Public servant abuse investigations 'falling short'

Tasmania's premier concedes investigations into public servants accused of child sexual abuse are "falling short" of the public's expectations.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Jeremy Rockliff said the community expected investigations to be resolved sooner than they were.

"It is clear that the length of time some public service employee investigations are taking falls far short of mine, and the public’s expectations," he said.

"We must do better and do all we can, within the law, to ensure investigations are timely."

Public servants accused of child sexual abuse were immediately removed from workplaces to ensure young people's safety and that investigations could proceed as quickly as possible, the premier said.

He noted cases could be extremely complex and sensitive, agencies had to abide by the law to ensure investigations were not open to legal challenges, and the government had to pause inquiries when police took on a matter.

"Where a civil case progresses for the same allegation, this may cause further delays to the ED5 (investigation of potential code of conduct breaches) whilst the civil claim is progressing," Mr Rockliff said.

"I have urgently tasked the Head of the State Service to work with Secretaries to provide me with assurances that all available legal and workplace remedies to resolve outstanding matters are being taken as quickly as is possible, mindful that some may involve legal complexities that may be preventing such outcomes."

More than 70 public servants have been suspended because of child sexual abuse allegations since October 2020, according to the Department of Premier and Cabinet's routine disclosures.

Collectively, they have been paid the equivalent of more than 61 years' worth of wages, The Mercury reported.

The government would not be distracted from its work to implement 191 recommendations from the commission of inquiry into the Tasmanian government's response to child sexual abuse, Mr Rockliff said.

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