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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Review?

The Tasmanian Government is conducting a review into the Tasmanian State Service (the Review) to ensure it is best-placed to serve the Tasmanian people today and into the future.

It will identify structural and legislative improvements that will transform current structures, services and practices to deliver a more efficient and effective public service.

The Government wants to make sure that the Tasmanian State Service has employment policies and procedures that are contemporary and flexible and meet the changing workforce and business demands.

The Government also wants to ensure that it is doing everything it can to attract and retain the best possible people to the State Service and that we are identifying ways to help develop the long-term capability of all public servants.

The Review will also consider the lessons from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response and how the State Service can learn from these in a changed world as well as in responding to similar challenges in the future.

Why is the Government conducting the Review?

The current State Service Act 2000 was developed during the late 1990s, and is now nearly two decades old. Since that time, the structure, approach, and in particular employment arrangements of the State Service, have not substantially changed.

It is therefore timely to ask whether the State Service’s capability, culture and current operating model are best suited to meet the needs of the ever-changing nature of Tasmania. Given how significantly COVID-19 has changed the world and Tasmania, there is an even stronger need to ensure the State Service is well-equipped to meet these changing needs.

How has COVID-19 affected the Review?

The Review was announced in June 2019 and commenced in February 2020 after the final Terms of  Reference were approved by the Government. The Review was paused in March due to COVID-19. The Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council recommended in its interim report that the State Service Review be progressed as a priority. The lessons and challenges presented by COVID-19 highlight the need for a well-functioning and efficient public service that is well-prepared to respond to similar challenges in the future. COVID-19 has changed how Tasmanians live and work and a Review of the State Service is timely to ensure its structures and practices are appropriate to support Tasmanians.

Who is responsible for the Review?

Dr Ian Watt AC is leading the Review. Dr Watt is a highly experienced former senior public servant with the Australian Government. Dr Watt reports to the Premier and Treasurer on his findings.

A Reference Group has been appointed by the Premier to provide advice, community views and industry best practice to inform Dr Watt’s deliberations. It comprises members with public and private sector experience, together with a representative from public sector unions and the not-for-profit sector. Information on the Reference Group can be found here.

A Project Team in the Department of Premier and Cabinet supports the Review.

What is the scope of the Review? What will be excluded?

The Review will focus primarily on the governing framework of the Tasmanian State Service. The scope of the Review is set out in the Terms of Reference.

The following is not included in the review:

  • Anything relating Tasmanian Government employees who are not covered by the State Service Act like Government Business Enterprises and State-Owned Companies ;
  • Wages policy and conditions for public sector employees that are negotiated through your awards and agreements;
  • The role of trade unions to advocate for public sector employees; and
  • The introduction of either a minimum or maximum target for the total numbers public sector employees in Tasmania.

How long will the Review take?

An initial report was provided to the Premier and Treasurer at the end of October 2020. The final report is due to the Government by the end of March 2021. The Government will then consider the findings and recommendations of the Review and determine what will happen next.

How can I have my say on the Review?

There will be two main phases of consultation where submissions will be invited. The first consultation phase has now concluded and submissions are currently closed. Further opportunities to have a say on the Review will be provided later in 2020 to inform the final report. Please go to the Consultation page on the Review webpage to stay up to date with the latest consultation information.

I am currently employed in the State Service. What does this mean for me?

There will be no immediate changes to your work as a result of the Review while the Review is underway.

Once the Government has received and considered the recommendations of the Review, the Government will make further policy decisions. There will be regular updates as the Review progresses.

The Terms of Reference exclude the following matters from the scope of the Review:

  • Wages policy and conditions for public sector employees that are negotiated through awards and agreements;
  • The role of trade unions to advocate for public sector employees; and
  • The introduction of either a minimum or maximum target for the total numbers of public sector employees in Tasmania.

I am currently employed in a Government Business Enterprise or State-Owned Company. Will the Review affect me?

Employment matters relating to employees of Government Business Enterprises and State‑Owned Companies are not covered by the Review.

I am currently employed in a statutory authority. Will the Review affect me?

Employment matters relating to employees who are not covered by the State Service Act are outside the scope of the Review. This includes employees of some statutory authorities. You should discuss with your manager if you are unsure if this applies to you.

Is this just about efficiencies or cutting public service numbers?

No. The goal of the review is determine how the State Service can best meet the needs of the ever-changing nature of Tasmania not simply efficiencies.

In addition, the review will not be seeking to introduce either a minimum or maximum target for the total numbers of public sector employees in Tasmania