 July 2010 to 31 May 2011.
(3) Given that in the answer to question no. 382, the department paid interest of $425.25 on an overdue account, how much and what was this account for, and why was it paid late so as to incur the interest charge.
(4) Given that in the answer to question no. 403, that as a result of savings achieved through efficiencies in Commonwealth property management, the department has requested its departmental appropriation be reduced by $10 497, can details be provided of how these savings have been achieved.
(5) Given that in the answer to question no. 361, for the financial year to date to 13 June 2011, the department had undertaken or is undertaking 183 consultancy contracts with a combined total value of $24.6 million (GST inclusive):
(a) for each of the following financial years, 2008-09 and 2009-10, can an outline be provided of how many consultancy contracts were undertaken and for each contract its value; and
(b) for each of the following financial years, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, how many staff were employed by the department.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:
(1) The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) manages the efficiency dividend through early allocation of internal budgets to Groups and States and linking business planning to available resources. Some examples of specific strategies to reduce costs include promoting video conferencing and reducing air travel where practicable, the introduction of Voice over IP telephony services,
turning off IT equipment to produce power savings and consolidating property holdings.
(2) The two most expensive hospitality functions were the SES Recall Day ($19,021.50)—catering costs including morning and afternoon tea, lunch and dinner—$17,525 and refreshments including alcohol—$1,496.50; and the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians ($3,510), catering costs—$2,520 and refreshments—$990. There was no alcohol provided.
(3) The interest charge of $425.25 was for Chartered Air Services and relates to the late payment of two invoices, one for $8,100 and the second for $6,075. These invoices were paid late as a result of being misplaced between FaHCSIA and the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
(4) The savings of $10,497 were achieved through a rationalisation of FaHCSIA's property portfolio which is continually monitored to identify savings and efficiencies.
(5)(a) For the financial year 2008-09, FaHCSIA undertook 291 new consultancy contracts with a combined total value of $37.3 million (GST inclusive). For the financial year 2009-10, FaHCSIA undertook 271 new consultancy contracts with a combined total value of $33.4 million (GST inclusive).
A listing of FaHCSIA's contracts (including consultancies), valued at $10,000 or more, is publicly available on the AusTender website and it includes the name of the consultant, the subject matter of the consultancy, the duration and cost of the arrangement and the method of procurement.
(b) Staffing numbers for the previous three financial years were as follows: