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Transport Secretary welcomes SSC report on whistleblower disadvantage

21 July 2017

Secretary for Transport Peter Mersi has welcomed the report of the State Services Commission Report of investigation into whistle blower treatment within the Ministry of Transport.

"These former staff members did the right thing and they should never have been disadvantaged because of that. I apologise to these people for what happened," he says. 

"I totally support the process of redress the State Services Commissioner has followed with the three former members of the Ministry's finance team who were made redundant."

The independent investigator, Sandi Beatie QSO, has found that four former staff members of the Ministry of Transport were disadvantaged by the actions of convicted fraudster Joanne Harrison in events which took place in 2015.

The investigation was in response to public concern that public servants raised issues about Ms Harrison’s activities within the Ministry of Transport and subsequently lost their jobs in a restructure Ms Harrison was involved in. The investigation process was started by the Secretary for Transport, and was subsequently taken over by the State Services Commissioner after the affected staff raised concerns with him directly.

Ms Beatie has made recommendations for steps public sector agencies can take to support their staff to raise concerns safely and easily.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says he is also recommending to the Government that the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 be reviewed and updated.

“This Act is now 17 years old and it no longer reflects international best practice. We need to update it to make it more user friendly for people making disclosures and introduce proper reporting and monitoring requirements,” he says. 

“Last year I directed every Public Service Chief Executive to review their Protected Disclosure Act policies and processes and internal processes for escalation of issues or concerns. Every agency needs to have clear, easily accessible systems for Public Servants to raise concerns, and importantly, they need to make sure their staff know they are there and how to use them if they need to.

“SSC will be engaging with all the Chief Executives on the progress they are making with updating their policies and systems, and communicating this to their staff.”

Last updated on the 16th September 2019