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Achievements in organisational effectiveness

This was the first year of implementation of our landmark, five-year culture change program: TRANSFORM. Guided by this program, we achieved significant outcomes in organisational effectiveness in 2016–17.

TRANSFORM gives effect to our vision, articulated in the corporate plan and the Australian Strategy, and our values. It sets out a framework and initiatives to:

  • maximise productivity
  • build leadership capability
  • enhance policy and strategic capability
  • attract and retain talent
  • build a strong and resilient culture
  • effectively embrace new technologies, and
  • provide organisational and workforce flexibility.

In this first year of implementation we focused on getting the foundations of the agency right. The agency was restructured to better manage priority areas and projects, and enhance cohesion and flexibility.

This was informed and complemented by new processes to determine and monitor work priorities across the agency and strengthen the planning and performance reporting framework. Underpinning all this are a raft of measures to ensure staff are supported and developed to their full potential.

Important achievements include:

  • creating a Members’ Project and Activity Dashboard and a Project Management Office
  • launching the Safe Work Australia People Strategy 2016–2019, the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2016–2019 and the Lead and Grow Strategy 2016–2019
  • establishing the Employee Consultative Forum (ECF)
  • implementing a range of important Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) initiatives focused on workforce planning, capability development, management structures, performance management and equity and diversity
  • developing a new Communication and Engagement Framework, including development of a new staff intranet and external website
  • reshaping the corporate area to offer a better service to the agency’s executive and staff, and improving internal budget and finance management processes, and
  • reviewing and updating all corporate policies to support the Safe Work Australia Enterprise Agreement 2015–2018.

Organisational structure

The structure of the agency as at 30 June 2017.

Organisational structure of Safe Work Australia as at June 2017

The Executive leadership team

Michelle Baxter, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Michelle Baxter, Chief Executive Officer
Ms Baxter has been the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia since November 2013.
Ms Baxter brings more than 20 years of public sector experience to her positions as Member of Safe Work Australia and its subsidiary committees, a Commissioner of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, and as the Commonwealth representative on the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council. Ms Baxter has worked in many senior roles across the Australian Pubic Service (APS), including as Group Manager in the former Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Group Manager responsible for agency change with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Group Manager, COAG Taskforce with DEEWR. Ms Baxter has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the ANU. She is admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory.

Amanda Grey

Ms Amanda Grey
As Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia, Ms Grey manages the day-to-day operations of the agency. Ms Grey also provides strategic advice to the Chief Executive Officer to ensure the proper performance of Safe Work Australia.
Ms Grey’s career in the APS spans more than 25 years in various policy, corporate and senior management positions. She has extensive experience in developing national policy relating to WHS, workers’ compensation and workplace relations and has successfully represented Australia at various international forums on these topics. Ms Grey has also led the delivery of critical corporate governance services, including overseeing the development and passage of Safe Work Australia’s enabling legislation and managing the human resource, financial and strategic planning functions of the business. Ms Grey has graduate and postgraduate academic qualifications in workplace relations, human resource management and public sector management.

Amanda Johnston

Ms Amanda Johnston
Ms Johnston is Safe Work Australia’s General Counsel and the Branch Manager of the Enabling Services Branch. She is responsible for leading the delivery of the enabling services for the agency, including the in-house legal team, human resources, finance and communications.
Ms Johnston has worked for the Commonwealth for 14 years and is an employment law specialist, having led the Employment Law practice in the Office of General Counsel in the Australian Government Solicitor and worked in the Workplace Relations Legal Group in the former DEEWR. Ms Johnston has a Bachelor of Arts (major in Industrial Relations)/Law (Hons) from the University of Wollongong and is admitted to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

Angela Wallbank

Angela Wallbank
Ms Wallbank is the acting Branch Manager of the Strategic Policy Branch. Ms Wallbank is responsible for developing policy and guidance relating to workers’ compensation, and overseeing the development of WHS and workers’ compensation data and evidence. She is also responsible for reviewing and improving the model WHS Act.
Ms Wallbank has been with Safe Work Australia since April 2017. She has worked across the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Canadian governments, with a focus on policy development and implementation roles. Ms Wallbank has a combined Bachelor of Economics/Bachelor of Business from the University of Queensland and is currently completing an Executive Master of Public Administration through the Australian and New Zealand School of Government.

Hazards Branch Manager
This position was vacant as at 30 June 2017. This branch develops policy and guidance relating to various workplace hazards and high-risk industries including construction, explosives and chemicals.

Agency employees

As at 30 June 2017, the agency employed 103 ongoing employees (90.86 full time equivalent (FTE)); 99 were employed on an ongoing basis and four were employed on a non-ongoing basis under the Public Service Act 1999. Of the ongoing employees, 12 were on long-term leave and one was on a temporary transfer to an external department.

In comparison, the agency had 101 ongoing employees and five non-ongoing employees in 2015–16.

The agency continues to support flexible working arrangements; 18 per cent of employees work part time. Although this has decreased from 21 per cent in 2015–16, other forms of flexible working arrangements were taken up, including condensed working weeks, purchased leave, working from home and remote working arrangements.

No staff identify as Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The agency is located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. One employee splits their time working out of the Department of Employment’s Adelaide State Office and working from home while two employees have a permanent working from home arrangement based in regional Australia.

The average age of Safe Work Australia’s employees is 40, and 22 per cent of employees are over the age of 50.

Safe Work Australia employee age profile

Age profile (years) Number of employees Proportion (%)
of total
Less than 20 1 1
20 – 25 5 5
26 – 30 15 15
31 – 35 21 20
36 – 40 19 18
41 – 45 11 11
46 – 50 8 8
51 – 55 13 13
56 – 60 7 6
61 – 65 3 3
66 – 70 0 0
71+ 0 0

Safe Work Australia employees by classification and gender

Substantive classification Total 2016–17 Full time male Full time female Part time male Part time female Total 2015–16 Total 2014–15 Total 2013–14
Graduate – APS 3 6 2 4 0 0 1 1 0
APS 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS 4 7 0 7 0 0 6 9 3
APS 5 11 2 6 0 3 12 13 21
APS 6 25 3 16 1 5 30 25 23
EL 1 34 8 16 4 6 38 43 40
Public Affairs Officer 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Senior Government Lawyer 2 0 2 0 0 1 1 1
EL 2 11 4 7 0 0 10 16 11
Principal Government Lawyer 1 0 1 0 0 2 1 2
SES 1 2 0 2 0 0 4 2 3
SES 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Chair 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
CEO 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1
Total 103 20 63 5 15 106 113 107

Feature story - Graduate program

Our second graduate was engaged in February 2016 and successfully completed the 12-month graduate program in December 2016. Following this success, we engaged six graduates as part of the 2017 graduate program. The graduates are educated in a range of different fields and bring a diverse range of skills and knowledge to the workplace.

The graduate program exposes graduates to a broad range of work placements and development opportunities and provides them with the necessary skills to work as a valued member of Safe Work Australia and the wider APS. Graduates participate in the APSC Graduate Development Program, which gives them with the opportunity to work on a major project, establish networks with fellow graduates across the APS and participate in challenging assessment activities. We will engage up to four new graduates in late 2017.

Cassie from 2016 Graduate Program

You're joining a committed team who all come from a range of skilled professions.

Cassie, 2016 Graduate Program Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Arts

Stepanie from 2017 Graduate Program

Work health and safety is a crucial component of Australians' lives and it's an exciting space to be in.

Stephanie, 2017 Graduate Program Bachelor of Communication, Juris Doctor

Jasmine from 2017 Graduate Program

I was really interested to work in a field where legislation and policy intersect with health.

Jasmine, 2017 Graduate Program Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Health Sciences

Jon from 2017 Graduate Program

All the work we do here directly affects the health and safety of workers in Australia.

Jon, 2017 Graduate Program Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety Science

Terms and conditions of employment and remuneration

Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Safe Work Australia

The remuneration of the CEO and the Chair of Safe Work Australia is set by determinations made under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (Cth).

The Chief Executive Officer, Ms Baxter, was appointed on a full-time basis on 1 November 2015 for a further period of five years.

The Chair of Safe Work Australia, Ms Smith-Gander, was appointed on a part-time basis on 5 February 2016 for a period of three years.

Senior executive service employee’s terms and conditions of employment

Senior executive service (SES) employee terms and conditions of employment are set by way of individual determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999.

SES employees received a pay increase of two per cent on 12 January 2017, in line with the agency’s non-SES employees.

Non-SES remuneration

As at 30 June 2017, all non-SES staff were covered by the terms and conditions of the enterprise agreement.

Performance pay

Agency employees do not receive performance bonuses or performance pay. Annual performance ratings determine the increase of annual remuneration for non-SES employees within the pay point increments of the enterprise agreement.

Safe Work Australia salary ranges for non-SES staff

Classification Salary range
Graduate – APS 3 $61,841 to $64,406
APS 4 $67,267 to $72,375
APS 5 $74,295 to $79,299
APS 6 $83,456 to $91,945
EL 1 $102,583 to $114,069
Senior Government Lawyer $102,687 to $126,533
Public Affairs Officer $116,889
EL 2 $120,884 to $144,902
Principal Government Lawyer $137,863 to $148,704

Allowances and non-remuneration benefits

Over the course of 2016–17, Safe Work Australia agreed to three individual flexibility agreements with staff members on an ongoing basis to recognise the specialised skills they bring to their roles.

Allowances and non-remuneration benefits provided to non-SES employees under the enterprise agreement include:

  • incremental advancement for meeting the criteria of the Performance and Development Scheme
  • access to flexible working conditions
  • temporary performance loading for performing work at a higher classification
  • flexible remuneration and salary packaging
  • Christmas close down from 12.30pm on the last working day before Christmas day until the first working day in January
  • time off in lieu for executive level employees
  • workplace responsibility allowance
  • maternity, maternal, supporting partner, primary carer, parental, adoption and foster care leave
  • community and Indigenous Australian languages allowance
  • overtime meal allowance
  • loss, damage and indemnity allowance
  • travel allowance and motor vehicle allowances
  • relocation assistance
  • access to the Employee Assistance Program
  • support for professional and personal development including the Study Assistance Scheme, and
  • emergency duty and additional child care costs.

The enterprise agreement provides a full list of non-remuneration benefits.

Feature story - People Strategy 2016–2019

Transform banner

SWA People Strategy

The People Strategy is based on three key themes: Lead – Grow – Perform. Our investment in our people is to enable them to lead at any level, to develop and enhance their skills and capabilities and to perform at their optimal level.


Goal 1:
Develop great leaders
Two major elements of TRANSFORM are leadership and mentoring programs which are designed to enhance the leadership capability of all our staff.

  • Monthly Learn from Others Seminars - be inspired by the leadership journey of others.
  • Staff present monthly TED Talks, on a leadership or workplace issue.
  • Provide opportunities for coaching of individual staff.

Goal 2:
Shape a positive, resilient culture
The development by staff of our Agency Vision and Values, underpinned by the APS values, provide a strong foundation and guiding principles for our cultural journey.

  • Reshape the Induction Program for new starters and returning staff.
  • Implement the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and participate in the Gender Equality Network in Employment.
  • Implement the Health and Wellbeing Strategy.


Goal 3:
Attract and retain top talent
It is vital we attract and retain a diverse community of high quality staff at all levels with the relevant knowledge, skills, attitude and competencies to achieve excellence – for themselves and our agency.

  • Develop and implement a recruitment policy that attracts high performing applicants.
  • Provide competitive remuneration arrangements, flexible working conditions, studies assistance and career development support.
  • Award quarterly ‘Walk the Talk’ Awards to staff who have demonstrated our Agency Vision and Values.

Goal 4:
Enhance capability
The Agency’s learning and development framework is designed to enable all staff to realise their full potential through core skills training, mandatory corporate training, on the job training, support for study goals and professional career development.

  • Develop and implement a Leadership Program and Mentoring Program.
  • Provide opportunities through the Career Development Assistance Program (CDAP).
  • Implement the Lead and Grow Strategy. The Lead and Grow Strategy provides a foundation for the learning and development of all staff and is the cornerstone to enhancing organisational capability.


Goal 5:
Promote and reward great performance
Providing the environment, the incentives and the means to optimise individual performance is critical to achieving optimum outcomes for the Agency.

  • Implement the Performance and Development Scheme which is supported by the Performance and Development Policy linked to our Agency Vision and Values.
  • Implement a new Rewards and Recognition Scheme that encourages a focus on celebrating our achievements at an agency, Branch and individual level.
  • Conduct staff information sessions to ensure open communication.

images representing the visions and values of Transform

Capability Development

Performance and development

We continue to make improvements to performance and development through our Performance and Development Scheme. Focus areas to achieve effective performance are:

  • setting priorities, communicating them effectively and ensuring resource allocation remains consistent with these priorities
  • providing clarity about strategic goals and priorities and ensuring this is reflected in an individual’s Performance Development Agreement (PDA)
  • providing meaningful and constructive feedback to all employees on performance on a regular basis, and
  • ensuring regular conversations are held throughout the year between employees and managers.

Learning and development

The Safe Work Australia Lead and Grow Strategy 2016–2019 outlines the learning and development opportunities available for staff. The Lead and Grow Strategy is a key element of the People Strategy and focuses on the agency’s values, particularly the Excellence and People values.

The Lead and Grow Strategy categorises opportunities into three tiers—foundational, developmental and specialised. These tiers are designed to cover mandatory training, skill building (outside of formal training) and formal training. They complement each other and do not need to be completed consecutively.

Staff had access to an allocated budget for the individual learning and development opportunities that were identified as part of their PDA discussions. They also completed mandatory training in fraud awareness, risk management, WHS, and security through the agency’s online learning platform.

The agency continues to offer study assistance and professional development to all staff:

  • paid/unpaid leave to attend formal courses and conferences, and/or
  • reimbursement of reasonable costs for pre-tertiary, vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate level courses, professional memberships and/or registrations.


In 2016–17, we continued to build on the comprehensive leadership program introduced in 2015–16. Initiatives included:

  • a regular ‘Learn from others’ seminar series
  • a six-month pilot mentoring program that included formal mentor and mentee training for 20 staff
  • coaching of staff by both external coaches and three internal executive level staff with formal coaching qualifications
  • monthly leadership sessions delivered to all staff by an in-house leadership expert
  • leadership conversations for the SES with high-profile and inspirational leaders
  • TED (technology, entertainment, design) talks on various aspects of leadership for all staff
  • regular communication to staff though ‘Leadership learnings’ and ‘TRANSFORM top 4’
  • a dedicated intranet page on TRANSFORM with a forward calendar of events, and
  • external leadership programs to meet the specific needs of selected staff identified through the Performance and Development Scheme.

During 2017–18, further initiatives will be implemented including:

  • a formal mentoring program across the agency following review of the pilot program
  • funding of further coaching qualifications for selected executive level staff to enhance coaching of agency staff, and
  • development and delivery of an agency policy development course and writing course.

Career development

During 2016–17, we introduced CDAP, a program that offers staff help with professional capability development and career opportunities, goals and pathways identified through their PDAs.

Opportunities available under the program include:

  • development of an individual action plan that focuses on career goals
  • one-on-one training
  • career development workshops
  • capability and learning needs assessment to provide information on ideal work environment, strengths behaviours, stress behaviours and interests
  • temporary transfers and secondments to other APS agencies, where available
  • arrangements to support study or attend training, and
  • working with an external career transition provider for a set period of time.

Rewards and recognition

We built on our agency rewards and recognition program in 2016–17.

The CEO presented the Australia Day achievement medallions and certificates at a ceremony on 25 January 2017.

The Legal and Procurement team received the team award for being an integral part of the agency and providing advice and assistance on all legal and policy matters.

Ms Erin Kelly received the individual award for her outstanding individual contribution to the agency and willingness to take on procurement work in addition to her already busy, executive assistant role.

A new, regular 'Walk the talk' award was introduced, with 12 staff being nominated by their peers for their positive contribution to demonstrating the agency’s vision and values in their day-to-day work.

Winners of the Australia Day Achievements Medallions and Certificates
Winners of the Australia Day Achievements Medallions and Certificates

Diversity and inclusion

Safe Work Australia has long been committed to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace.

In 2016–17, we launched the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2016–2019 which sets out action plans for six diversity areas:

  • people with disability
  • Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • mature age employees
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning, and
  • gender equality.

Each action plan deals with five key areas:

  • recruitment
  • working arrangements
  • workplace culture
  • leadership, and
  • communication.

Other important initiatives undertaken during 2016–17 included:

  • continuing to be a member of the Australian Network on Disability (AND)
  • Hosting the AND Small Agencies Forum, which brings together small APS agencies to share ideas and resources to help provide employment opportunities for people with disability
  • sponsoring the 9th Annual National Conference of AND
  • signing a three-year memorandum of understanding with the APSC to fund APS Indigenous employment programs
  • committing to participate in the Jawun program run by the APSC, and
  • participating in the Commonwealth Department of Employment's gender equality network, geniE.  

Disability reporting

Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australia Public Service Commission's State of the Service Reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available on the Australian Public Services Commission website. From 2010–11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level, biannual report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. Reports can be found on the Department Social Services website.

Communication and consultation

Staff intranet

In February 2017, after extensive consultation with workgroups and individuals, Safe Work Australia redeveloped the staff intranet to function as a user-driven digital workplace. Featuring user-generated spaces on the homepage—including a newsroom, discussion space, interactive event calendar and bulletin board—the new intranet provides staff with easy access to the tools and information they need to do their jobs efficiently.

Employee Consultative Forum

The ECF was established in March 2016, following the start of the enterprise agreement. The ECF ensures the agency meets its requirements under the enterprise agreement, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the WHS Act 2011 (Cth).

The ECF is required to meet at least four times per year to discuss issues surrounding the implementation of the enterprise agreement, planned changes to employment-related policies and procedures, consultation, and discussion of WHS issues.

In 2016–17 the ECF provided feedback on a range of policies to support the enterprise agreement, APS census results and agency restructures. The ECF also trialled a new approach for record and information management for the agency.

Work health and safety

The agency is committed to providing a healthy and safe workplace for its employees so they can be and do their best. The following measures are in place to ensure employees are healthy, safe and supported at all times.

Employee support

WHS officer

The WHS officer works closely with the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) and Emergency Control Organisation to ensure a safe working environment. Annual workplace assessments are carried out to identify and address any WHS issues. This is in addition to regular reporting of incidents and near misses. The ECF reviews WHS incidents at its quarterly meetings.


The HSR and the Deputy HSR represent the health and safety interests of the agency's employees. The HSR and Deputy HSR, along with the WHS Officer, carry out biannual inspections of agency premises to identify any actual or potential health and safety concerns. The HSR works closely with the WHS Officer and the Corporate Team to identify and resolve issues as quickly as possible.

Contact officers

Employees have access to trained harassment contact officers, first aid officers, fire wardens, a dedicated equity and diversity officer and a WHS officer.

Employee Assistance Program

The agency provides employees and their families with access to the Employee Assistance Program, which is a free support service available to staff 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

Workstation assessments

The agency provides all employees with the option to have an assessment of their workstation set-up. Sit-to-stand workstations are provided for all employees and regular breaks are encouraged to minimise the risks related to sedentary work.

Early intervention and return to work support

The agency provides support for employees to ensure a smooth transition back to work or recovery from an injury or illness. In 2016–17 the agency helped a number of employees to return to work through working from home arrangements, graduated return to work and access to laptops. The agency is in the process of developing a new Rehabilitation Management System, which will be underpinned by a new Rehabilitation and Return to Work Policy.

Managing absenteeism

The agency has continued to work with employees and management to understand and improve unscheduled absence rates.
The unscheduled absence rate to March 2017 was 11.4 days per FTE which was slightly below the APS average.

Additional health and wellbeing activities

The agency is committed to the health and wellbeing of employees and recognises that investing in this area provides significant benefits to the agency.

The 2017 Health and Wellbeing Strategy includes the following initiatives and activities to promote health and wellbeing within the agency:

  • corporate rate gym memberships, pilates and yoga classes
  • recognition of awareness-raising days such as World No Tobacco Day, World Safety Day and Fatality Free Friday
  • voluntary influenza vaccinations
  • participation in Steps Australia's 10,000 Step Challenge
  • promotion of healthy eating through internal events and access to fresh fruit for all staff, and
  • annual wellbeing reimbursement for activities or equipment that help employees to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Employees were also invited to attend various health, wellbeing and safety activities during National Safe Work Month in October 2016.

WHS and workers' compensation claims

Under section 35 of the WHS Act, the agency is required to notify Comcare of any incidents arising out of the conduct of a business or undertaking that result in death, serious injury or serious illness of a person or involve a dangerous incident. No incidents were reported in the 2016–17 period.
In the 2016–17 reporting period the agency had no new workers' compensation claims lodged with Comcare.

Collaboration with other agencies

Outsourcing key functions

The agency had a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Shared Services Centre to deliver services including IT support, IT infrastructure and storage, library and mail services, payroll and personnel processing, until a machinery of government change to the Shared Services Centre was announced in October 2016. On 1 December 2016, these services were divided between the Commonwealth Department of Employment, the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training and the Commonwealth Department of Finance. The MoU arrangement with the Shared Services Centre remained in effect until 30 June 2017. The agency is negotiating new MoUs for the ongoing delivery of these services, to be finalised in 2017–18.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The agency has an MoU with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to sub-lease premises at Level 7, 2 Phillip Law Street in New Acton. The lease is for a seven-year term ending 30 June 2022, with an option to extend the term to 16 December 2027.

Corporate governance framework

Safe Work Australia's corporate governance framework ensures we provide strategic direction, achieve objectives, manage risks and use 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.

Leadership, ethics and culture

We recognise that 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.

Planning and reporting

During 2016–17, the agency substantially re-engineered its internal governance, planning and reporting processes. We established a Project Management Office and implemented a new Members' Project and Activity Dashboard.

The Project Management Office ensures a more consistent approach to project management by enforcing the policy and procedures outlined in the Policy and Procedures Manual. The dashboard provides regular updates on the performance of the agency, including information about project milestones and timeframes.

Safe Work Australia Members, the Executive Leadership Team and staff attended planning sessions on a number of occasions throughout 2016–17 to discuss future direction and priorities.

Based on these planning sessions and the annual Members' survey, the agency reviewed its corporate and operational plans. An intensive review of branch and section work plans was also undertaken as a basis for developing specific work plans.

Risk management framework

Our risk management framework helps foster and promote a culture of identifying and mitigating risks at all levels within the organisation. The risk management framework includes a:

  • Risk Management Plan
  • risk management toolkit, including templates, and
  • strategic risk assessment.

We participate in Comcover's Risk Management Benchmarking Survey each year. Outcomes from this survey are used as a guide when updating the risk management framework. The feedback received is a valuable tool used to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in risk management processes. The risk management framework was reviewed as part of the internal audit program in 2016–17 and we currently updating the framework based on the recommendations of that review.

Business continuity management

As part of the approved Safe Work Australia Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2015–17, internal auditors RSM Australia undertook a review of the existing business continuity plan, including consideration of how it links to service delivery provided under the shared and common services business model.

The objectives of this review were to:

  • assess Safe Work Australia's business continuity planning activities for accuracy and completeness, and
  • determine what assurance Safe Work Australia has regarding the delivery of information and communications technology services, including: infrastructure, applications and network
    • helpdesk and support, and
    • development.

Fraud control

Safe Work Australia complies with section 10 of the PGPA Rule and the Australian Government Fraud Control Policy by minimising the incidence of fraud through the development, implementation and regular review of its Fraud Control Plan and fraud risks. This is undertaken in the context of Safe Work Australia's overarching risk management framework.

We provide annual mandatory fraud awareness training to all staff through an internal online system called LearnHub. The agency continued to remind staff of their responsibility for the prevention and detection of fraud against the Commonwealth, both through this training and as part of the induction process for new starters.

During 2016–17, one potential fraud incident was reported. Following an initial investigation no action was taken.

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

Safe Work Australia is covered by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) and is 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. Safe Work Australia must display a plan on its website showing what information it publishes in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme. Our 'IPS agency plan' is available on our website.

Under section 11C of the FOI Act, Safe Work Australia is required to maintain an FOI disclosure log through which information that is released under the FOI Act (excluding personal information and other sensitive information) is made publically available. Our FOI disclosure log is available on our website.

Safe Work Australia received seven requests under the FOI Act in 2016–17. These requests were managed in compliance with the FOI Act.

Safe Work Australia did not receive any requests for internal review under the FOI Act during 2016–17. However, during the year we finalised one review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, with the request being withdrawn by the applicant. No applications to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal were made in 2016–17 with respect to any decision made by Safe Work Australia under the FOI Act.

Public interest disclosure

In accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth), we have established effective and clearly articulated internal procedures for facilitating and responding to public interest disclosures. These procedures were reviewed in 2016–17 and are published on our website. Safe Work Australia did not receive any disclosures in 2016–17.

Internal accountability

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

  • financial and human resource delegations
  • Accountable Authority Instructions, and
  • 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 2017 were:

  • Ms Amanda Grey, Chair
  • Mr Alfred Bongi
  • Mr Mathew Ford.

The Audit Committee met four times during 2016–17, including a September 2017 meeting at which it endorsed Safe Work Australia's 2015–16 financial statements.

A number of observers regularly attend these meetings, including Safe Work Australia's Chief Financial Officer, representatives from the internal audit provider and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).

Internal audit

The internal audit program provides assurance to the Audit Committee and the Chief Executive Officer in relation to the efficiency and effectiveness of the policies and procedures of Safe Work Australia.

The internal audit function is provided by RSM Australia Partners.

External accountability

Clear and consistent external reporting enables us to directly address the interests and concerns of other organisations. External conformance and accountability is acquitted through corporate plans, annual performance statements, annual reports, the PBS, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements and Senate Estimates. Safe Work Australia is accountable to:

  • Parliament
  • the ANAO
  • the Department of Finance
  • the Department of Employment
  • the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and
  • the APSC.

External audit

The ANAO provides external audit services for Safe Work Australia. The outcome of the 2016–17 financial statements audit is in Part 5 - Financial performance. Safe Work Australia was not subject to any other ANAO audits during 2016–17.

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 2016–17.

Parliamentary committees

No adverse reports of Safe Work Australia's operations were made in 2016–17 by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

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