Jump to Content

Report on performance

A A A

Regional outputs and programmes

Management and Accountability

Consistent with the Australian Public Service Values, and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the department manages the resources entrusted to it efficiently, effectively and ethically.

This chapter of the annual report describes how, in accordance with our Client Service Charter, we are:

  • results oriented
  • honest, professional and accountable
  • client and stakeholder focused
  • committed to improving our skills
  • diverse, trusting and respectful of each other.

We are results oriented

We plan for and monitor performance at both the organisational and individual levels.

Departmental outcomes and outputs framework

We publish detailed plans in May each year as part of the Commonwealth budget papers. Our Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS):

  • describe the departmental outputs and administered programmes for which we will receive funding in the coming financial year
  • set the financial and other targets that will apply to each output and programme
  • detail the new policies and programmes (measures) and priorities that the Australian Government has asked us to deliver in the coming financial year
  • present our budgeted financial statements for the budget year and three out-years.

These plans are updated in the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES), which for financial year 2005-06 were published in February 2006, and where necessary, for financial year 2005-06, in the Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates Statement (PSAES), which were published in May 2006.

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 variations from budget, which are also incorporated in the monthly analysis of the Australian Government's finances 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).

Figure 5.1 shows the relationship between the department's planning and reporting frameworks.

Figure 5.1 Planning and reporting frameworks

Figure 5.1 Planning and reporting frameworks

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 through their 'Results on a Page'. This assessment focuses on recognising what has been achieved and what lessons have been learned. These documents are complemented by a personal 'Development on a Page' developed by each staff member in conjunction with their manager. We are developing a new electronic performance management system to help staff prepare their plan, results and development pages in 2006-07.

Performance management is a key element in helping achieve high-quality outcomes and this is reflected in the new DOTARS Collective Agreement 2006-2009, which was lodged with the Employment Advocate on 30 June 2006.

Continued progress on internal planning and reporting processes

During 2005-06, we improved our internal planning and reporting processes and we:

  • made significant progress on our workforce management strategy to better identify future workforce needs and address potential capability gaps and other issues
  • refined our quarterly reporting templates to better focus the discussions between business unit (division) heads and the department's senior executives on key issues and to clearly link reporting to divisional business plans
  • integrated risk management into our business planning.

Our business excellence framework (see Figure 5.2) continues to provide a strong basis for ensuring that what we do and how we do it is aligned with government outcomes.

Figure 5.2 Business excellence framework

Figure 5.2 Business excellence framework

Back to Top

We are honest, professional and accountable

Leadership, decision making and consultation

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 specific responsibilities, many of which are set out in legislation such as the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

As outlined in Chapter 2 (page 25), three deputy secretaries and a number of senior management committees support the secretary in determining how the department can best deliver specified results. An overview of the department's governance structure through the use of senior management committees is given in Chapter 2.

First year of Governance Centre operation

Reporting year 2005-06 was the first full year of operation of the Governance Centre, an area dedicated to developing and implementing sound governance arrangements in the department.

Improved risk management

In 2005-06, we substantially improved our risk management by integrating it into our business planning and reporting framework and better managing information on risk.

Integrating risk management into business planning and reporting

Through a series of workshops all departmental line areas:

  • identified the key risks threatening the achievement of their business objectives
  • ranked their risks in order of likelihood of occurrence and the severity of consequences should they eventuate
  • identified measures currently in place to manage these risks and any further mitigation action required
  • adopted a common departmental risk management vocabulary to facilitate improved consistency and communication across line areas.

This activity took place within the context of divisions' development of their 2006-07 business plans. The department's executive will monitor progress on managing the identified risks and any new risks that might arise in 2006-07 through quarterly reports against business plans.

The department recognises that further improvements to its risk management arrangements are required and will build on its achievements in 2006-07 by:

  • supporting risk identification and management at the project level by acquiring an IT-based risk assessment tool and establishing a help desk
  • reviewing its risk management policy and developing and promoting accessible staff guidance material
  • supporting line areas to review their risks quarterly.

Managing information on risk

In 2005-06, the department continued to improve its management of information on risk. It mapped and ranked risks across all business areas and recorded the results in a risk register. As a result, the department identified its key risks, which it used as the basis for developing its 2006-07 internal audit programme.

A Comcover survey of our risk management procedures confirmed the department's improvement in risk management in 2005-06. This survey noted an improvement in our ranking against other Australian Government agencies participating in the Comcover benchmarking exercise. The resultant discount on our insurance premium contributed to an overall reduction of 45 per cent in our 2006-07 insurance premium.

Major risks

In 2005-06, as required, the department continued to disclose in the budget papers fiscal risks and contingent liabilities with a large potential impact. None of the risks we disclosed for 2005-06 materialised. They related to:

  • Airservices Australia in the event it experiences any financial detriment as a result of complying with government directions about airspace control services
  • borrowings of, and indemnities issued to, the Maritime Industry Finance Company Limited
  • tripartite deeds applying to 12 leased federal airports-these provide financiers with limited step-in rights when an airport lease is terminated, to enable them to correct the circumstances that triggered termination of the lease.

In 2005-06, we disclosed two new risks relating to:

  • an indemnity issued for the Code Management Company for the Code of Practice for the Defined Interstate Rail Network
  • assumed residual liabilities of the Australian National Railways Commission.

During the year, the disclosure relating to deep vein thrombosis claims was withdrawn, because all actions relating to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority were dismissed.

Protective security and fraud control

We reviewed and upgraded security risk assessments, policies and infrastructure during 2005-06 to maintain the security of our staff, premises and assets:

  • We developed an intranet-based tool, the 'iReport', to provide a single point of access for staff to report on fraud, theft, security, occupational health and safety, and bullying and harassment incidents.
  • The Security Committee met quarterly and provided the secretary with strategic protective security advice and policy guidance. The committee ensured an integrated approach to protective security in the department, appropriate to localised risks and threats identified in the security risk assessments.
  • We reviewed and updated our Protective Security Manual and the Security Committee Charter. We also trained staff in security awareness to ensure compliance with minimal standards and changes to the Australian Government Protective Security Manual 2005.

The department had in place in 2005-06 appropriate processes and procedures to prevent, detect and investigate fraud, security and other risks. They included:

  • The Chief Executive's Instruction on fraud and the associated practical guide-these direct staff who become aware of or suspect a fraud to report the matter immediately to their section head, Internal Audit, or the Director of the Governance Centre.
  • Protective Security Policy-this directs staff who become aware of a potential or actual security issue to report it to the agency security adviser or the Chief Operating Officer
  • Whistleblowing Guidelines-these encourage staff who have evidence of fraud, waste or misconduct who wish to protect their identity to contact their section head, the Employee Services Section, or the secretary.

In 2005-06, the department commenced a review of the fraud control plan in accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy and Guidelines. This review formed an integral part of the enterprise-wide risk management activity and significantly enhanced staff awareness of fraud risks in the organisation.

Suspected fraud incidents reported through iReport were referred promptly to appropriate authorities, such as the Australian Federal Police. Specific data on fraud was provided to the Attorney-General's Department, as required by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

Internal audit programme

In 2005-06, the department's audit programme focused on fewer but larger internal audits. This provided the department's executive with the opportunity to review programme performance in a number of areas, as well as to continue with compliance reviews.

Internal audit reports assured the department's executive that our internal controls were effective and appropriate and that we were implementing the recommendations of previous Australian National Audit Office and internal audit reports. Matters covered in 2005-06 included:

  • the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme
  • the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme
  • business continuity management
  • payroll compliance and HR application systems
  • record keeping
  • credit card use.

Back to Top

We are client and stakeholder focused

We value 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 average we deliver more than 56 briefs, letters and other documents to our ministers and their staff each day. Table 5.1 shows the trend in ministerial work. Ministers and their staff rate the quality of the documents we prepare.

In 2005-06, although we were unable to maintain exceptional ratings in the face of a 37 per cent increase in the volume of briefs, we still achieved a 90 per cent satisfaction level. To improve this result, we:

  • launched two new enhancement packages for eWorks, the parliamentary and ministerial papers tracking system introduced in April 2005-this has made it much easier for us to report on the progress of individual documents and has improved the system's general usability and security
  • conducted 40 training sessions for eWorks users and assisted with 2,118 inquiries from staff through our help desk
  • delivered 13 ministerial correspondence courses to familiarise staff with ministerial writing styles
  • initiated the development of a style guide, scheduled for release during 2006-07, to improve the quality of ministerial papers and help staff write high-quality documents.

We meet with ministers' staff regularly to discuss emerging issues and provide a range of additional support services. In 2005-06, we provided three full-time departmental liaison officers to our parliamentary offices, two for Minister Warren Truss, and one for Minister Jim Lloyd. In support of ministers' broader portfolio responsibilities, we attended regular meetings with our portfolio agencies.

Table 5.1 Trends in ministerial work flows

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Letters

8,059

7,615

7,771

6,235

7,975

Meeting briefs and speeches

188

433

450

467

691

Other briefs

1,814

1,796

1,732

2,156

3,421

Satisfaction with briefs and letters (%)

98.9

97.0

97.9

94.2

90.0

Cabinet submissions made

9

9

10

11

13

Cabinet submissions commented on

144

167

114

99

156

Cabinet briefings for the minister

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

201

Enhanced online presence

During 2005-06, the department significantly enhanced its online presence by:

  • launching a new AusLink website (www.auslink.gov.au) in August 2006 to give better access to major road and rail projects funded by the Australian Government through an enhanced text and map search facility
  • making application information for the Strategic Regional Programme downloadable from the AusLink website to ensure that local governments throughout Australia can access all relevant information
  • developing a new look Regional Entry Point (www.regionalaustralia.gov.au) to provide information and links to Australian Government programmes and services relevant to people living in non-metropolitan, rural and remote Australia
  • launching a redesigned departmental website (www.dotars.gov.au) in June 2006
  • launching, in November 2005, a redesigned Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) website (www.atsb.gov.au) using the department's content management system (CMS). The CMS provides the bureau's website with a consistent structure and layout across modes, extra search capabilities and greater capacity for growth in the future. The ATSB can now directly upload reports and documents to the web, providing greater workload flexibility. The bureau regularly updates, evaluates and improves its website to provide the transport industry and the general public with a broad range of material on transport safety.
The enhanced functionality and new look and feel of the department's website, www.dotars.gov.au, allows stakeholders, customers and general users to quickly and easily browse, search, access and retrieve information about services and programmes provided by the department.

The enhanced functionality and new look and feel of the department's website, www.dotars.gov.au, allows stakeholders, customers and general users to quickly and easily browse, search, access and retrieve information about services and programmes provided by the department.

Regional presence

During 2005-06, we appointed a dedicated housing supervisor to manage the public and employee housing portfolio on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
More than 17 per cent of the department's staff are now in regional offices, up from 15 per cent in 2004-05. This trend is expected to continue into 2006-07 as our transport security audit and compliance functions expand.

Assessing the quality of our service

In 2005-06, the department continued to ask its clients to rate the quality of service provided. This included:

  • stage 2 evaluations for the Regional Partnerships and Sustainable Regions programmes
  • a follow-up survey with airline operators about the administration of the payment scheme for Airservices Australia's en route charges.

The department continued to work with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to minimise the impact of surveys on business, and registered all surveys involving 50 or more businesses on the Australian Business Surveys Register. The register is available online at the Statistical Clearing House. For details of the department's surveys, search by agency.

Customer feedback is encouraged as issues arise. In December 2005, the department released an updated Client Service Charter, which can be found on our website at www.dotars.gov.au/department/dotars/charter.aspx. The charter reflects our commitment to providing our clients with a high level of service, and explains how customers can provide us with feedback. In addition to the departmental charter, specific charters apply to motor vehicle compliance and to services we provide to non-self governing territories.

Internal complaints procedures

The department's revised Client Service Charter invites our clients to give us feedback on our performance in meeting our service commitments, including complaints if they are not satisfied with our service. The charter encourages our clients to resolve their complaints with the line areas they have been dealing with, but they can lodge their complaints centrally with the department by telephone (1-800-075-001), email (Clientservice@dotars.gov.au) or mail (Director, Governance Centre, Department of Transport and Regional Services, GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601).

In 2005-06, the department established new internal procedures to deal speedily, effectively and fairly with any complaints it receives. All six complaints received during 2005-06 were satisfactorily resolved.

Complaints to external bodies

The department advises clients who are not satisfied with how we have handled their complaints to contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Complaints can also be lodged directly with the ombudsman's office. Although there were 14 per cent more complaints about the department to the ombudsman in 2005-06 than in 2004-05, this was still well below the number of complaints to the ombudsman in the previous two years. The ombudsman made no findings of defective administration in 2005-06. Vehicle importation and the aviation security identification card were the main issues investigated by the ombudsman.

Our clients may also have rights of complaint to the Federal Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). In 2005-06, HREOC received two complaints about the department. One complaint was about the accessibility of our website, and the other, from an ex-employee of the department, alleged discrimination and harassment during the period of employment. The Privacy Commissioner received no complaints about the department. Table 5.2 gives trend information for external complaints and scrutiny.

Other forms of scrutiny

We recognise and respect the right of stakeholders to scrutinise our actions and records. These stakeholders include:

  • individuals or entities who apply for access to specific records under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act)
  • courts and tribunals
  • the Auditor-General and parliament.

Table 5.2 Trends in external complaints and scrutiny

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Complaints recorded by the Commonwealth Ombudsman

Complaints received

40

50

104

35

40

Finding of defective administration

4

7

3

-

-

Formal reports to the minister under the Ombudsman Act 1976

-

-

-

-

-

Complaints recorded by other external bodies

Complaints to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

not reported

not reported

-

-

2

Complaints to the Privacy Commissioner

not reported

-

-

-

-

Freedom of information (FOI) requests

Volume of FOI requests handled

Requests on hand at 1 July

A

15

20

9

15

13

New requests received

B

83

53

68

69

74

Requests withdrawn

C

25

21

24

21

38

Requests on hand at 30 June

D

20

9

15

13

11

Total FOI requests resolved (A + B - C - D)

53

43

38

50

38

Timeliness of responses to FOI requestsa

Resolved in under 30 days

14

12

9

10

15

Resolved within 31-60 days

31

14

13

27

13

Resolved within 61-90 days

6

11

8

8

5

Resolved in more than 90 days

2

6

8

5

5

Total FOI requests resolved

53

43

38

50

38

a These statistics cannot be compared with the deadlines set in the Freedom of Information Act 1982 as the Act allows for extensions of time to allow for consultation with third parties, negotiation of fees and other issues.

Freedom of Information requests

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.

In 2005-06, new FOI requests were 7 per cent higher than in 2004-05. The requests continued to be for business rather than personal information. Despite the increase in requests, we resolved 74 per cent of requests within 60 days.

We continued to contribute to the detailed whole-of-government 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 5.2.

Courts and tribunals

In 2005-06, 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, aviation security identity cards, Canberra bushfires, debt recovery and coronial inquests. Some of these matters are ongoing. There were no significant decisions made during the financial year relating to the operations of the department.

Legal services expenditure

Table 5.3 is a statement of legal services expenditure by the department for the 2005-06 financial year, published in compliance with paragraph 11.1(ba) of the Legal Services Directions 2005. All amounts are GST exclusive.

Table 5.3 Legal services expenditure 2005-06

Agency's total legal services expenditure

$4,460,236

Agency's total external legal services expenditure

$3,141,976

External expenditure on solicitors

$2,959,880

External expenditure on counsel

$182,096

  • Number of male counsel briefed

10

  • Value of briefs to male counsel

$168,637

  • Number of female counsel briefed

4

  • Value of briefs to female counsel

$13,459

Agency's total internal legal services expenditure

$1,318,260

Audit office and parliamentary scrutiny

Reports on matters relating to the department are released by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), parliament and other public bodies from time to time. Reports released on matters relating to us in 2005-06 are listed in Table 5.4.

The department formally responds to ANAO reports in writing, and the ANAO includes our responses in its reports. The ANAO makes its reports available online at www.anao.gov.au.

The Australian Government usually tables its responses to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in the parliament. For details of the government responses to specific parliamentary inquiries visit www.aph.gov.au/committee.

Table 5.4 External inquiries involving the department in 2005-06

Author/type

Report details

ANAO reports (www.anao.gov.au)

Financial audits

Audits of financial statements of Australian Government entities for the period ended 30 June 2005: Report No. 21 of 2005-06.

Interim phase of the audit of financial statements of general government sector entities for the year ending 30 June 2006: Report No. 48 of 2005-06

Other audits

Post sale management of privatised rail business contractual rights obligations: Report No. 4 of 2005-06

Senate Order for departmental and agency contracts (calendar year 2004 compliance): Report No. 11 of 2005-06

Australia's national counter-terrorism coordination arrangements-evaluation and link to continuous improvement: Report No. 12 of 2005-06

Cross portfolio audit of green office procurement: Report No. 22 of 2005-06

IT security management: Report No. 23 of 2005-06

Reporting of expenditure on consultants: Report No. 27 of 2005-06

Management of net appropriation agreements: Report No. 28 of 2005-06

Roads to recovery: Report No. 31 of 2005-06

Parliamentary inquiries (www.aph.gov.au)

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA)

Inquiry into developments in aviation security since the committee's June 2004 Report 400: Review of aviation security in Australia, interim report tabled 7 December 2005

Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories

Norfolk Island financial sustainability: the challenge-sink or swim (Inquiry into governance on Norfolk Island Part 2), tabled 5 December 2005

Current and future governance arrangements for the Indian Ocean Territories, tabled 13 June 2006

Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee

Provisions of the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Amendment (Security Plans and Other Measures) Bill 2006, referred for inquiry and report on 11 May 2006

Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee

Inquiry into the transparency and accountability of Commonwealth public funding and expenditure, referred by the Senate for inquiry on 20 June 2006

Our senior executives, in addition to attending specific inquiries, also attend Senate Estimates hearings three times each year to answer questions about the department's activities. We receive questions on notice at such hearings and from individual parliamentarians throughout the year. In 2005-06, we received 1,032 Senate Estimates questions on notice, compared to 591 in 2004-05. In addition we received 222 parliamentary questions on notice for the year (see Table 5.5).

The largest volumes of parliamentary questions on notice related to aviation and airports, corporate issues and AusLink. We aim to respond to questions on notice within the number of days set in the standing orders of each House. Standing orders mandate 60 days for questions from the House of Representatives and 30 days for the Senate. Senate Estimates questions on notice must be answered within 60 days from the last day of hearings.

Table 5.5 Parliamentary and Senate Estimates questions on notice

Questions on notice

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Parliamentary questions

269

253

252

222

Questions tabled at Senate Estimates

451

436

591

1,032

Total questions received

720

689

843

1,254

Back to Top

We are committed to improving our skills

The department places a high priority on its people and over the past year has focused on further improving its people management practices to ensure our people have the necessary capability for delivering the outcomes of government. Our emphasis this year has been on:

  • a renewed focus on people management
  • a new collective agreement
  • an expanded graduate programme
  • a learning and development programme focusing on business needs.

A renewed focus on people management

In September 2005 the department established the People Management Committee. The committee is a senior executive and cross-divisional forum that:

  • considers and advises the secretary, through the executive management team, on current and emerging people management issues, policies and approaches
  • provides a conduit for advice to and from divisions about the department's people management issues and approaches
  • fosters relationships between divisions to achieve a cohesive, shared approach to improving people management in the department.

In 2005-06, the committee focused on:

  • organisational and individual performance management and recognition
  • workforce management
  • recruitment
  • diversity
  • retention
  • leadership development.

In 2006-07, the committee will undertake further work on the issues above in a four-part framework designed to support staff in relation to their management, recruitment, development and retention.

A new collective agreement

We set our pay and conditions for employees within the government's policy guidelines for agreement making. These arrangements are formalised in a collective agreement and in Australian workplace agreements (AWAs) for Senior Executive Service (SES) staff and some other staff.

On 30 June 2006, the department lodged a new collective agreement with the Office of the Employment Advocate. The agreement outlines the salary and conditions for the majority of the department's staff. Other departmental staff have their conditions outlined in AWAs.

The DOTARS Collective Agreement 2006-2009 introduced a number of initiatives, including:

  • paid parental leave for new parents
  • adoption leave
  • an allowance for transport security inspectors and vehicle safety standards inspectors
  • an option to purchase and cash out annual leave.

The agreement also provided for a continuation of our policies to allow flexibility in the workplace, including:

  • part-time work
  • half-pay annual leave
  • home-based work
  • flextime and flexible working hours for senior staff.

Major productivity improvements to be driven through the new agreement include changes to performance management arrangements through the life of the agreement, and more efficient recruitment processes. A ratings-based performance management system will be available online to replace the previous paper-based performance management arrangements. An online recruitment system will improve support for managers and will help to streamline recruitment processes.

The agreement will be in place for three years until 30 June 2009.

An expanded graduate programme

The department continues to recognise the value of a strong graduate intake and development programme. In 2006 we recruited 37 graduates for positions across all business divisions. In line with previous years, the 2006 intake was drawn from a wide variety of academic disciplines. This reflects the need for specialist knowledge and qualifications in, for example, legal or engineering roles, as well as an appreciation of critical thinking, which underpins most tertiary courses of study. Our graduate group is culturally diverse, and our graduates have been recruited from all over Australia.

The department provides learning and development activities for graduates throughout their first year in the department. These activities range from on-the-job experiences (through a work rotation through three different business divisions) to formal training courses covering skills such as writing effectively for ministers. Graduates typically have the opportunity to work in the ministers' offices for a short period, which highlights the critical links between the work of the department and the broader operation of the Australian Government. A key component of the graduate year is an industry tour, a three-day visit to a region. The graduate group organises the tour and the graduates meet stakeholders and representatives from industry and related organisations. The 2005 graduates visited Adelaide and the surrounding area in August 2005, with key visits to see airport and port operations, major road projects and regional grants recipients.

2005 graduates at Adelaide Airport during the  Industry Tour (Photo DOTARS)

2005 graduates at Adelaide Airport during the Industry Tour (Photo DOTARS)

The department expects to recruit another 37 graduates in 2007, including a number of Indigenous graduates. An electronic system that enables faster application processing has greatly improved the recruitment process. We continue to use staff from across the department as assessors, providing them with the appropriate training and support to do this job.

Learning and development focusing on business needs

Learning and development activities during 2005-06 were more closely aligned with divisional business plans. The number and range of formal learning and development activities were expanded, which resulted in a 281 per cent increase in the number of employees attending departmental training in 2005-06 compared with 2004-05.

The department expanded its induction programme. The programme now provides a comprehensive introduction to the department and members of the senior executive actively support it. New staff are given an opportunity to meet and talk with the secretary and deputy secretaries first hand-a feature of the programme highly valued by all participants.

Particular emphasis was placed on ensuring that training activities provided by the department were of a high quality and focused on key skills development in areas including:

  • writing for the Australian Public Service (APS) (ministerial correspondence, Question Time briefs, writing for ministers)
  • contract management
  • procurement (with particular emphasis on understanding and operating within the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines)
  • APS legislative requirements and working in the APS.

In addition to our core training activities we also delivered training nationally on:

  • giving and receiving feedback
  • Indigenous cultural awareness.

A workshop on the topic 'Working ethically and professionally in the APS' was developed and piloted and will be delivered nationally from early 2006-07.

In the new financial year, we will focus on developing the department's leadership capability, improving our processes for rewards and recognition and developing more streamlined recruitment processes.

Staff have access to a 'one-stop' internal training calendar that provides information on courses for the ensuing six months. The department's capability framework is based on the capabilities used by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), which focuses on achieving results, cultivating productive working relationships, shaping strategic thinking, communicating with influence, exemplifying personal drive and integrity, and applying technical and professional proficiency.

Business-specific training

The ATSB, as a registered training organisation, issued 10 Transport Safety Investigation Diplomas to investigators in 2005-06, with a further 25 in progress. The bureau's training focus has recently turned to formulating an advanced training and development strategy designed to support investigation functions in a complex or high-risk environment, such as a major public transport accident.

Office of Transport Security specialists at the conclusion of an audit course designed for Maritime Offshore Security Act 2003/International Ship and Port Facility Security Code auditors. This was in preparation for the midterm International Ship Security Certificate audits currently being conducted on Australian Regulated Ships. (Photo DOTARS)

Office of Transport Security specialists at the conclusion of an audit course designed for Maritime Offshore Security Act 2003/International Ship and Port Facility Security Code auditors. This was in preparation for the midterm International Ship Security Certificate audits currently being conducted on Australian Regulated Ships. (Photo DOTARS)

The Office of Transport Security also worked collaboratively with a Canberra-based industry training provider to tailor the nationally recognised Diploma of Security and Risk Management for our transportation-focused needs.

Public honours and other recognition for departmental staff

In 2005-06, a number of staff received public honours and recognition.

Paul Magarey received an Austroads Achievement Award for his contribution to cooperative work in Austroads on cycling-related issues, particularly as chair of the Australian Bicycle Council.

Approximately 126 staff received Australia Day awards as individuals and as teams, including six staff nominated by our internal diversity and equity network.

Our remuneration policies also encourage rewarding performance:

  • SES remuneration includes a pay-at-risk component and performance pay for exceptional performance. In 2005-06, 42 SES staff received a total of $301,400 in pay-at-risk and performance pay, with four SES staff receiving the maximum amount available
  • non-SES staff who are on AWAs are also eligible for performance pay. In 2005-06, some 18 non-SES staff on AWAs received a total of $127,020 in performance pay
  • other staff who perform at a satisfactory level for 12 months progress to the next salary point that applies to their substantive position until they reach the top salary point payable under the collective agreement. More than 56 per cent of staff were at the top salary point at 30 June 2005.

Staffing statistics

As at 30 June 2006:

  • we had 1,287 staff, an increase of 11 per cent over June 2005
  • the Office of Transport Security continued to be the single largest division of the department, with staff numbers increasing from 240 to 306
  • our graduate intake increased from 31 to 37.

Table 5.6 shows trends in staffing statistics.

In 2005-06 we offered more AWAs in order to attract or retain staff with particular skills. Table 5.7 gives statistics for types of employment agreements.
For more information about our current staff profile, including the number of staff by location and by hours of work, (see Appendix H).

Table 5.6 Trends in staff recruitment and retention-non-Indian Ocean Territories staff

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Recruitmenta

Graduates recruited externally

18

18

15

31

37

Other external recruits

292

126

134

427

369

Total external recruits

310

144

149

458

406

Retentionb

Retention rate (%)

89.50

87.50

81.00

85.80

83.55

Separations of ongoing staff c

Transfers/promotions to another APS agency

20

46

68

58

91

Resignations and retirements

55

60

71

61

71

Retrenchmentsd

5

20

7

4

9

Othere

3

4

28

0

4

Total separations

83

130

174

123

175

a Non-ongoing staff are included in recruitment numbers but excluded from retention and separations data.
b Retention statistics refer to operative staff only. Separations of inoperative staff, who have been on leave without pay for more than three months, are not included in this calculation.
c Separations data for 2002-03 is as published by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC). Our 2003-04 statistics as shown here may vary from APSC data for the same period due to differences in data definitions as well as timing issues.
d Retrenchments include not only redundancies but also dismissals, of which there was one in 2005-06. Reasons for dismissal may include unsatisfactory conduct, unsatisfactory performance and non-compliance with conditions of employment.
e Other reasons for separation may include invalidity, death and termination.

Table 5.7 Trends in nature of employment agreement with staff-non-Indian Ocean Territories staff

As at 30 June

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Australian workplace agreement (AWA)

SES (all)

41

41

38

35

40

Non-SES

40

40

68

97

104

Certified agreement

SES

0

0

0

0

0

Non-SES

889

840

795

1,022

1,141

Total staff

970

921

901

1,154

1,285

Back to Top

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
  • workplace diversity
  • a harassment-free workplace
  • occupational health and safety.

Social justice and equity supported

The department is committed to effectively communicating with and serving all Australians, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities. In 2004-05 we continued to:

  • develop and implement policies and programmes in consultation with a diverse range of people and groups at the national and local level
  • use a variety of media to inform people about new policies, programmes and regulations
  • take into account the diverse needs of consumers in purchasing and providing services, and in seeking feedback from them.

A report on the implementation of the Australian Government's Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society is at Appendix A. A report on implementation of the Commonwealth Disability Strategy in 2005-06 is at Appendix D.

Workplace diversity an ongoing priority

The department respects and values the diversity of its workforce. In 2005-06 we:

  • revised our workforce diversity strategy
  • developed an Indigenous employment strategy and a mature age employment strategy to encourage the development and retention of Indigenous employees and those of mature age
  • offered flexible working conditions to help attract and retain staff
  • provided financial support to our internal diversity and equity network for activities to help embed the needs of diverse groups into the fabric of the department.

There was a substantial improvement in the numbers of Indigenous employees in the department in 2005-06 (see Table 5.8). Particular attention was given to the implementation of a broader Indigenous employment strategy through which Indigenous cadets, trainees and graduates were recruited. An Indigenous Professional Development Network was also established.

Did you know?

In 2005-06 the department's diversity and equity network continued its efforts to broaden the department's understanding of the needs of diverse groups. The diversity and equity network was restructured to reflect departmental changes and to integrate its work with the responsibilities of the People and Planning Branch.

The network:

  • helped organise the celebration of NAIDOC Week in July 2005
  • arranged a celebration of International Women's Day in March 2006
  • assessed nominations in March 2006 for individual staff members' contributions to enhancing workplace culture, with awards subsequently being presented to six people.

In 2006-07, the network will focus on the areas of women, Indigenous issues and disabilities in the workplace as it continues its role of raising awareness of diversity issues within the department.

Table 5.8 Trends in workforce diversity-non-Indian Ocean Territories staff

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Women

467

439

409

527

584

People from non-English speaking backgrounds

81

75

112

119

156

People with a disability

18

22

13

21

23

Indigenous people

2

3

3

4

11a

All employees

996

945

901

1,154

1,285

Proportion of staff volunteering diversity information (%)

75

75

78

95

96

Notes:
These statistics focus on staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999 and hence do not include our Indian Ocean Territories staff. It is possible that our actual workforce is more diverse than indicated-4 per cent of APS staff chose not to volunteer their personal information for 2005-06.

a The department's Indigenous trainees, during their trainee year, are technically Department of Employment and Workplace Relations employees who have been placed with the department and are not included in these figures.

Addressing workplace harassment

The department has an active network of workplace harassment contact officers with 19 located in Canberra and four in regional offices, supported by two senior executive sponsors. The network meets quarterly, with regional representatives taking part via telephone conference meetings.

During the year, the department introduced a new online incident reporting system, iReport (page 174). The system enables employees, contractors and consultants to report confidentially and without fear of reprisal on actual or perceived incidents of workplace harassment and bullying. The facility has been well accepted by staff.

The reported incidence of bullying and harassment continued to be low during 2005-06.

Occupational health and safety initiatives and results

Various occupational health and safety (OH&S) initiatives were implemented or continued to run in 2005-06, under the guidance of the OH&S Committee. The committee meets quarterly and includes representatives from all business divisions, with 20 based in Canberra and seven in regional offices.

The highlight of the year was the department's Health Week, held during the first week in May. Many staff took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the week's activities, which included health checks, a range of healthy lifestyle seminars and voluntary influenza shots. In some instances, the health checks alerted staff to potential problems. This year a concerted effort was applied to ensuring regional staff had the same opportunity to have the health checks and influenza injections as Canberra-based staff. As a marketing initiative, eight employees volunteered to participate in a weight-loss programme to work toward becoming the 'DOTARS Biggest Loser'.

As part of an ongoing cyclical process, we reviewed and updated OH&S policies and guidelines and introduced some new measures. New measures include the development of a strategy to address the potential workplace OH&S challenges confronting departmental staff employed as airport environment officers at many capital city and regional airports and initial work toward implementing an OH&S e-learning programme. The latter initiative will provide a systemic management approach to the delivery of health and safety training to staff and contractors across the department.

While the number of new compensation claims accepted by Comcare increased during 2005-06 (see Table 5.9), a high proportion of these claims were for incidents that took place outside the workplace, such as trips, slips and falls and motor vehicle accidents. The total weeks lost from new claims through incapacity also increased sharply, largely due to one claim for 30.9 weeks, which represented 67 per cent of the total time lost. The department's Comcare premium remained below the APS average as a proportion of employee-related expenses.

Table 5.9 Workplace health and safety trends

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Proactive measures

Workplace assessments

> 60

> 60

> 60

>150

>250

Staff health assessments

351

254

144

200

329

Staff influenza vaccinations

331

350

236

341

331

Wellbeing indicators

Staff using employee assistance (%)

6.2

5.7

8.4

8.2

7.3

Rate of unscheduled absence per FTE employee (excludes IOT staffa) (days)

8.1

8.7

10.4

8.95

9.74

Incident managementb

New claims accepted by Comcare

20

20

9

18

24

Total weeks lost from new claims through incapacity c

220.12

171.59

28.86

22.65

61.33

Average time off work per injury (weeks)

11

8.6

3.2

1.25

2.31

Special or serious incident requiring Comcare investigation

1

-

-

-

-

Directions or notices issued to the department under the OH&S Act

-

-

-

-

-

FTE = full-time equivalent IOT = Indian Ocean Territories
a Indian Ocean Territories programmes are funded as administered programmes and their staff are not employees of the department.
b These figures are as advised by Comcare.
c Figures for previous years have been updated to reflect outstanding determinations from Comcare that have since been resolved.