The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

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Minister and CEO condemned for handling of department porn scandal

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Both Families and Communities Minister Jennifer Rankine and Department of Families and Communities CEO Joslene Mazel must accept responsibility for what is a dysfunctional department.

Ms Mazel told the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee today that until last week the Minister was unaware that 11 staff in her department had been investigated for accessing pornography during office hours.

“It is unacceptable that Minister Rankine has not insisted that she be briefed on all serious issues such as staff accessing porn using departmental resources,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.

“It is also unacceptable that Minister Rankine’s CEO has taken the view that the issue wasn’t deemed serious enough to warrant briefing the Minister.”

Ms Mazel also indicated she did not know how many other staff she had terminated and the reasons for any termination, but agreed to provide answers on these issues to the Committee.

“Claims by a department spokesperson last week that it would be a breach of privacy policy to reveal when the incidents occurred are nonsense, and Ms Mazel has now agreed to provide the Committee with those details,” Mr Lucas said.

Other issues raised at the Committee included:

• After losses on Nunga loans had increased almost nine-fold in two years (up to $316,000) Housing SA decided to stop making a grant to HomeStart to pay for the losses
• The three new Family and Wellbeing Centres announced last month by Ministers Portolesi and Macklin as essential would only replace existing Family Centres in the APY Lands
• The Department has unfilled vacancies for about 150 positions funded by Treasury which helped them save up to $10 million a year
• Expenditure on emergency accommodation in 2011/12 has exploded to $37 million, up from $16.5 million in 2008/09.
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