Appendix A : Commonwealth Disability Strategy performance reporting
DOTARS began implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy this year. Through this strategy, we aim to contribute to the Commonwealth Government's desired outcome: ‘to fully include people with disabilities in all aspects of community life’.
Divisions identified which roles outlined in the strategy were relevant to the work they perform—that is employer, policy adviser, regulator, provider or purchaser. For Divisions that perform a number of roles, it was agreed that they would use available data to report on their primary role, or the role that has the greatest impact on the lives of people with a disability, with the aim of improving data collection and progressively implementing the strategy across all roles.
Based on their current performance levels, Divisions will formulate goals and actions for 2001–02 to improve access to policies, programs and services for people with a disability.
Policy Adviser Role
To ensure that public announcements of new, revised or proposed policy and program initiatives are readily available in accessible formats for people with disabilities, Divisions followed standard disability-friendly DOTARS formats for putting electronically accessible information on the web.
The Aviation Division encouraged airports and airlines to consider their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and to participate in modal groups being established to further promote compliance. These activities were pursued through the National Advisory Facilitation Committee.
In terms of making publicly available information on regulations and quasi-regulations available in disability-friendly formats on the Internet, Airports Division actively pursued opportunities to identify and address electronic information requirements in the following areas: administration of curfews, administration of airport environment officers and airport buildings, controllers, ownership and control of airports, protection of airspace, parking infringement notice scheme and master plans and noise amelioration programs.
To date, regulatory compliance reporting has involved providing details in the performance reporting part of the annual report, which is posted on the Internet in accessible formats appropriate for disabled users.
All Divisions followed standard DOTARS formats for purchasing specifications. To date, Divisions have not received any request for tender documentation to be provided in more accessible formats from a person identifying as having a disability.
DOTARS purchases a number of goods and services from Commonwealth, State, Territory and local government agencies, as well as private and public organisations, individuals and community groups. Some of these agencies/organisations are subject to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
Currently DOTARS formats for purchasing specifications and contract requirements for the purchase of goods and services, as well as standard form consultancy agreements, are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
Specifications for the purchase of goods and services used by the Territories Office, Perth, in providing services to the Indian Ocean Territories, are checked for compliance with Commonwealth laws, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, by the Australian Government Solicitor.
Performance reporting against the purchase contract specifications requested in accessible formats for people with disabilities has been limited to providing the details of contracts in the annual report, which is also provided on the Department's website. No data was collected on the time taken to provide accessible information.
Mechanisms are in place to ensure concerns raised about provider's performance are handled in accordance with the Department's Client Service Charter or the Client Service Charters issued by the Indian Ocean Territories and Jervis Bay Territory Administrations, where relevant. Clients had access to internal and external complaints mechanisms as part of the process.
The Department's employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and specifically refer to it. For example, the Recruitment Guidelines were reviewed during 2000–01 and include special considerations for people with disabilities. The Workplace Diversity Program includes a provision for modifications to the work environment, under the principles of reasonable adjustment, to accommodate people with identified disabilities. People with identified disabilities are provided with the equipment and furniture necessary to do their jobs. The Leadership Program and Respecting Your Colleagues (DOTARS Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Guidelines) both raise awareness of the Act and its requirements. There were no complaints or grievances made by people with disabilities in relation to employment practices.
As part of the Department's online strategy, recruitment information was posted on the Internet in a timely fashion and in formats appropriate for disabled users. No requests were received within the year for specific accessible formatted information. In addition, the Department's recruiters and managers are provided with information on reasonable adjustment and apply the principle of reasonable adjustment on a case by case basis.
Employees with disabilities attending the Department's training and development programs, which are mainly provided externally, indicate what arrangements are needed to meet their requirements. Both the Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Contact Officer Training and the Workplace Diversity Group meetings address disability issues. Furthermore, the development of the new Workplace Diversity Program has included involvement of, and consultation with, people with disabilities.
There are in place complaint/grievance mechanisms to address concerns raised by employees. DOTARS is very conscious of the need to address emerging problems so that they do not proceed to the grievance stage. However, all officers have access to external mechanisms such as the Employee Assistance Program and the Merit Protection & Review Agency if matters cannot be resolved internally. No complaints/grievances involving disability issues have been recorded during 2000–01.