Contact Daryl Quinlivan
A/g First Assistant Secretary
Phone (02) 6274 7657
Corporate Division provides services to the Ministers, Parliamentary Secretary and the Department and assists in delivering business outputs and administered items.
The Division leads the development and implementation of contemporary financial, business and personnel initiatives. The range of services includes people and organisation development, financial, business and information management, accommodation, communications, coordination, internal audit activities, and legal, contracting and parliamentary services.
Year 2000 compliance
The Department comprehensively checked and tested its computer systems during the year and experienced no major problems on 1 January 2000. The only concern related to an anomaly which arose in the Occurrence Analysis and Safety Investigation System. Despite thorough compliance testing a problem of minor inconvenience occurred at the changeover to 2000 with searching difficulties and date translation anomalies evident. A patch was applied shortly after the problem was identified, and the system returned to normal and full functionality.
During the year the Department commenced relocating the majority of its Canberra-based staff to 111 Alinga Street, Canberra City.
For the first time in many years most Canberra-based staff will be accommodated in a single building. This will enhance cohesiveness between divisions and realise productivity gains.
The new accommodation is being refurbished floor by floor. The move has proved an enormous logistical exercise with divisions moving progressively as the refurbishment is completed. The fitout includes new carpet, offices, meeting rooms, a modern colour scheme and new ergonomic workstations for all staff.
After an extensive planning, preparation and consultation period, staff first moved into the refurbished floors in May 2000. Staged moves to the new premises will continue to December 2000.
As part of the relocation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will move in early 2001 to a refurbished building at 15 Mort Street, Canberra City formerly occupied by other areas of the Department.
Implementation of the new tax system
After extensive preparation during the year, the Department was able to meet all compliance goals prior to the introduction of the New Tax System by 1 July 2000. The cost of achieving compliance with the provisions of the Goods and Services Tax and the changes to the Fringe Benefits Tax was around $2 million.
The Department will make its first tax return to the Australian Taxation Office under the new arrangements in August 2000.
Information technology and telecommunications outsourcing
The Department's Information Technology and Telecommunications (IT&T) operations were transferred on 1 July 1999 to Advantra Pty Ltd as the Departments external IT&T service provider. A small team remains in-house to handle policy, security, strategy, management of out-of-scope services, advice on IT&T issues and management of the Advantra contract.
The Department experienced initial problems with network instability following the commencement of the Advantra contract. There was significant staff dissatisfaction. These initial problems were addressed by the service provider and Departmental staff working together. The Department exercised its contract rights to impose service penalties against Advantra for the periods of disruption.
Greater long-term gains are likely to be evident with Advantra rolling-out a new Standard Operating Environment during 2000. It will see the decommissioning of the existing Banyan Vines network and the commissioning of an industry standard network environment.
Accrual budget and management reporting
The Department integrated the Governments outcomes, outputs and accrual financial management reforms in an internal management framework. The process included preparation of divisional business planning to support accountability requirements and the establishment of a new general ledger and accounting framework to support proper account recording. This highly complex task was carried out very effectively by the Chief Finance Officer and his team and divisional planning groups. The Department also introduced monthly financial monitoring and analysis within and external to the Department.
Human resource management
Active human resource management is a key characteristic and major strength of the Department. Key achievements included confirmation, following an audit, of the Departments Investors in People accreditation, development of a new certified agreement, implementation of the Public Service Act 1999, the issue of a new Secretarys Statement of Skills, establishing a Results through People taskforce, conducting a staff survey (which received a 96 per cent response rate), and improved human resource management reporting. These activities are further detailed in Part 3 Management and Accountability of the report.
Market-testing corporate services
In November 1999 the Government decided that all its agencies must market-test relevant activities and services, starting with corporate services. The main objective is to improve performance in service delivery. A Performance Improvement in Corporate Services taskforce has been established, and KLA Australia has been engaged to provide initial advice and analysis in the area of benchmarking and costing.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications, Transport and Microeconomic Reform prepared two related reports on transport in Australia: Planning not Patching: An Inquiry into Federal Road Funding (October 1997), and Tracking Australia: An Inquiry into the Role of Rail in the National Transport Network (July 1998). The reports argue that a more strategic approach is needed to transport planning and resolving transport development priorities, and recommend that the Commonwealth assume a leadership role and consult widely in developing an integrated strategic plan for national transport networks. There have been similar calls from other quarters (including the 1999 Smorgon report, Revitalising Rail).
The Department established a small Transport Review Group in 1998 to consider the focus of transport policy at the strategic level. The Group, with the support of all divisions, prepared a package of material on the theme transport directions over the period to 2010. The final product is expected to be finalised and released during 200001.
Portfolio Budget Statement activities
Australian Transport Council (ATC) Secretariat
The ATC was established in June 1993, subsuming the functions of the former Australian Transport Advisory Council and Ministerial Council for Road Transport. ATC comprises Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand ministers responsible for transport, roads, and marine and ports issues.
Download Performance Tables [PDF: 15 KB] as Adobe Acrobat PDF document.
Document description: 2-5 Output 1.1 Policy advice and Ministerial services.