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Government and Parliament

Under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 the Chief Executive Officer is to keep the Minister informed of Safe Work Australia’s progress in performing its functions.

The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations was the Minister responsible for Safe Work Australia from December 2011. Following the Federal election in September 2013 the responsible Minister became Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment.

Throughout 2013-14 the Ministers were regularly advised of progress on key matters including being provided with monthly reports on Safe Work Australia’s activities.

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia comprises 15 Members including an independent Chair, nine members representing the Commonwealth and each state and territory, two members representing the interests of workers, two representing the interests of employers and the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia. Members are supported by the staff of the agency and various committees and groups for both technical and policy matters.

Safe Work Australia is required to convene at least three meetings each financial year. Safe Work Australia met seven times in 2013-14, three of which were by teleconference. The additional teleconference meetings were held to discuss Queensland’s proposed amendments to its Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and associated regulations and to consider revising material related to the model WHS laws.

Safe Work Australia Members

Ms Ann Sherry AO

Ms Ann Sherry AO (Safe Work Australia Chair)

Ms Sherry is the Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Australia and holds a number of non-executive roles with Sydney Airport Corporation, ING Direct (Australia), The Myer Family Company Holdings Pty Ltd, Jawun – Indigenous Corporate Partnerships and Australian Rugby Union. Ms Sherry is also the Chair of Cruise Lines International Association South East Asia. In 2013 Ms Sherry was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by Macquarie University in recognition of her contribution to Australian business and civic life.

Mr John Watson

Mr John Watson (NSW)

Mr Watson is the General Manager, Occupational Health and Safety Division, WorkCover Authority NSW. Mr Watson was the Chair of the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) and the Strategic Issues Group on Work Health and Safety (SIG-WHS). Mr Watson has over 25 years’ experience working on work health and safety matters in Australia.

Ms Denise Cosgrove

Ms Denise Cosgrove (VIC)

Ms Cosgrove joined Victorian WorkCover Authority as Chief Executive in November 2012. Prior to joining WorkCover, Ms Cosgrove worked for New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Ms Cosgrove’s most recent role with the ACC was as General Manager, Claims Management, responsible for the management of ACC operations as well as other areas including the clinical directorate, health procurement and innovation functions.

Dr Simon Blackwood

Dr Simon Blackwood (QLD)

Dr Blackwood is currently the Deputy Director-General for Fair and Safe Work Queensland. His responsibilities and functions include supporting improved workplace health and safety and electrical safety performance through the regulatory framework and provision of services, regulatory responsibility and provision of policy advice on workers’ compensation matters; and supporting a productive industrial relations framework for the private sector in Queensland. Dr Blackwood’s previous roles have included Executive Director of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and prior to that General Manager of Private Sector Industrial Relations. Dr Blackwood is a member of SIG-WHS.

Mr Bryan Russell

Mr Bryan Russell (SA)

Mr Russell is the Executive Director of SafeWork SA, a business unit of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Mr Russell is the South Australian representative on Safe Work Australia and SIG-WHS and has played a key role in the reform of Work Health and Safety legislation in Australia. He is currently the Chair of the SIG- Explosives. Mr Russell was also the South Australian representative on the National Mine Safety Forum Steering Group responsible for the development of model laws for mine safety in Australia.

Mr Brian Bradley

Mr Brian Bradley (WA)

Mr Bradley is the Director General of the Department of Commerce. Mr Bradley holds the position of Deputy Chair of the Western Australian Commission for Occupational Safety and Health. Mr Bradley is a member of the WorkCover Western Australia Authority’s Board and a member of the Legal Aid Commission. Mr Bradley has been working on safety and health matters since 1983.

Ms Fiona Barbaro

Ms Fiona Barbaro (ACT)

Ms Barbaro is the Director of the Office of Industrial Relations in the ACT Government. Ms Barbaro has been a member of various working groups on work safety issues since 2003. She has held senior positions in the ACT Government responsible for public and private sector industrial relations, criminal and public law, work safety policy and dangerous substances including asbestos, explosives and chemical regulation. Ms Barbaro holds degrees in arts and law and is admitted as a barrister/solicitor in the ACT Supreme Court.

Mr Martin Shirley

Mr Martin Shirley (TAS)

Mr Shirley joined SafeWork Tasmania as Chief Executive in August 2013. Mr Shirley has held senior management positions for the past 20 years in industrial relations, operational management, strategy, planning and communications. Prior to joining SafeWork, he worked for WorkCover Tasmania within the Department of Justice. His most recent role was Director, WorkCover Tasmania responsible for the strategic management of WorkCover operations as well as other areas including the directorate, health and safety innovation and communications. Mr Shirley is Tasmania’s Asbestos Compensation Commissioner, Director of Gas Safety and Tasmania’s Regulator of work health and safety.

Mr Doug Phillips

Mr Doug Phillips (NT)

Mr Phillips has worked in senior management positions in the private sector, accounting, motor industry and a group of companies having interests in real estate, motor dealerships, tourism, hospitality and airport ground transport. Mr Phillips joined the Northern Territory Government in 1999 and has since held senior executive positions. In 2012 Mr Phillips was appointed Deputy Chief Executive of NT Work Health Authority for the Department of Business. Mr Phillips is a member of SIG-WHS.

Ms Kylie Emery

Ms Kylie Emery (Commonwealth)

Ms Emery is the Group Manager of the Workplace Relations Implementation and Safety Group, Department of Employment. Ms Emery holds degrees in arts and law and a Masters of International Law. Ms Emery is admitted as a barrister/solicitor to the ACT Supreme Court. Ms Emery is a member of SIG-WHS and SIG-Explosives.

Mr Michael Borowick

Mr Michael Borowick (ACTU)

Mr Borowick is an Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and oversees the work of the Occupational Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation team. Mr Borowick represents the ACTU on the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC), Defence Reserves Support Council and the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council. Prior to his current position, Mr Borowick was an official of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) for 20 years, where he was the Victorian Branch Assistant Secretary and a member of the AWU National Executive. Mr Borowick is a member of the Strategic Issues Group for Workers’ Compensation (SIG-Workers’ Compensation).

Mr Andrew Dettmer

Mr Andrew Dettmer (ACTU)

Mr Dettmer is National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union. Mr Dettmer is currently on the board of Carbon Nexus, Catalyst and Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad, the ACTU’s overseas aid arm. He has been an official of the union at both National and State levels since 1988.

Ms Carolyn Davis

Ms Carolyn Davis (ACCI)

Ms Davis is Manager of Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Policy in the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Workplace Policy area. Ms Davis has more than twenty years’ experience in work health and safety and workers’ compensation management, policy, advocacy and implementation. Ms Davis has held senior roles in major Australian companies and in academia as well as running her own consultancy for many years. Her early qualifications and background were in industrial chemistry and occupational hygiene. Ms Davis is a member of SIG-WHS and SIG-Explosives.

Mr Mark Goodsell

Mr Mark Goodsell (Ai Group)

Mr Goodsell is Director of the NSW branch of the Ai Group. Previously Mr Goodsell was an industrial relations adviser to industry. Mr Goodsell is currently a member of the NSW OHS and Workers’ Compensation Council and is the chair of SIG-Workers’ Compensation.

Mr Michelle Baxter

Ms Michelle Baxter (Safe Work Australia)

Ms Baxter is the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia.

Safe Work Australia Strategic Issues Groups

Safe Work Australia Members established strategic issues groups to progress work health and safety, workers’ compensation and explosives matters. These groups provide policy advice and recommendations and assist Safe Work Australia Members:

  • oversee the development and implementation of the model WHS laws
  • guide and advise on the overall strategic planning and policy development for harmonisation of workers’ compensation arrangements
  • identify and obtain input from relevant stakeholders > establish temporary advisory groups, and
  • approve the release of publications.

SIG-WHS

The SIG-WHS is tripartite and is constituted by Safe Work Australia Members and their nominees. The SIG-WHS met five times during 2013-14. SIG-WHS members considered technical amendments to the model WHS Regulations and the development of model codes of practice, guidance material and factsheets.

SIG-WHS members as at 30 June 2014
Member Repersenting
Mr John Watson Chair
Ms Kylie Emery Commonwealth
Ms Jodie Deakes New South Wales
Ms Linda Timothy Victoria
Dr Simon Blackwood Queensland
Mr Ian Munns Western Australia
Mr Bryan Russell South Australia
Ms Wendy Clarkson Tasmania
Mr Doug Phillips Northern Territory
Mr John Rees Australian Capital Territory
Ms Cathy Butcher Australian Council of Trade Unions
Dr Deborah Vallance Australian Council of Trade Unions
Ms Carolyn Davis Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ms Tracey Browne Ai Group
Ms Michelle Baxter Safe Work Australia

SIG-Workers’ Compensation

The SIG-Workers’ Compensation oversees work on the improvement of workers’ compensation arrangements throughout Australia and other workers’ compensation matters as required.

The SIG-Workers’ Compensation is tripartite and is constituted by Safe Work Australia Members and their nominees. The SIG-Workers’ Compensation met four times during 2013-14.

SIG-Workers’ Compensation members as at 30 June 2014
Member Repersenting
Mr Mark Goodsell Chair
Mr Henry Carr Commonwealth
Ms Geniere Aplin New South Wales
Ms Clare Amies Victoria
Mr Paul Goldsbrough Queensland
Ms Michelle Reynolds Western Australia
Mr Greg McCarthy South Australia
Mr Brad Parker Tasmania
Mr Bevan Pratt Northern Territory
Mr Michael Young Australian Capital Territory
Mr Michael Borowick Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Dave Henry Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Greg Pattison Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ms Tracey Browne Ai Group
Ms Michelle Baxter Safe Work Australia

SIG-Explosives

The SIG-Explosives was established to progress nationally consistent explosives legislation. The SIG-Explosives is tripartite and is constituted by Safe Work Australia Members and their nominees. The SIG-Explosives met four times during 2013-14.

SIG-Explosives members as at 30 June 2014
Member Repersenting
Mr Bryan Russell Chair
Ms Kylie Emery Commonwealth
Mr Tony Robinson New South Wales
Ms Linda Timothy Victoria
Mr Geoff Downs Queensland
Mr Philip Hine Western Australia
Mr Geoff Downs Western Australia
Mr Stephen De Musson South Australia
Ms Wendy Clarkson Tasmania
Ms Melissa Garde Northern Territory
Mr John Rees Australian Capital Territory
Mr Keith Shaw Australian Council of Trade Unions
Ms Carolyn Davis Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ms Tracey Browne Ai Group
Ms Michelle Baxter Safe Work Australia

Reference Groups

In 2013 the Safe Work Australia Members established three reference groups to share information between Safe Work Australia Member organisations and the agency on the relevant topics.

The three reference groups established are the:

  • Communications Reference Group
  • Research and Evaluation Reference Group, and
  • Data Reference Group.

Communications Reference Group

This tripartite group comprises representatives that have been nominated by their Safe Work Australia Member. The group consists of Communication Managers, Media Managers and Event Managers from all work health and safety jurisdictions in Australia in addition to employer and worker representatives. The Communications Reference Group has been consulted on a number of agency activities throughout 2013-2014 including Safe Work Australia Month, the Australian Strategy VSS and the Stakeholder Engagement Review.

Research and Evaluation Reference Group

This tripartite group comprises representatives from all work health and safety jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand as well as employer and worker representatives. Topics discussed throughout 2013-14 included: sharing of research activities, findings and publications; development of a GovDex website to share information between members on research projects; evaluating work health and safety legislation; commenting on research and evaluation strategies and input to the 2014-15 Safe Work Australia Research and Evaluation Work Plan; and opportunities for collaboration on research projects.

Data Reference Group

This tripartite group comprises representatives from all work health and safety jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand in addition to employer and worker representatives. A wide range of topics have been discussed throughout 2013-14 including: a data sharing agreement with the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research; timing of the provision of compensated fatality data; the annual statement on psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces; consistency in the measurement of Comparative Performance Monitoring (CPM) indicators; and the provision of narrative information on workers’ compensation claims where there were potentially design issues at play.

Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC)

The SRCC is a statutory body with regulatory functions relating to Comcare and other authorities which determine workers’ compensation claims under the Commonwealth scheme.

The Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia is a Commissioner on the SRCC.

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA)

HWSA is a group comprising representatives of the jurisdictional bodies responsible for the regulation and administration of workplace health and safety in Australia and New Zealand.

HWSA mount national compliance campaigns targeted at specific industries across all jurisdictions. These campaign initiatives facilitate the development of consistent approaches to nationally recognised priorities.

The Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia is invited to attend HWSA meetings as an observer.

Heads of Workers’ Compensation Authorities (HWCA)

HWCA is a group comprising representatives of the jurisdictional bodies responsible for the regulation and administration of workers’ compensation in Australia and New Zealand.

HWCA promotes and implements best practice in workers’ compensation arrangements in the areas of policy and legislative matters, regulation and scheme administration.

The Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia is invited to attend HWCA meetings as an observer.

Corporate governance

Corporate Governance Framework

Safe Work Australia’s corporate governance framework ensures Safe Work Australia provides strategic direction, achieves objectives, manages risks and uses resources responsibly and with accountability. The framework is reviewed annually to ensure new whole-of-government requirements are incorporated and to reflect any changes to governance arrangements within Safe Work Australia.

Safe Work Australia ensures compliance with statutory requirements through the corporate governance framework. This framework ensures all Safe Work Australia’s statutory requirements are met including the requirements of the Public Service Act 1999.

During 2013-14 Safe Work Australia continued to improve its Integrated Planning Framework (IPF) which has significantly increased the effectiveness of planning and reporting internally and externally. The IPF has brought together the agency’s financial, business and human resources planning into one process. The planning is strategically aligned to Safe Work Australia’s risk management framework to identify potential risks and controls during the business planning process.

Legislative framework

Safe Work Australia ensures compliance with statutory requirements through the corporate governance framework. This framework ensures all Safe Work Australia’s statutory requirements are met including the requirements of the FMA Act and the Public Service Act 1999.

Leadership, ethics and culture

Safe Work Australia recognises leadership, culture and ethical behaviour are critical to implementing a strong corporate governance framework. These elements enable staff to:

  • understand their roles and responsibilities
  • continuously improve performance and minimise risks
  • enhance stakeholder and public confidence in Safe Work Australia, and
  • meet legal, ethical and public service obligations.

Strategy 7 of the Strategic Plan is Organisational Effectiveness. Activities in the 2013-14 Operational Plan to support this strategy include:

  • Ensure we meet our statutory obligations
  • Work within the governance and accountability framework
  • Deliver high quality Secretariat services
  • Continuous improvement of the IPF
  • Promote and improve health, safety and wellbeing of staff.

Risk management framework

Safe Work Australia has maintained the risk management framework developed in 2010. This framework helps foster and promote a culture of identifying and mitigating risks at all levels within the organisation. The framework includes:

  • Risk Management Plan
  • Risk Management Toolkit including guidance and templates
  • Strategic Risk Assessment
  • Fraud Control Plan
  • Fraud Risk Assessment, and
  • Business Continuity Management Framework.

The Risk Management Framework is reviewed annually and provided to Safe Work Australia’s Audit Committee for approval. Throughout 2013-14 the Risk Management Framework was updated and assessed by the Audit Committee as sound and robust.

Safe Work Australia participates in Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey each year. The feedback received from the survey assists us to improve and strengthen our risk management processes.

In 2014-15 Safe Work Australia will undertake a comprehensive review of the Risk Management Framework to further integrate the IPF and Comcover suggestions.

Fraud control

Safe Work Australia complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2011 to minimise the incidence of fraud through the development, implementation and regular review of the Fraud Control Plan and fraud risks.

Safe Work Australia incorporated fraud awareness into new starter induction procedures in 2013-14 and delivered fraud awareness training to all new starters. The agency continued to remind staff of their responsibility for the prevention and detection of fraud against the Commonwealth.

No incidences of fraud were reported during 2013-14.

Certification of Fraud Control Measures

In accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2011, I certify that Safe Work Australia has prepared a fraud risk assessment and fraud control plan and has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures. Safe Work Australia has taken all reasonable measures to minimise the incidence of fraud and to investigate and recover the proceeds of fraud.

Michelle Baxter Chief Executive Officer

Freedom of Information

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements on its website.

Safe Work Australia received six Freedom of Information requests from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.

Safe Work Australia’s IPS Agency Plan can be found on the Safe Work Australia website.

External accountability

Clear and consistent external reporting enables Safe Work Australia to directly address interests and concerns from other organisations. External conformance and accountability is acquitted through annual reports, Portfolio Budget Statements, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements and Senate Estimates.

Safe Work Australia is accountable to:

  • Parliament
  • the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)
  • the Department of Finance and Deregulation
  • The Department of Employment
  • the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and
  • the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC).

External audit

The ANAO provides external audit services for Safe Work Australia. The outcome of the 2013-14 financial statements audit is in Part 5 of this report. Safe Work Australia was not subject to any other ANAO audits during 2013-14.

Judicial decisions and decisions of Administrative Tribunals

No judicial decisions were made by courts or administrative tribunals that affected the operations of Safe Work Australia in 2013-14.

Parliamentary committees etc

No adverse reports of Safe Work Australia’s operations were made in 2013-14 by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Internal accountability

Safe Work Australia has in place:

  • financial and human resources delegations
  • Chief Executive Instructions, and
  • various supporting policies, procedures and guidelines

to ensure internal conformance and accountability.

Audit Committee

The Safe Work Australia Audit Committee was established in 2010 in accordance with section 46 of the FMA Act to provide independent assurance and assistance to the Chief Executive Officer on the integrity of Safe Work Australia’s:

  • financial data and processes
  • risks, controls and compliance framework, and
  • external accountability responsibilities.

The Audit Committee comprises three members–a representative from Safe Work Australia and two independent members. The members as of 30 June 2014 were:

  • Mr Drew Wagner – Chair
  • Mr Alfred Bongi, and
  • Mr Dermot Walsh.

The Audit Committee met four times during 2013-14. The Audit Committee conducted the annual performance survey of the internal audit services provider at its September meeting and endorsed the agency’s revised Corporate Governance arrangements in November 2013.

A number of observers including Safe Work Australia’s Chief Financial Officer, representatives from the internal audit provider Oakton Services Pty Ltd and the ANAO regularly attend these meetings.

Internal audit

The internal audit function was contracted to Oakton Services Pty Ltd in November 2010 for a period of three years, with the contract extended for a further year. The internal audit program is a key element of the agency’s corporate governance framework.
The internal audit program provides assurance to the Audit Committee and the Chief Executive Officer and helps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the policies and procedures of Safe Work Australia.

The current Internal Audit Program expires in December 2014. During 2013-14 the following audits were commenced:

  • enabling services Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and
  • grants and sponsorships.

The grants and sponsorship audit identified opportunities to enhance internal operations and systems including:

  • revisions of the grants policy and sponsorship guidelines
  • standardisation of better grant management practices across the agency, and
  • more stringent enforcement of grant recipients’ financial reporting responsibilities.

The Audit on the MOU is still in progress. The agency also engaged Oakton to review its workforce planning and learning and development framework and to provide technical assistance to further comply with the mandatory requirements of the Protective Security Policy Framework under the internal audit program.

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Last modified on Wednesday 24 May 2017 [7951|51421]