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Organsational Structure

Chief Executive Officer - Michelle Baxter

Policy and Services
Amanda Grey Branch Manager
Review and Engagement
Julia Collins Branch Manager (A/g)
Work Health and Safety
Drew Wagner Branch Manager
People and Planning Australian Strategy Codes and Guidance
Finance Implementation and Review Explosives
Data and Analysis Corporate and Legal Policy Occupational Hygiene
Policy Secretariat Plant and Licensing
Research and Evaluation    

Executive profiles

Ms Michelle Baxter - Chief Executive Officer

Ms Baxter was appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia in November 2013.

With more than 20 years of public sector experience, Ms Baxter has held related positions as:

  • Commonwealth Member, Safe Work Australia
  • Chair, Safe Work Australia’s SIG on Workers’ Compensation, and
  • Commissioner, Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.

Ms Baxter has worked in many senior roles across the Australian Public Service including as Group Manager, Safety and Entitlements with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). Other recent senior positions include Group Manager responsible for agency change with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Group Manager, COAG Taskforce with DEEWR.

Michelle is qualified in Law and Arts with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. She is admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory.

Ms Amanda Grey

Ms Amanda Grey

Ms Grey is the Branch Manager of the Policy and Services Branch. Ms Grey oversees Safe Work Australia’s research and data program and the development of national workers’ compensation policy. Ms Grey is responsible for managing financial and human resources, strategic, operational and business planning and strategic communications for the agency.

Ms Grey has extensive experience in industry policy, workplace relations and work health and safety.

Mr Drew Wagner

Mr Drew Wagner

Mr Wagner is the Branch Manager of the Work Health and Safety Branch. Mr Wagner has been involved throughout the development of the model WHS laws and continues to oversee the development of many of the model Codes of Practice and guidance material. Mr Wagner has postgraduate scientific qualifications and worked for several years in medical research before moving into public health policy.

Mr Wagner has worked in the Australian Public Service (APS) for over 20 years including working in Safe Work Australia’s predecessor organisations NOHSC and the Office of the ASCC. Mr Wagner also worked for two years as the Principal Administrator in the Environment, Health and Safety Division of the OECD in Paris.

Ms Julia Collins

Ms Julia Collins

Ms Collins is Acting Branch Manager of the Review and Engagement Branch. Her role currently includes investigating how the model WHS laws could be improved and promoting the Australian WHS Strategy. She has been closely involved in the harmonisation process including assisting with the panel who undertook the National Review into Model OHS Laws. Ms Collins subsequently worked on developing the model WHS laws.

Prior to working at Safe Work Australia and its predecessors the Office of the ASCC and NOHSC, Ms Collins worked in the regulatory field. She managed the inspectorate and the education unit at ACT WorkCover where she developed various initiatives to raise awareness of OHS, including the ACT’s “Ten Steps to Safety” program for Small Business.

Our staff

As at 30 June 2014 Safe Work Australia had 107 staff members. Of these 106 were ongoing and 1 was on a non-ongoing contract. Nine of the ongoing staff members were on long term leave and two were on temporary transfers from external departments.

All Safe Work Australia staff are located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

The table provides the staff numbers per substantive classification level by male and female as at 30 June 2014.
Substantive Classification Full time Part time Total
  Male Female Male Female  
APS 4 1 2 0 0 3
APS 5 6 9 0 6 21
APS 6 5 11 1 6 23
EL 1 16 16 3 5 40
Senior Government Lawyer 0 1 0 0 1
Public Affairs Officer 0 1 0 0 1
EL 2 2 8 0 1 11
Principle Government Lawyer 0 1 0 1 2
SES 1 2 1 0 0 3
Chair 0 0 0 1 1
Chief Executive Officer 0 1 0 0 1
Total 32 51 4 20 107

In 2013-14 Safe Work Australia had 13 employees commence with the agency and 16 cessations. Of the 16 cessations, 6 were non-ongoing employees whose contracts ended.

Safe Work Australia is committed to supporting flexible working arrangements. In 2013-14 the percentage of part time employees increased to 22 percent, up from 18 percent in 2012-13.

Staff by classification 2011-12 to 2013-14
Substantive Classification 2013-14 2012-13 2011-12
APS 4 3 5 6
APS 5 21 18 15
APS 6 23 25 22
EL 1 40 41 40
Senior Government Lawyer 1 1 0
Public Affairs Officer 1 1 1
EL 2 11 12 14
Principle Government Lawyer 2 2 0
SES 1 3 3 4
Chair 1 1 4
Chief Executive Officer 1 1 1
Total 107 110 104



Salary ranges as at 30 June 2014
Substantive Classification Salary Range $
APS 4 64 655 to 69 565
APS 5 71 410 to 76 220
APS 6 80 214 to 88 375
EL 1 98 600 to 109 640
EL2 116 190 to 139 275
Public Affairs Officer 112 350
Senior Government Lawyer 98 700 to 121 620
Principle Government Lawyer

132 510 to 142 930


Terms and conditions of employment and remuneration

Non–senior executive service remuneration

As at 30 June 2014 all Safe Work Australia non-senior executive service staff were covered by the terms and conditions of the Safe Work Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014 (Enterprise Agreement). The Enterprise Agreement nominally expired on 30 June 2014. Preparations are underway for a replacement agreement.

Senior executive remuneration

Senior Executive Service (SES) staff are covered by the Safe Work Australia Agency Determination 2012/01 (Determination). This Determination was signed and came into effect on 25 January 2012.

Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Safe Work Australia

The remuneration for the Chief Executive Officer and the Chair of Safe Work Australia is set by determinations made in accordance with the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia was appointed to the full time acting position on 2 November 2013 for a period of three months. This was extended for an additional nine months on 9 February 2014.

The Chair of Safe Work Australia was appointed to the part time position on 5 February 2013 for a period of three years.

Performance Pay

Safe Work Australia staff do not receive performance bonuses or performance pay. For non SES staff annual performance ratings determine the increase in their annual remuneration within the Enterprise Agreement pay point increments with the exception of staff members already at the top of their salary band.

Allowances and non-salary benefits
Non-SES employees
The Enterprise Agreement that nominally expired on 30 June 2014 offered a number of allowances and non-salary benefits to non-SES staff including:
School holiday Care Allowance Restrictions Allowance
Workplace Responsibility Allowance       Cadets-Books and Equipment Allowance
Community and Indigenous Australian Languages Allowance Loss, Damage and Indemnity Allowance
Annual Health Allowance Overtime Meal Allowance
Support for professional and personal development including the Study Assistance Scheme Departmental Liaison Officer Allowance
Emergency Duty and Additional Child Care Costs Flexible and part time working arrangements
Travel Allowance Motor Vehicle Allowance
Family Care Expenses when Travelling Relocation breaks
Disturbance Allowance Flu shots
Health and fitness program Lactation breaks
Access to paid leave at half pay Access to the Employee Assistance Program

Maternity, Maternal, Supporting Partner, Primary Carer, Parental, Adoption and Foster Care Leave

SES officers

SES officers are employed under the terms of a determination made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 for SES employees. The amount of remuneration received by SES officers at Safe Work Australia is determined on an individual basis by the CEO.

Performance Management

The Safe Work Australia Non-SES Performance and Development Agreement Guidelines and SES Remuneration and Performance Management Policy provide a framework to:

  • enhance productivity, accountability, leadership and learning and development through a culture of high performance
  • ensure all employees are aware of the expectations placed on them relevant to their role and classification including how these align with the outcomes of Safe Work Australia
  • ensure there is ongoing, regular, honest and constructive two-way performance feedback
  • establish a culture based on how outcomes are achieved is as important as the outcomes themselve
  • recognise career development is a responsibility of both the employee and their supervisor, and
  • provide a fair, equitable and objective framework for performance management and assessment.

Performance management allows managers and employees to establish individual performance expectations that align with Safe Work Australia’s corporate goals. All ongoing and non-ongoing employees prepare a Performance Development Agreement (PDA) at the beginning of each financial year. A dual performance rating model measures performance against the key deliverables and observable work behaviours outlined in an employee’s PDA. In addition to ongoing discussions between employees and managers, two formal points of review are conducted–the mid cycle review and the end cycle review.

Learning and Development

Safe Work Australia’s Corporate Learning and Development Plan (the L&D plan) outlines the learning and development framework. The L&D plan focuses on developing professional capability and addresses the skills and attributes needed by individuals to achieve:

  • organisational needs, and
  • the individual’s own need for further development and advancement.

The L&D plan covers a range of training and development activities delivered both externally and through in-house training options. Other options for capability development may be determined through the PDA process.

During 2013-14, the following courses were run as in-house training programs as part of the L&D plan:

Training program
Annual mandatory Agency Security Awareness training
APS Work Level Standards
Fraud awareness
Legislative training workshop
Managers’ writing workshop
Parliamentary information session
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013
Staff Information Session: 2014 Review of model WHS laws
Staff Information Session: explosives
Staff Information Session: workers’ compensation
Strategic policy skills
Stress management
Workplace mental health awareness
Writing workshop

In 2013-14 Safe Work Australia ran a pilot staff information session program. The sessions were designed as a means for staff to share information on significant projects underway; to assist improved communication and understanding of what work was being done across Safe Work Australia; and provide staff presenting at the sessions with experience developing a presentation and speaking in front of an audience. The sessions were well attended and positive feedback from the pilot program resulted in the decision to continue the sessions for the remainder of 2014.

In addition to the L&D plan, Safe Work Australia recognises staff should also have the opportunity to develop their skills. This is achieved through job rotation, attendance at seminars, conferences and workshops being run internally or through specialised facilitators and courses.

Safe Work Australia encourages relevant tertiary study that balances strategic direction with the personal and career development of its staff. Assistance is available to all staff including the opportunity to apply for approved study leave as well as leave for undertaking examinations and financial support.

Workplace Consultative Forum

The Workplace Consultative Forum (WCF) is a mechanism for staff consultation and is provided for in the Enterprise Agreement. It encourages open discussion between management and employees about workplace matters affecting Safe Work Australia and its staff.

The WCF has a minimum of 12 members comprising:

  • the Chief Executive Officer or nominee
  • two management representatives appointed by the Chief Executive Officer
  • a representative from People and Planning
  • a representative from Finance
  • the HSR
  • two elected employee representatives from each Branch in Safe Work Australia
  • a Safe Work Australia employee nominated by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and supplementary representation when requested by a majority of the WCF or by the Chief Executive Officer.

The forum meets with the following roles and objectives:

  • the implementation of the Enterprise Agreement
  • guidelines, policies and manuals
  • staffing and mobility arrangements
  • change anagement including information technology and training
  • effective use of resources
  • work health and safety issues affecting employees
  • information and records management
  • accommodation issues involving construction, building alteration or significant refurbishment
  • internal communication issues
  • social activities
  • any matter referred to it by the Chief Executive Officer, and
  • workplace matters generally but usually not matters involving individual or collective industrial disputes being dealt with by way of the dispute resolution provisions under the Enterprise Agreement or matters relating to the particular conduct of individual employees. The WCF met five times over the 2013-14 financial year.

The following policies, guidelines and templates were revised or developed and approved in 2013-14 following comments and input from the WCF members:

  • Work Commitments Map
  • Social Media Policy and Guidelines
  • New Starter Induction checklist
  • ‘Clear Desk and Clear Screen’ Principles
  • Protective Security Policy
  • Personnel Security Aftercare and Review Policy
  • Security Awareness and Training Plan
  • Information Technology Security Policy
  • Information and Communications Technology Policy
  • Security Management Plan
  • Emergency Procedures Manual, and
  • Procedures for Determining Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct and for Determining Sanction.

Communications and consultation

Safe Work Australia is committed to effective communication with staff enabling it to meet its business needs while maintaining a safe and productive workplace where all staff members are valued.

In 2013-14 staff participated in five surveys:

  • the annual APS employee census
  • new enterprise agreement pre- bargaining employee survey, and
  • three internal evaluation surveys on information sessions and training held in-house.

The surveys are used to assess staff satisfaction of our workplace, training and services. The responses allowed the Chief Executive Officer and SES officers to see areas where Safe Work Australia was doing well and where improvements could be made. Safe Work Australia plans to continue participating in and undertaking staff surveys. These surveys will either be run by the APSC, internal surveys or engaging external consultants.

Work health and safety

Safe Work Australia places a high importance on work health and safety and the creation of a safe work environment and increased staff wellbeing.

Safe Work Australia provides and maintains a safe and healthy workplace for all of its staff, contractors and visitors consistent with its duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Safe Work Australia’s Work Health and Safety Policy recognises and promotes effective and open communication and cooperation between the agency and its workers to achieve an environment that is safe, healthy and free from bullying and harassment for workers, contractors and visitors at all times.

The Work Health and Safety Officer assists the agency in complying with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This includes developing and implementing relevant policies, managing any hazard or incident reports and coordinating activities to ensure the health and safety of workers, contractors and visitors.

A number of other functions including advice and support on performance management, case management, return to work and breaches of the APS Code of Conduct are covered by an extended MOU with the former Department of Employment and Education and the Shared Services Centre.

Work Health and Safety Committee and Health and Safety Representative

The Work Health and Safety Committee (WHS Committee) was established to ensure effective consultation between management and workers in relation to health and safety.

Membership comprises of a nominee of the Chief Executive Officer, the HSR, a Harassment Contact Officer representative, a CPSU staff representative, a staff representative from each branch, and two management representatives.

The WHS Committee meets at least once every three months. It met four times in 2013-14. Key achievements of the WHS Committee include:

  • promoting less sedentary work practices in the work areas
  • redrafting the Disability Employment Plan
  • endorsing the 2014 Health and Wellbeing Activity Plan and Smoking around the Workplace Policy
  • reviewing the Workplace Behaviours Policy, and
  • promoting and supporting health and wellbeing activities within Safe Work Australia.

The HSR and a Deputy HSR represent the health and safety interests of workers. The HSR and Deputy HSR carried out a work health and safety inspection of our premises to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all workers. The HSR works with the Work Health and Safety Officer and Property Officer to have all issues identified in the inspection resolved as soon as possible.

Health and wellbeing activities

Activities undertaken in 2013–14 include:

  • regular email updates to all staff about work health and safety
  • workstation assessments
  • voluntary sit to stand workstation trial and subsequent installation
  • voluntary influenza vaccinations
  • facilitation of corporate rates for gym memberships, and
  • voluntary involvement in the health assessment program. This program attracted a 64 percent participation rate of staff and involved staff undertaking a blood test and health assessment with a health report being provided to them.

Work Health and Safety Statistics

Under section 35 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Safe Work Australia is required to notify Comcare of any incidents arising out of the conduct of business or undertaking and results in the death, serious injury or serious illness of a person or involves a dangerous incident. One incident was reported in 2013-14.

Disability Employment Plan

Safe Work Australia’s Disability Employment Plan facilitates the employment of people with disability in our workplace through the removal of barriers and provision of improved support for people with disability.

Safe Work Australia has been implementing this plan throughout 2013-14 with the WHS Committee undertaking the role of the Disability Employment Committee. To provide additional support an accessibility forum was established for staff with disability (or interested in disability matters) to discuss relevant issues related to employment at Safe Work Australia. The forum meets on a quarterly basis. A representative of the WHS Committee attends to ensure any concerns or ideas raised are reported back to the WHS Committee for consideration and appropriate action.

Safe Work Australia participates in the APSC Diversity Council and Disability Champions Network.

Agency Multicultural Plan

Safe Work Australia’s Agency Multicultural Plan (AMP) outlines the agency’s commitment to improve access and equity arrangements to government services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. The AMP was approved by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs in July 2013 and will operate until 1 July 2015.

In 2013-14 the agency made significant progress in achieving the key actions outlined in the AMP, which is published on the Safe Work Australia website. Significant progress has been made by:

  • communicating the AMP to staff to ensure they understood and were committed to the implementation of the plan
  • nominating the Director of People and Planning as the Officer to support implementation of multicultural access and equity obligations
  • inviting discussion on agency wide multicultural issues at WCF meetings
  • sharing information through the Small Agencies HR Forum on initiatives taken under the AMP, and
  • adhering to whole-of-government standards/guidelines that have incorporated multicultural access and equity considerations.

A major achievement was securing a grant from the Department of Social Services to produce Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese translations of the:

  • Managing risks to health and safety at work fact sheet
  • Essential guide to WHS for organisations that engage volunteers, and
  • Essential guide to WHS for volunteers.

In 2014-15 we will continue to implement key actions outlined in the AMP.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

In accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, the agency 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.

Rewards and recognition

Australia Day Awards

Safe Work Australia celebrated the agency’s hard work over the past 12 months by rewarding outstanding achievers with Australia Day Medallions. Australia Day Medallions are reserved for the highest level of recognition and acknowledge high achievement in day- to-day work or on a special project.

Australia Day Award recipients: From left to right: Heath Molloy, Kahren Maclean, Jane Teasey, acting CEO Amanda Grey and Wayne Creaser.

Two awards were presented at a morning tea on 23 January 2014 as part of Safe Work Australia’s Reward and Recognition Program. Wayne Creaser, retiring SES officer and one of Safe Work Australia’s longest standing staff members, and the High Risk Work Licensing team within the Plant and Licensing Section, Work Health and Safety Branch were recognised for their outstanding work performance, professionalism, commitment and dedication to their work and their contribution to the development of national and international work health and safety policy.

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