The war between former Treasurer Foley and Minister Weatherill on public servants cashing out long service has flared again with today’s revelation an ‘Under Treasurer’s Instruction’ had been issued to all CEOs last year, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.
In evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee today senior PIRSA executives confirmed the Under Treasurer issued what they referred to as an “instruction” to them which sought to discourage and restrict the ability of public servants to take up the option of cashing out their long service leave.
As a result of that ‘instruction’ PIRSA had not advertised or highlighted the option to their staff and the CEO had only approved one application, which was only because of the extenuating or ‘overwhelming’ personal circumstances of the applicant.
“I believe that former Treasurer Foley and Treasury have sought to subvert the clear intention of Parliament and Minister Weatherill through the ‘back door’ by issuing this so called ‘Under Treasurer’s instruction,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is absolutely clear from the amendment to the Public Sector Act (attached), introduced by Minister Weatherill, that there is no reference to extenuating circumstances at all, and it simply a right to ‘cash out long service leave without any specified restrictions.
“The fact that only one person out of 1400 PIRSA employees has applied and been approved is an indication of how successful Treasury’s clamp down has been. This is especially so given the Under Treasurer told the Treasurer in January last year ‘there had already been significant interest at the agency level from employees looking to access their entitlement under the new provision’.
“It needs to be noted there is no such thing as an ‘Under Treasurer’s Instruction’ and it has no legal status. There are Treasurer’s Instructions, but they must be consistent with and in accordance with the law.
“In summary it appears that Minister Weatherill won the first battle in getting the legislation passed by Parliament, but Mr Foley has won the second battle by in practice restricting the take up of the ‘cash out option!”.