Overtime costs remain high - action required
Auditor-General's Report to Parliament
20 June 2012
Overtime is a significant cost for RailCorp and Roads and Maritime Services, adding about ten per cent to the cost of regular salaries.
RailCorp’s overtime cost was $133.7 million in 2010–11, and at Roads and Maritime Services it cost $49.3 million.
Seventy eight per cent of RailCorp’s staff worked overtime and received on average $10,643 for the year. Fifty-seven per cent of Roads and Maritime Services’ staff worked overtime and received on average $9,325 for the year.
“In 2010–11 one employee at Roads and Maritime Services doubled their base salary with overtime payments of $96,516”, said Mr Achterstraat. “The same employee was in the top two overtime earners in all of the last three years”, he added.
When compared to industry benchmarks there were inefficiencies contributing to higher overtime at RailCorp and Roads and Maritime Services.
“Train drivers spend only 28 per cent of their time driving trains with passengers on board”, he added. “This is low compared to other international railway systems that exceed 40 per cent.”
Recent reforms at RailCorp and Roads and Maritime Services have had some impact on overtime.
RailCorp achieved a significant reduction in overtime of $10 million through station staff reforms in 2010–11. However, increases in other areas, such as train crewing and infrastructure maintenance, have offset the savings achieved by these reforms.
Roads and Maritime Services, as part of its 2008 award negotiations, was able to introduce night shifts for its traffic signal technicians. This made some annual overtime savings.
A certain level of overtime is required to deliver and maintain services with minimum disruption to users.
“I wasn’t satisfied that the agencies had determined what were efficient levels of overtime”, said Mr Achterstraat. “Overtime limits need to be set at divisional and entity levels”, he added.
RailCorp and Roads and Maritime Services are committed to achieving better performance against benchmarks, including revising work practices.
"I am pleased that both agencies have accepted all my recommendations on controlling their overtime”, said Mr Achterstraat. “I will continue to monitor overtime in key Government agencies”, he added.
Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664 and email email@example.com.
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