Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 6 September 2021

Statement on today’s Budget Estimates hearings

I want to acknowledge the very unfortunate circumstance today in Budget Estimates hearings whereby the ultimate outcome of an Employment Direction 5 investigation was publicly disclosed before the complainant had been advised.

The comments by the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Jenny Gale, were intended to correct the inaccurate assertions being made by the Leader of the Opposition, Rebecca White, about the outcome of the investigation.

It was not Ms Gale’s intention to cause distress to the employee involved.

I can advise Ms Gale has written to the complainant to apologise unreservedly.

Media release – Rebecca White MP, Labor Leader, 6 September 2021

Serious questions raised over State Service complaint

The outcome to an investigation of a complaint raised by a worker in the Tasmanian State Service about their treatment and allegations of sexual harassment has been publicly released before the complainant was told.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the complaint had been ongoing for 18 months and despite repeatedly asking for an update on the outcome of the investigation no decision had been conveyed to the complainant until it was broadcast publicly at a Budget Estimates hearing.

“What happened today was unacceptable. It is incredibly disrespectful to the woman who has raised these very serious complaints to find out in such a public way that they have been dismissed,’’ Ms White said.

“As the head of the state service in Tasmania, Premier Peter Gutwein should at the very least apologise to this woman for the way that her matter has been handled.”

Ms White said today’s events speak to broader problems across the state service.

“Every state service employee should be able to go to work and be safe and if they have a complaint they need to have confidence their concern will be investigated in a timely way and resolved appropriately.

“What’s most distressing about this is not only that this person has been treated in this manner, but obviously the department had concluded the report, they knew the outcome, and yet they still hadn’t told her of the decision.

“The agony of waiting so long to hear a decision in this case has created additional stress and anxiety that could have been avoided.

“It is important we set a culture in the state service that is best practice so people are safe at work and that the government strive to prevent instances of harassment and misconduct from happening in the workplace in the first place.”