Management and Accountability
We are results orientated
We are honest, professional and accountable
We are client and stakeholder focused
We are committed to improving our skills
We are diverse, trusting and respecting of each other
Report on Performance
The department is required to manage the resources entrusted to it efficiently, effectively and ethically. This report describes how we manage and account for those resources, and how we are:
We also work towards particular priorities within and across the department, and in 200405 many of these related to management and accountability in the department and the broader portfolio. Our performance against these priorities is summarised in Chapter 2 (page 26).
We are results orientated
We plan for and monitor performance at all levels of our organisation.
Departmental outcomes and output framework changed
We publish detailed plans in May each year as part of the Federal Budget papers. Our Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS):
As mentioned earlier, we revised our outcomes and outputs framework in 200405. While the framework was only published in our 200506 PBS, it forms the basis for our report in Chapters 3 and 4 (pages 27 and 109). For details of the changes and examples of our previous targets, see Appendix I (page 221).
We report to government on our financial performance, position and cash flows within ten working days of the end of each month. This report explains any significant variances from budget and also feeds into the monthly analysis of the Australian Government's finances as released by the Minister for Finance and Administration.
We also provide an annual report to the parliament about how we have used the resources we manage on its behalf (this report).
In 200405, improving the quality of our internal budgeting and performance reporting were two of our top priorities. We:
Further improvements are planned for 200506.
Planning for and reviewing results at a personal level
We require all staff to develop a personal Plan on a Page' with their manager and to assess their performance against their plan at least twice a year - Results on a Page'. This assessment focuses on recognising what has been achieved and what lessons have been learnt.
We are honest, professional and accountable
Leadership, decision making and consultation-what it means in DOTARS
While we encourage all staff to show leadership, our Secretary and deputy secretaries decide how we manage issues that relate to the department as a whole or affect more than one division.
Our Secretary also has a number of specific responsibilities. Many of these responsibilities are set out in legislation such as the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability
As outlined in Chapter 1 (page 8), two deputy secretaries support the Secretary in determining how the department can best deliver required results.
Several broadly based groups work with the Secretary and executive team on issues across our organisation. Figure 5C below illustrates the main groups in place at 30 June 2005.
Risk management focus expanded
The department's business plans for 200405 continued to recognise risks including the competency of people, processes, IT systems, and management. The effectiveness of risk management, adequacy of internal controls and compliance, and maintenance of an ethical culture were also issues that we kept under review. In addition, we:
To reduce the cost of certain risk events, the department continued to purchase general insurance from ComCover and workers' compensation cover from Comcare (page 175).
Major risks - one new risk, no change in existing risks
The department continued to disclose fiscal risks and contingent liabilities with a large potential impact in the Budget papers each year as required. None of the risks we disclosed for 200405 materialised or resolved. They related to:
In 200506 we disclosed a new risk relating to Airservices Australia in the event it experiences any financial detriment as a result of complying with government directions about airspace control services.
Protective security and fraud controls tested
In 200405 the department continued to review and upgrade its security risk assessments, policies and infrastructure to maintain the safety and security of our staff, premises and assets. Amongst other things, we:
We also continued to ensure appropriate processes and procedures were in place to prevent, detect and investigate fraud, security and other risks. Key procedures included our:
Suspected incidents were referred promptly to authorities such as the Australian Federal Police as appropriate, and specific data on fraud was provided to the Attorney-General's Department as required by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.
Internal audit restructured
In 200405 the department reviewed its internal audit arrangements in light of the ANAO better practice guide for audit committees. We restructured the audit committee from February 2005, increasing the number of independent members from one to three members and reducing the number of internal members. Details of current committee members are set out in table 5.1 below.
Internal audits continued to provide assurance to our executive team that our internal controls are effective and appropriate, and that we are implementing the recommendations of previous ANAO and internal audit reports. Issues covered in 2004-05 included
We are client and stakeholder focused
The department values the views of our clients and stakeholders. We also recognise and respect the rights of stakeholders to scrutinise our actions.
Committed to serving the Australian people through our ministers
On an average working day the department delivers more than 40 briefs, letters and other documents to its ministers and their staff.
We ask our ministers and their staff to rate the quality of the documents we prepare. In 2004-05 we were unable to maintain exceptional ratings in the face of a 20 per cent increase in the volume of briefs provided but still achieved a 94 per cent satisfaction level. To improve this result, we:
We meet with ministers' offices regularly to discuss emerging issues and provide a range of additional support services. In 2004-05, we provided four full-time departmental liaison officers to our parliamentary offices, two for Minister John Anderson, one for Minister Jim Lloyd and one for the Parliamentary Secretary, John Cobb. In support of ministers' broader portfolio responsibilities, we also supported regular meetings with other portfolio agencies.
Regional and online presence expanded to provide better service
To help us keep in contact with our clients wherever they are located, we operate a number of phone hotlines and regional offices - for details see the inside back cover of this report. In 2004-05 we continued to expand our regional presence. We:
Regional office staff now comprise more than 15 per cent of our staff, up from 12 per cent in 2003-04. This trend is expected to continue into 2005-06 and 2006-07 as our transport security audit and compliance functions expand (page 50).
We seek to meet with customers and peak bodies directly. In 2004-05 we met with over 120 international, national and regional bodies (for a full list see Appendix F, page 206). Around 500 community leaders from every region of Australia regularly share their time and local knowledge with us on a voluntary basis.
We also expanded our online presence in 2004-05, launching new websites to support the Green Vehicle Guide in August 2004 (page 78) and AusLink in July 2005 (page 61). We started a review of our main website www.dotars.gov.au and of our intranet to make information easier to find. For a complete list of the websites we host, visit www.dotars.gov.au/utilities/websites.aspx
We make all public documents available online as soon as practical after release. Our websites are mainly text-based to ensure they are accessible to people in regional areas and people with disabilities. Where information is provided in other formats, we usually offer a choice of format to ensure it is accessible to all readers.
We routinely provide publications (like the printed version of this annual report) to stakeholders including more than 40 libraries around Australia. We make information available in other languages and formats as needed (for details see Appendix A page 178).
We also continued to provide information to more than 2.8 million households in regional Australia and released an updated edition of the Australian Government Regional Information Directory in April 2005 with information on more than 650 Australian Government programmes and services (page 114).
New surveys helping us get a better handle on your views
In 2004-05 the department continued to ask its clients to rate the quality of service provided. We also introduced several new surveys, asking
The department continued to work with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to minimise the impact of such surveys on business, and registered all surveys involving 50 or more businesses on the Australian Business Surveys Register. The register is available online at Statistical Clearing House - for details of the department's surveys, search by agency.
Customer feedback is encouraged as issues arise and the department has service charters explaining how customers can provide us with feedback. In addition to an overarching departmental charter, specific charters apply to motor vehicle compliance (page 44) and to services we provide to non self-governing territories (page 128).
We are currently reviewing our charter and arrangements for client feedback.
Clients who are not satisfied with how we handled their complaint are advised to contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. In 2004-05 there was a 66.3 per cent drop in complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, and no findings of defective administration. Vehicle importation and compliance was the main issue investigated by the Ombudsman.
Our clients may also have rights of complaint to the Federal Privacy Commissioner and/or the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). In 2004-05, as in 2003-04, neither body received any complaints about our actions.
Other forms of scrutiny continue
We recognise and respect the right of stakeholders to scrutinise our actions and records. These stakeholders include:
Freedom of Information requests increased
Departmental records are made available to stakeholders as required under the FOI Act. The bulk of our activities and records relate to business rather than personal matters (for details see Appendix F page 206).
In 2004-05 there were more requests than in previous years and requests continued to be for business rather than personal information. Despite the 25 per cent increase in requests, we succeeded in resolving 74 per cent of requests within 60 days, up from 57 per cent in 2003-04.
We continued to contribute to a detailed annual report on the operation of the FOI Act. This report is published by the Attorney-General's Department (see www.ag.gov.au). A summary of this information is provided in table 5.3 (above).
In 2004-05 the department was involved in a range of matters before Australian courts and tribunals. Matters mainly related to motor vehicle imports, airport planning approvals, personal injury claims for asbestos-related disease and coronial inquests. Some of these matters are ongoing.
A major ruling was made in the matter of Westfield Management Ltd v Brisbane Airport Corporation Ltd and others. The Federal Court held that the minister's approval of the Brisbane Airport's master plan and the major development plan for an outlet centre were valid and effective. This decision has confirmed that an airport lessee may engage in non-aeronautical on-airport development within the constraints of the Airports Act 1996 and the terms of the lease.
Audit office and parliamentary scrutiny ongoing
The ANAO, parliament and other public bodies release reports on matters relating to us from time to time. Reports released on matters relating to us in 2004-05 are listed in table 5.4 below.
We respond to ANAO reports formally in writing, and the ANAO includes our response in its reports. The ANAO makes its reports available online at www.anao.gov.au
The Australian Government usually tables its response to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in the parliament. For details of the government response to a specific parliamentary inquiry visit
As well as attending specific inquiries, the department's senior executive attends Senate Estimates several times each year to answer questions about our activities. We receive questions on notice at such hearings and from individual parliamentarians throughout the year.
In 2004-05 843 questions on notice were received, up from 649 in 2003-04 (see table 5.3 above). The largest volumes of questions related to regional programmes, aviation issues and corporate services.
We are committed to improving our skills
We employ a variety of people management practices to ensure we are aware of, and have the capability to respond to, current and emerging issues. These practices go to:
More information on each of these areas follows.
Staffing needs are reviewed as part of normal business planning in the lead-up to each financial year. However, as mentioned in Chapter 2, we reviewed our plans during the year in response to changing government priorities. As at 30 June 2005:
Further changes are likely as we start to look more systematically at what we as a department can do to make better use of the people we have now, including a large group of staff nearing retirement age, and expand the department's workforce planning horizon from one year to three to five years.
For more information about our current staff profile, including the number of staff by location and by hours of work, see Appendix H (page 218).
We set our pay and conditions for employees within the government's policy parameters for agreement making. These arrangements are formalised in a certified agreement (CA) and in Australian workplace agreements (AWAs) for SES and some other specialist staff. In 200405 we:
While the pay the department offers puts us within the top 50 per cent of Australian Government agencies, as mentioned in Chapter 2, the labour market for people with the skills we need remains tight. We are working to improve our workforce capabilities over 200506 by:
We know from the staff survey that our staff stay with the department mainly because they find the work we offer interesting and a great opportunity to make a difference to the broader community. They view positively their conditions of service, which include:
a Non-ongoing staff are included in recruitment numbers but excluded from retention and separations data.
Table 5.6 Trends in nature of employment agreement with staff non-IOT staffa
Learning and development was a consistent theme in our 2004 staff survey and is something we are working to address over 200506. As at 30 June we had:
The main topics covered were working in and writing for the APS, giving and receiving feedback and contract management and procurement, with a particular focus on changes in the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (page 187).
Learning and development opportunities will be expanded over 200506 to cover a broader range of the capabilities required by the department. Our capability framework is based on the capabilities used by the Australian Public Service Commission and focuses on achieving results, cultivating productive working relationships, shaping strategic thinking, communicating with influence, exemplifying personal drive and integrity, and applying professional and technical proficiency.
Many business divisions within the department also provided business-specific training and development opportunities to their staff. For example:
Below: Road trips to Orange and Wollongong also helped Regional Services staff see and hear about the projects they have helped deliver first-hand. (Photos DOTARS)
Public honours and other recognition for departmental staff
In 200405 we were delighted to have a significant number of current and former staff receive public honours and recognition.
Departmental awards also help us recognise the efforts, strength and determination of staff. In 200405 almost 150 staff received awards as individuals and as teams, including three staff nominated by our internal Diversity and Equity Network (page 194).
Below: Some of the award winners and other faces at the department's 2005 Australia Day Awards.
Our remuneration policies also encourage discussion about and reward performance:
We are diverse, trusting and respecting of each other
We treat our clients and each other with dignity and respect. We are committed to:
Social justice and equity supported
The department aspires to communicate effectively with and serve all Australians, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities. In 200405 we continued to:
The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs continued to rate our report on access and equity for 200405 as 100 per cent compliant with the Australian Government's Charter of Service in a Culturally Diverse Society.
Workplace diversity a priority for 200506
The department respects and values the diversity of its workforce. In 200405 we continued to:
While we have received positive feedback about these measures from staff, the number of our staff from an Indigenous background remains low (see table 5.7 below). We are working to address this over 200506, for example, by:
The number of staff reporting a disability more than doubled from 13 to 27. Ninety-five per cent of staff are now volunteering their information, up from 80 per cent for 200304.
Despite the numerical improvement, the proportion of our workforce reporting a disability remains half the APS average. This is another area we are working to address over 200506.
These statistics focus on staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999 and hence do not include our IOT staff or Indigenous consulting agents in WA. It is possible that our actual workforce is more diverse
Workplace harassment being addressed
Our 2004 staff survey showed a slight decline in perceived harassment from colleagues. Perceived sexual harassment showed as three per cent, while perceived racial or ethnically-based harassment was substantially lower than in the rest of the Australian Public Service (APS).
While these results were lower than or in line with APS averages, we do not consider them acceptable and aspire to provide a harassment-free workplace. Amongst other things, we have:
In 200405 a range of occupational health and safety (OH&S) initiatives were continued under the guidance of our OH&S committee. The committee, which includes representatives from all business divisions, expanded in 200405. It now includes 16 representatives, with five regional representatives.
The 2004 staff survey confirmed that the vast majority of staff are aware of their OH&S responsibilities and consider that we protect their health and safety. To maintain these results, we developed a safety, health and wellbeing strategy for 200507 that addresses issues including harassment and emphasises early intervention. Consistent with this strategy, we also:
High numbers of staff took advantage of free health checks, seminars and other activities offered during Health Week. Sessions were fully booked and were consistently rated as excellent by staff. Some health checks, which included blood pressure and bone density testing, also alerted people to potential problems. Many staff have continued with activities such as lunchtime walks (page 25).
While OH&S claims rose in 200405, the number of new claims remained below historical norms and we achieved our best results on record for the average time off work per injury and the total time lost to incapacity (see table 5.8 below). The department's Comcare premiums remained below APS averages as a proportion of employee-related expenses.
a Excludes IOT staff from 1 July 2005, when these staff ceased to be departmental employees.