- Progressed reforms to better protect victims of domestic and family violence, changed sentencing discount laws and abolished provocation laws.
- The Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner undertook separate reviews of the workplace culture within both the legal profession and Parliament.
- Consumer and Business Services introduced a trial of real time petrol price monitoring which provides up-to-date information about petrol prices.
- Implemented the final phase of reforms to the Planning and Design Code to streamline the application and assessment process for planning approvals.
- Continued to progress local government reforms to improve council member capacity and conduct, reduce costs, increase financial accountability and improve local government election processes.
- The Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO) continued to provide drafting, legal advice and assistance to government including on multiple aspects of the management of the COVID 19 major emergency.
- CSO continued to provide representation in child protection matters during COVID 19, including managing remote hearings with witnesses and Department for Child Protection staff in multiple locations.
- Legislative Services developed an across government legislative package in response to COVID-19 to, amongst other benefits, ensure the safe and efficient function of government and promote general community safety.
- Legislative Services developed the Statutes Amendment (COVID 19 Permanent Measures) Bill 2021 for introduction into Parliament to make permanent some provisions of the Emergency Response Act 2020 which assisted in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Parliamentary Counsel undertook the drafting and publishing of over 100 directions relating to COVID 19 under the Emergency Management Act 2004.
- SACAT maintained a continuous schedule of hearings delivered remotely due to COVID 19 and identified and embedded lessons learned through adapting to COVID 19 and engaging with the public through remote methods.
- Consumer and Business Services (CBS) continued to provide fee relief to liquor licensees due to the impact of COVID 19.
- AGD worked with the legal assistance sector to progress key deliverables under the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020 2025, including establishing new programs to deliver legal assistance bushfire support and COVID 19 legal assistance services.
- The Office of the Valuer-General completed COVID 19 research for the 2021 22 General Valuation.
- The Fines Unit ceased financial garnishments and any invasive enforcement actions as a temporary relief measure.
Agency contribution to whole of Government objectives
- Implemented a number of funding and legislative measures to address domestic and family violence and further assist victims.
- Strengthened the protection of the vulnerable and the elderly, including responding to increases in work associated with restrictive practices and further developing synergies between the Office of the Public Advocate and the Public Trustee.
- The Equal Opportunity Commissioner undertook reviews of harassment in the legal profession and Parliament to help reduce discrimination the workplace.
- Provided timely, useful legal and policy advice across government, particularly regarding COVID-19 matters.
- Supported strategies that prevent crime and reduce harm such as implementing changes associated with unexplained wealth and driving at extreme speed.
- Implemented the Fuel Pricing Information Scheme to support information sharing, transparency and ease of access to data.
- Provided over $22 million to the community through the Open Space Grants Program.
- Made it easier for the community to interact with us with the e-Planning system going live in March 2021.
- Continued with improvements to the South Australia Government Radio Network (SAGRN) to better support the delivery of emergency services
- Implemented technology, such as a CT scanner in Forensic Science SA and updated Audio-Visual Links across the Justice sector, that supports service delivery and increases productivity.
- Improved the security of ICT systems to reduce cyber security threats whilst improving support for staff working from home.
- Continued to identify and implement process improvement initiatives across the agency.
Agency specific objectives and performance
Legislation was drafted, introduced and passed Parliament to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic including extending the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (which amended a number of Acts to ensure the safe and efficient functioning of Government, mitigated the economic impacts on the State and promoted general community safety):
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Expiry and Rent) Amendment Act 2020
COVID-19 Emergency Response (Expiry) Amendment Act 2021 and COVID-19 Emergency Response (Expiry) (No 2) Amendment Act 2021
Statutes Amendment (COVID-19 Permanent Measures) Act 2021
Drafting and publishing of regulations and over 100 Directions and Declarations under the Emergency Management Act 2004 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was appropriately prioritised and conducted in an efficient and effective manner, including the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) (Prescribed Period) Variation Regulations 2020.
All COVID-19 related drafting work was resourced and prioritised to meet Cabinet, Parliamentary and online publishing deadlines.
Modifications were made to the publishing of historical directions on the South Australian Legislation website to improve access/visibility of ceased directions and declarations.
Providing timely, high quality, legal services to Ministers and Government Agencies during COVID-19.
The CSO provided assistance and legal advice to Government on issues related to the COVID-19 emergency including advice on powers of various government agencies, vaccination, contractual and property aspects of agencies’ services, information sharing to facilitate contact tracing and on multiple employment and workforce issues related to the emergency.
The CSO and Parliamentary Counsel also drafted the directions given by the State Co-ordinator and provided support and advice to AGD Legislative Services, SA Health and SAPOL on COVID-19 legislation and regulations.
Implemented a number of funding and legislative measures to address domestic and family violence.
Legislative amendments to the Sentencing Act 2017:
This legislation contained family violence-specific provisions to ensure evidence of family violence and the circumstances surrounding it can be taken into account at trial and in sentencing.
Introduce legislation in response to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Protection undertaken by Mr Paul Rice QC (Rice Report).
The Rice Report was tabled in Parliament on 16 February 2021.
Two of the recommendations made in the Rice Report required legislative amendment.
The Statutes Amendment (Recommendations of Independent Inquiry into Child Protection) Bill 2021 was introduced into Parliament on 16 March 2021 and passed the Parliament on 6 May 2021. The Act commenced on 2 August 2021.
The Act amends the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 and the Bail Act 1985 to:
The Criminal Law Consolidation (Driving at Extreme Speed) Amendment Act 2021 passed the Parliament on 24 June 2021.
The Criminal Law Consolidation (Driving at Extreme Speed) Amendment Act 2021 creates a new offence in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 of driving at an extreme speed.
This offence occurs if a person exceeds a speed limit that is 60km/h or less by 55km/h or more, or if a person exceeds a speed limit of more than 60km/h by 80km/h or more.
If convicted, a motorist can be jailed for up to three years for a basic offence and five years for an aggravated offence.
Introduction of Regulations under the Land and Business (Sales & Conveyancing) Act 1994 to disclose the existence of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) Cladding on buildings identified by the South Australian Building Cladding Audit.
An additional Regulation was made to require the vendor to disclose whether or not the building has been identified as having ACP installed that constitutes a moderate, high or extreme fire risk, any actions required to remediate the risk and the estimated costs of remediation.
Planned for the Commencement of the Custody Notification Service (CNS).
Regulations for the commencement of a CNS are now in place. AGD is working with the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and the Commonwealth and State governments to implement this service in 2021.
Funding for Crime Stoppers SA.
AGD has entered a four-year funding agreement with Crime Stoppers. The agreement provides $200,000 annually to enable an expansion of the operation of this crime fighting service.
Keeping victims informed.
Over $600,000 has been committed from the Justice Rehabilitation Fund to the Victim Services Unit within the Department for Correctional Services.
This funding will enable victims to receive information about changes to their perpetrator’s custody status, parole conditions and supervised bail conditions to facilitate safety planning.
The service commenced 1 July 2021.
The Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) responding to increases in work associated with Restrictive Practices.
The OPA has established a specialist Restrictive Practices Guardianship Team to manage this increased workload. The team has:
These processes work to ensure that people are kept safe whilst upholding the rights of guardianship clients.
OPA and the Public Trustee have a significant number of shared customers, many of which are the most vulnerable people in the South Australian community.
During 2020-21, the OPA and Public Trustee:
Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity’s
Both reviews were undertaken and completed by the Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in 2020-21. AGD is working on implementing a number of recommendations arising from both Reviews, including:
Fairly administered laws
Expanded legal assistance services (Commonwealth funding).
The National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) 2020-2025 commenced on 1 July 2020 with South Australia to receive over $148 million in funding over five years. South Australia has also received a further $3.6 million over two years in COVID-19 funding to meet the anticipated increase in demand for legal assistance.
This funding has increased capacity for legal assistance to be meet the anticipated increase in demand as a result of COVID-19. This includes additional funding for specialist services to support women and children experiencing or at risk of domestic violence.
South Australia also received Bushfire legal assistance funding of $874,000 over two years to support relief and recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires.
Implemented a South Australian Fuel Pricing Information Scheme.
On 19 March 2021, the Government implemented the South Australian Fuel Pricing Information Scheme under the Fair Trading Act 1987.
The scheme will ensure that South Australians have access to comprehensive and reliable fuel data to make informed decisions when purchasing fuel.
Implemented the Gambling Reform Package.
Implementation is continuing which will involve:
An efficient and effective justice system
Implemented the CT scanner into post-mortem processes and reduced turnaround times for post-mortem reporting.
Of the 1,240 cases scanned since the implementation of the CT scanner, 469 (38%) have been resolved without the need for an internal post-mortem examination.
The number of post-mortem reports in progress has fallen from 1,287 to 853 at the end of June 2021, a reduction of 33%.
There has also been a 72% reduction in the number of cases over 12 months old and a 45% reduction in the number of cases over six months old.
Assistance provided to SAPOL in the exhumation and identification of the unknown deceased known as ‘Somerton Man’.
The deceased, known as ‘Somerton Man’, was exhumed on 19 May 2021.
FSSA provided forensic scientific and medical advice and assistance to SAPOL in the exhumation of the body.
Expert advice regarding the types of DNA testing which could be applied to the remains of the deceased, and the potential information they could yield, has been provided.
Legislation to transfer a number of jurisdictions on SACAT passed Parliament.
The remaining provisions of the Statutes Amendment (SACAT) Act 2019 (No 14 of 2019) came into operation on 4 May 2020.
The Act transferred various functions to SACAT, including the miscellaneous disciplinary and review jurisdiction of the District Court.
SACAT responded to increases in application numbers from the NDIS and Restrictive Practices.
Used sessional member workforce to ensure SACAT is able to list a matter when needed while assessing urgency to ensure fairness.
The Unexplained Wealth (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2021 passed the Parliament on 24 June 2021 and will commence on 1 September 2021.
The Act operates to allow South Australia to join the National Cooperative Scheme on Unexplained Wealth (the National Scheme), as well as making related and consequential amendments to the Criminal Assets Confiscation Act 2005 (the CAC Act) and the Serious and Organised Crime (Unexplained Wealth Act) 2009.
Joining the National Scheme will enhance the ability of South Australia to seize and confiscate unexplained wealth.
The National Scheme is designed to sit alongside States’ own legislation as a complementary scheme.
These reforms will have a positive impact on the community by improving the ability of law enforcement agencies to target unexplained wealth and organised crime.
Implemented Stage 2 and 3 of the Canine Court Companion (CCC) Project which aims to provide support to vulnerable victims and witnesses in major indictable matters in a court environment.
Following the successful completion of Stage 1 in the CCC program in which Zero, the court canine companion attended 136 appointments with vulnerable witnesses within the ODPP environment, the ODPP commenced planning for the implementation of Stages 2 and 3 which would result in the extension of Zero’s environment to the courts.
Amendments to the Evidence Act 1929 were proclaimed in March 2021 (the Evidence (Vulnerable Witnesses) Amendment Act (Commencement) Proclamation 2021) which allow for an application to be made for a Court Canine Companion to accompany a vulnerable witness giving evidence.
Our people meet customer needs
50% reduction in liquor licence annual fees (additional support in response to COVID-19)
In response to the impacts of COVID-19, liquor licence holders who received a JobKeeper payment for themselves or one or more employees between 4 January and 28 March 2021 received a 50% waiver for annual fees payable.
SACAT was flexible in the way in which the Tribunal conducts its business
Provided visits to protected persons in hospitals and residential care to enable participation in hearings that would otherwise not be possible. Also transitioned to hearings being conducted remotely during COVID-19.
Promoted Aboriginal culture and continued implementing the AGD Reconciliation Action Plan.
Activities in 2020-21 included:
State Records response to the Tandanya Declaration was communicated and implemented.
State Records joined with the State Library to form a joint Aboriginal Reference Group, which will guide the institutions’ response to the Tandanya Declaration.
A collection of photographs of Aboriginal people and culture taken by FJ Gillen in the early twentieth century was repatriated to communities in the Northern Territory.
The FJ Gillen collection of photographs was repatriated to the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory (MAGNT) in May 2021. MAGNT now holds the photographs on behalf of the communities represented in the images and administers access to the photographs in line with community expectations.
Upgraded systems and network infrastructure
The SAGRN Upgrade progressed beyond practical completion in 2020-21 and remains on track to help ensure the SAGRN continues to meet the needs of the emergency and essential services users across the State.
In 2020-21 the SAGRN:
Upgraded Audio-Visual Link technology across the justice sector
The Government has committed over $15 million in funding to improve Audio-Visual Links (AVL) across the Department for Correctional Services, the Courts Administration Authority and South Australia Police.
This funding has seen upgrades to Court facilities across multiple metropolitan and regional sites, enabled SAPOL to have 54 AVL facilities installed in police stations across metropolitan and regional South Australia and provided an additional 20 AVL suites across the state’s prison network.
Reviewed Municipal Services for Aboriginal Communities Program (MUNS Program).
A new annual service grant program has been put in place for all Aboriginal communities and other bodies that are supported to provide municipal services outside of the APY Lands. This will ensure a consistent approach to funding to deliver core services to all communities.
The Office for Local Government is also delivering a $9.1 million investment in upgrading and renewing critical municipal infrastructure across all communities outside of the APY Lands.
Improved security of ICT Systems and continued to improve support for staff working from home
Planning & Local Government
The 2018-21 AGD Strategic Plan was finalised prior to Planning and Local Government transferring to AGD in 2020-21. Indicators and performance relating to Planning and Local Government are shown in this section.
A new AGD Strategic Plan will be developed during 2021-22.
Completed the 2020-21 Open Space Grant round.
The 2020-21 Open Space Grant Program was successfully completed, with over $22 million allocated in 2020-21.
The Open Space Grant Program application criteria and the guidelines were also reviewed and refreshed in early 2021 to improve the process for applicants for the 2021-22 Grant Program.
Implemented the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, including the Planning and Design Code (the Code) for South Australia.
The Code was implemented in three phases:
The third Phase of the Code was completed though two stages of community engagement.
A total of 2,368 written submissions were received.
The Code was complemented by new Regulations, Practice Directions and Guidelines.
Implemented the PlanSA Portal.
The ePlanning solution has been introduced in two stages:
The Solution provides a statewide platform to support the orderly development of South Australia.
Introduced Regulations under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 to support the HomeBuilder Scheme.
Regulations were made under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 on 19 March 2021 to streamline HomeBuilder applications lodged through the PlanSA Portal.
Passage of the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Act 2021.
The Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Act 2021 received assent on 17 June 2021 and introduces the most significant reforms to the Local Government Act 1999 since it was first enacted.
Remediation of buildings identified by the South Australian Building Cladding Audit as containing Aluminium Composite Panels Cladding constituting a high or extreme fire risk.
Number of buildings rated by the audit as high or extreme reduced from 28 to 7.
Amendment of Ministerial Building Standard 010 - Construction requirements for the control of external sound to address health issues associated with aircraft noise in dwellings.
New dwellings constructed in areas identified as subject to aircraft noise have measures that protect occupants from health issues.
Undertook additional flood hazard mapping and enhanced the planning policy relating to the flood hazard.
Incorporated the enhanced flood hazard mapping into the Planning and Design Code through a code amendment.
$3 million was provided in the 2020-21 budget to consolidate flood mapping data.
The flood hazard mapping has been fully scoped and has moved to the procurement phase.
A phase one code amendment has commenced.
Local Design Review Scheme.
The Local Design Review Scheme was established under section 121 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 to provide a consistent approach for councils to provide Design Review within their communities.
The Scheme was approved by the Minister for Planning and Local Government in February 2021.
State Design Review Program.
A total of 35 State Design Review sessions were held in 2020-21. These sessions were for 29 private and public sector projects with a total project value of approximately $1.5 billion.
The Office for Design and Architectu
Corporate performance summary
In November 2020, AGD launched the Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2020-2022 to support an inclusive and respectful environment for all staff. The Plan includes AGD’s commitment to increasing appointments of Aboriginal candidates in Traineeships, Cadetships and work experience programs. AGD’s Aboriginal Engagement Officer facilitates a complimentary trainee program to support new Aboriginal employees into the workplace as well as providing mentoring and assistance to staff.
AGD also organised a series of Cultural Awareness Sessions and a number of events around National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC to further raise awareness of our Aboriginal strategy.
AGD actively engaged in the equal opportunity program – Aboriginal Employment Register and established a partnership with Tauondi College for their work-ready program. Five Aboriginal candidates were engaged through these programs.
AGD filled 13 Skilling SA places including four which have been offered to Aboriginal trainees.
Agency performance management and development systems
AGD has a twice yearly performance management process. 80% of AGD employees had at least one performance review in the last 12 months. A survey showed that staff were generally satisfied with the quality of conversations
Work health, safety and return to work programs
AGD continued to work to its Wellbeing and Safety Strategic Plan 2020-22 goals:
- leaders demonstrate commitment to safety by their actions
- organisational practices support wellbeing and engagement
- risk management is systematic and proportionate
- regular verification and evaluation of safety performance is undertaken.
AGD Human Resources has procured a new, local Adelaide-based Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), Human Psychology and they have been available for all employees since 1 May 2021. Usage has nearly doubled in the first three months and feedback to date has been overwhelmingly positive. A promotional campaign and targeted support for larger Business Units is currently being rolled out.
There was no marked increase in EAP usage during the COVID-19 pandemic although this will continue to be monitored. Human Psychology are also looking at providing additional support around vicarious trauma for certain areas.
The quarterly Health and Safety Representative (HSR) forum is continuing to support the Health and Safety Committee (HSC), to ensure high quality consultation on significant wellbeing and safety matters.
AGD’s approach to early intervention, return to work and injury management continues to result in positive outcomes for all parties. Despite an increase in costs associated with return to work of $39,000, there was a reduction in the number of claims, including significant injuries, in 2020-21. In 2020-21, AGD recorded 11 claims compared to 16 in 2019-20. In comparison to the SA Public Sector overall, AGD’s psychological injury claims per 1,000 FTE is also lower. AGD’s focus on the prevention of future psychological claims through education and training is continuing with a particular focus on vicarious trauma and working with the new Employee Assistance Provider, Human Psychology.
Workplace injury claims
Total new workplace injury claims
Seriously injured workers*
Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed per 1,000 FTE)
* Number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)
Work health and safety regulations
Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3)
Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195)
Return to work costs**
Total gross workers compensation expenditure
Income support payments – gross
Executive employment in the agency
Number of executives
Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/organization/attorney-general-s-dept
The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.