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Government and Parliament

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

Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment was the Minister responsible for Safe Work Australia during 2014–15.

Throughout 2014–15 the Minister was 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 Safe Work Australia 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 four times in 2014–15. The members as at 30 June 2015 were:

Ann Sherry

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), Myer Family Co Investments, Cape York Partnership and the Australian Rugby Union. Ms Sherry is also the Chair of Cruise Lines International Association South East Asia. In 2013, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by Macquarie University for her contribution to business and civil society and in 2014, an Honorary Doctorate of Business by the University of Queensland.

Michelle Baxter

Ms Michelle Baxter, Safe Work Australia

Ms Baxter is the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia. Her biography can be found in Part 4 - The organisation.

Vivek Bhatia

Mr Vivek Bhatia, New South Wales

Mr Bhatia was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Safety Return to Work and Support (SRWS) in August 2014. Mr Bhatia joins SRWS from previously being the CEO at Wesfarmers Insurance, where he led the multi-brand, multi-channel insurer through a significant transformation journey. He has also held several other prominent leadership roles in strategy, operations and technology at McKinsey & Company, Wesfarmers Insurance and QBE, both domestically and abroad over the past 15 years.

Clare Amies

Ms Clare Amies, Victoria

Ms Amies is the Chief Executive of WorkSafe Victoria. Ms Amies has held several Executive Director roles at WorkSafe, including Executive Director of the Insurance Business Unit and Executive Director of the Health and Disability Strategy Group. Ms Amies has held senior management positions for the past 15 years in social welfare, health policy, return to work, operational management, strategy and planning. Prior to joining WorkSafe, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Western Region Health Centre.

Simon Blackwood

Dr Simon Blackwood, Queensland

Dr Blackwood is 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; 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.

Marie Boland

Ms Marie Boland, South Australia

Ms Boland is Acting Executive Director of SafeWork SA. Prior to this Ms Boland held a number of positions at SafeWork SA including Director of Policy and Strategy, Director of Community Engagement and Industrial Relations Inspector. Ms Boland played a key role in supporting the enactment and implementation of the South Australian version of the model WHS Act and Regulations. She was also actively involved in the policy and legislative work surrounding South Australia’s referral of workplace relations powers to the Commonwealth.

Brian Bradley

Mr Brian Bradley, Western Australia

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.

Michael Young

Mr Michael Young, Australian Capital Territory

Mr Young is the Executive Director, Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, a division of the ACT Government’s Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate. In this capacity he is the senior ACT Government official responsible for the Territory’s industrial relations, workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory frameworks. In addition to his duties as Executive Director, Mr Young represents the Territory on two ministerial advisory committees, the ACT Work Safety Council and the Default Insurance Fund Advisory Committee, which he chairs. Mr Young is a personal injury management professional with over 15 years’ experience in senior workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory roles.

Martin Shirley

Mr Martin Shirley, Tasmania

Mr Shirley joined WorkSafe Tasmania as Chief Executive in August 2013. Mr Shirley has held senior management positions for the past 20 years in workplace relations, operational management, strategy, planning and communications. Prior to joining WorkSafe, Mr Shirley 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 of health and safety innovation and communications. Mr Shirley is Tasmania’s Asbestos Compensation Commissioner, Secretary of WorkCover Tasmania and Tasmania’s Regulator of work health and safety.

Stephen Gelding

Mr Stephen Gelding, Northern Territory

Mr Gelding is the Executive Director of NT WorkSafe, a division of the Northern Territory Government Department of Business. He has over 35 years’ experience as a clinician and in senior management positions predominantly within the health and community services sector of the NT public service. Mr Gelding is a member of two Northern Territory Ministerial Advisory Councils – the Work Health and Safety Advisory Council and the Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council. He is also the Chair of the NT Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme Monitoring Committee and a member of the (Northern Territory) Inter-Agency Asbestos Management Working Group.

Justine Ross

Ms Justine Ross, Commonwealth

Ms Ross is Branch Manager of the Work Health and Safety Policy Branch in the Department of Employment. Her current role is responsible for policy development and advice on Commonwealth work health and safety, maritime workers’ compensation and work health and safety matters (for the Commonwealth’s Seacare scheme), asbestos matters and workplace relations issues concerning the building industry. Ms Ross has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University. She is admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in the ACT. Ms Ross has expertise in workplace relations law including work health and safety and workers’ compensation matters. Ms Ross is the chair of SIG-Explosives.

Michael Borowick

Mr Michael Borowick, Australian Council of Trade Unions

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, 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.

Andrew Dettmer

Mr Andrew Dettmer, Australian Council of Trade Unions

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.

Carolyn Davis

Ms Carolyn Davis, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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 20 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.

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 the chair of SIG-Workers’ Compensation.

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 to assist Safe Work Australia Members. Secretariat support for each Strategic Issue Group (SIG) is provided by Safe Work Australia.

  • SIG-Work Health and Safety (SIG-WHS) assists in the implementation of model WHS laws and reform of the legislative framework.
  • SIG-Workers’ Compensation oversees work on the improvement of workers’ compensation arrangements.
  • SIG-Explosives assists in the development of a nationally consistent explosives framework.

Each SIG is tripartite and reflects Safe Work Australia membership.


The SIG-WHS met three times during 2014–15.

SIG-WHS members as at 30 June 2015
Member Representing
Mr Paul Goldsborough Chair
Mr Leigh Dwyer Commonwealth
Ms Jodie Deakes New South Wales
Ms Linda Timothy Victoria
Mr Bradley Bick Queensland
Mr Ian Munns Western Australia
Ms Marie Boland South Australia
Ms Wendy Clarkson Tasmania
Mr Stephen Gelding 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 met five times during 2014–15.

SIG-Workers’ Compensation members as at 30 June 2015
Member Representing

Mr Mark Goodsell


Ms Monica Sapra


Ms Caroline Walsh

New South Wales

Ms Clare Amies


Mr Paul Goldsborough


Ms Michelle Reynolds

Western Australia

Mr Greg McCarthy

South Australia

Mr Brad Parker


Mr Bevan Pratt

Northern Territory

Mr Michael Young

Australian Capital Territory

Mr Chris Prast

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Mr Dave Henry

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Ms Karin Lee

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ms Tracey Browne

Ai Group

Ms Michelle Baxter

Safe Work Australia


The SIG-Explosives met four times during 2014–15.

SIG-Explosives members as at 30 June 2015
Member Representing

Ms Justine Ross


Mr Leigh Dwyer


Mr Tony Robinson

New South Wales

Ms Linda Timothy


Mr Noel Erichsen


Mr Phillip Hine

Western Australia

Mr Stephen de Musso

South Australia

Ms Wendy Clarkson


Ms Melissa Garde

Northern Territory

Mr John Rees

Australian Capital Territory

Mr Michael Borowick

Australian Council of Trade Unions

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 Safe Work Australia Members established three reference groups to share information between Safe Work Australia Member organisations and Safe Work Australia on specific topics. These are the:

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

The reference groups are tripartite and reflect Safe Work Australia membership.

Communications Reference Group

The Communications Reference Group comprises communication professionals.

Safe Work Australia consulted the Communications Reference Group about key agency activities throughout 2014–15, including the development of the Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, Safety Month, the Virtual Seminar Series and World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day.

Research and Evaluation Reference Group

The Research and Evaluation Reference Group (RERG) comprises members with a sound understanding of research or evaluation. It also has representation from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. In 2014–15 RERG met three times and advised on the identification, conduct and reporting of research and evaluation projects, contributed to the development of the annual Research and Evaluation Work Plan, provided comment on draft Safe Work Australia research reports and discussed the emerging issues pilot programme.

Data Reference Group

The Data Reference Group met once during 2014–15 to discuss a range of topics, including a data sharing agreement with the University of New South Wales, indicators used in the Comparative Performance Monitoring report and the annual Psychosocial Health and Safety and Bullying in Australian Workplaces report.

Other committees

The Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia represents Safe Work Australia on the committees described in the table below.

Committee Description Representation
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. Commissioner
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 mounts national compliance campaigns targeted at specific industries. These campaign initiatives facilitate the development of consistent approaches to nationally recognised priorities. 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. 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.

Legislative framework

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

Integrated planning framework

During 2014–15 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 Safe Work Australia’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.

Risk management framework

Safe Work Australia’s risk management framework (the Framework) helps foster and promote a culture of identifying and mitigating risks at all levels within the organisation. The Framework includes a:

  • Risk Management Plan
  • Risk Management Toolkit including templates, and
  • Strategic Risk Assessment.

Safe Work Australia participates in Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey each year. Outcomes from this survey are used as a guide when updating the Framework. The feedback received is a valuable tool used to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in risk management processes.

Safe Work Australia is currently reviewing the Framework in light of the PGPA Act and is implementing a new internal online system, RiskActive.

RiskActive will enable staff and managers to access all risks, treatments, mitigation strategies and lessons learnt in a central online location. RiskActive allows for accurate reporting both at a project level and an agency risk level.

RiskActive will minimise the administrative burden on staff with project and risk management responsibilities by reducing the complexity of forms and providing an automated reporting system.

Business Continuity Management

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a requirement under the Protective Security Policy Framework which is an essential part of the agency’s overall approach to effective risk management. BCM is the process by which the agency must follow in the event of a disruption to its business. A key risk for the agency is being unable to remain operational in the event of a crisis or major disruption.

Safe Work Australia is reviewing its current policy and procedural arrangements in conjunction with the Shared Services Centre (SSC) and may involve a move to a BCM programme similar to the SSC to minimise duplication and ensure more efficient BCM arrangements. This process will be completed in 2015.

Fraud control

Safe Work Australia complies with Section 10 of the PGPA Rule and the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy by minimising the incidence of fraud through the development, implementation and regular review of the Fraud Control Plan and fraud risks. This is undertaken in the context of Safe Work Australia’s overarching Risk Management Framework

Safe Work Australia delivered fraud awareness training to all new starters in 2014–15. Safe Work Australia continued to remind staff of their responsibility for the prevention and detection of fraud against the Commonwealth. Safe Work Australia also provided regular updates and advice to staff on developments in this area to ensure knowledge remained current.

No incidences of fraud were reported during 2014–15.

Certification of fraud control measures

In accordance with Section 10 of the PGPA Rule, 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 (Cwth) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) (which requires an agency to display a plan on its website showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements). Safe Work Australia’s IPS Agency Plan is on the Safe Work Australia website.

Safe Work Australia received one Freedom of Information request in 2014–15.

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
  • the Department of Employment
  • the Department of the 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 2014–15 financial statements audit is in Part 5 of this report. Safe Work Australia was not subject to any other ANAO audits during 2014–15.

Judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals

No judicial decisions were made by courts or administrative tribunals, and no decisions were made by the Australian Information Commissioner, that affected the operations of Safe Work Australia in 2014–15.

Parliamentary committees

No adverse reports of Safe Work Australia’s operations were made in 2014–15 by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Internal accountability

To ensure internal conformance and accountability, Safe Work Australia has in place:

  • financial and human resources delegations
  • Accountable Authority Instructions, and
  • various supporting policies, procedures and guidelines.

Audit Committee

The Safe Work Australia Audit Committee operates in accordance with the requirements of the PGPA Act and PGPA Rule 17 – Audit Committee for Commonwealth entities.

The Audit Committee provides 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 at 30 June 2015 were:

  • Ms Julia Collins—Chair
  • Mr Alfred Bongi, and
  • Mr Dermot Walsh.

The Audit Committee met three times during 2014–15, as well as a September 2015 meeting at which it endorsed Safe Work Australia’s Financial Statements for 2014–15.

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

Internal audit

The internal audit programme provides assurance to the Audit Committee and the Chief Executive Officer and helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the policies and procedures of Safe Work Australia.

During the reporting period, the internal audit function was contracted to Oakton Services Pty Ltd.

Public interest disclosure

In accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cwth), Safe Work Australia has established effective and clearly articulated internal procedures for facilitating and responding to public interest disclosures. These procedures are published on the Safe Work Australia website. The agency has not received any disclosures since the introduction of the laws on 15 January 2014.

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Last modified on Wednesday 8 November 2017 [7896|64391]