Thursday, 23 September 2021                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                    Page 7437

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:13): My question is to the Attorney-General. Can the Attorney advise the house if the Attorney has received any correspondence of any sort from a Mr Colin Schwartz or any other persons requesting a meeting with the Attorney to discuss the outcomes of the Statutory Authorities Review Committee, which happened in the other house, regarding the outcomes of this committee from the sheriffs who were involved in the committee’s investigation? With your leave, and that of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Several ex-Sheriff’s Officers believe that they unfairly and unjustly lost their positions in the Courts Administration Authority and are looking for further direction to try to re-enter the workforce in some form or other. I understand they are trying to organise a meeting with the Attorney-General.

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government) (15:14): I confirm for the member for Frome that I have received correspondence. My recollection is that they were seeking some compensation. I have referred those matters to the Chief Justice at the Courts Administration Council, as he is the head of the council that employs the 165-odd Sheriff’s Officers in the Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to that, as the member is aware, several recommendations were proposed as a result of that inquiry. Several related to recognition of employees in the Sheriff’s Office with all the same entitlements as other public sector employees. As was pointed out in the responses from me and the Chief Justice in respect of that inquiry, they have that entitlement already.

There was a recommendation, for example, that consideration be given to the transfer of employment of the Sheriff’s Officers to the Department for Correctional Services. That wasn’t taken up, but other recommendations were, including that a human resources person of expertise be appointed to the council. That requires legislative reform. I am aware that a draft bill has been prepared and the best I can recall is that it has actually been forwarded to the Chief Justice for his consideration so that all the matters that are committed to be implemented are.

In respect of individual witnesses, I have received some correspondence and I have referred that matter to the new chief administrator of the Courts Administration Authority, and the council, chaired by the Chief Justice, to look into.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:16): Supplementary to the Attorney-General: can the Attorney advise when she forwarded that to the relevant people and departments?

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government) (15:16): I would have to check that. I have received several pieces of correspondence. I would have to make that inquiry and check the date.