THE loss of the PIRSA deputy chief executive position and the scrapping of up to four other executive positions will form part of the department's cost saving measures announced in the recent state budget.
Responding to questioning from the opposition at a budget Estimates Committee hearing on Monday, Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said the deputy chief executive position - vacant following the resignation of former chief executive Michelle Edge in December and subsequent promotion of then deputy chief executive Professor Mehdi Doroudi - would not be filled.
Ms Scriven also revealed up to four executive positions would be scrapped.
The budget forecast a $3.8 million saving in "operating efficiencies" from across the Primary Industries and Regional Development department in 2022-23, increasing to $4.6m from 2025-26, a total of $15.9m across the forward estimates.
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Ms Scriven said no grant programs or services would be cut in meeting those savings targets.
"It is important to also be aware that there are other savings measures that may be achievable," she told the Estimates Committee.
"The chief executive will be looking at issues such as leasing arrangements and rental arrangements to see if there are savings that can be made there.
"While program savings requirements arising from previous budgets have been allocated to specific programs and services in the budget papers, savings from the current budget have been notionally allocated across sub-programs for presentation purposes.
"PIRSA will undertake a review of these savings initiatives in early 2022-23 and then allocate them to specific programs and services across the agency as necessary."
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Ms Scriven said Labor had gone to the March state election with modest savings planned for all departments, except for frontline service departments like health and education.
Opposition spokesperson for Primary Industries Nicola Centofanti said she was extremely concerned about what the loss of the deputy chief executive position could mean for the department.
"The Minister's (Ms Scriven) decision to cut the deputy chief executive position in PIRSA is highly unusual and extremely concerning, as it could have severe consequences for the management and function of the department," she said.
"The Minister is clearly looking to make considerable savings in her Department - she needs to meet the target of $15.9 million worth of cuts over the forwards estimates as operating efficiencies - however with the structure of the Department being altered, my concern is that in the absence of the chief executive, who is the authorised person to make critical decisions?"
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