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Report on performance


Management and accountability

The Department efficiently, effectively and ethically manages the resources entrusted to it, consistent with the Australian Public Service (APS) Values, the Public Service Act 1999, the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and other relevant legislation.

This chapter describes how, in accordance with the Department's Client Service Charter (available online at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/about/charter.aspx), we are:

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

Chapter 6 should be read in conjunction with appendices A, D, E and F, which respectively report on the Department's implementation of:

  • the Australian Government's Access and Equity strategy;
  • the Commonwealth Disability Strategy;
  • ecologically sustainable development principles as set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; and
  • the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

We are results oriented

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

Departmental outcomes and outputs framework

The Department publishes detailed plans in May as part of the Commonwealth budget papers. The Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS):

  • describe the departmental outputs and administered programs for which the Department will receive funding in the coming financial year;
  • set the financial and other targets that will apply to each output and program;
  • detail the new policies and programs (measures) and priorities that the Australian Government has asked the Department to deliver in the coming financial year; and
  • present the Department's 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 2007-08 were published in February 2008, and in the Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates Statements (PSAES), which for financial year 2007-08 were published in May 2008.

Within 10 working days of the end of each month, the Department reports to government on its financial performance, position and cash flows through the Department of Finance and Deregulation's online Monthly Reporting Analytical Review. This report explains any significant variations from budgets, which are also incorporated in the monthly analysis of the Australian Government's finances released by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation.

Figure 6.1 shows the relationship between the Department's planning and reporting frameworks.

Figure 6.1 Planning and reporting framework

Figure 6.1	Planning and reporting framework

Individual performance management is a key element in helping to achieve high-quality outcomes; this is reflected in the Department's collective agreement for 2006-09. The Department's individual performance management arrangements are discussed in more detail later in this chapter.

Updated external performance reporting

Following the change in government and the issuing of the Administrative Arrangements Order of 3 December 2007, the Department transferred responsibility for services to territories and natural disaster relief functions and associated administered programs to the Attorney-General's Department, and gained responsibility for major projects facilitation from the former Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. The Department also assumed responsibility for the new role of infrastructure planning and coordination. The Department was restructured in March 2008 to reflect the changes, and its revised outcome and output structure was published in the 2008-09 PBS.

As part of a whole of government activity, the Department reviewed the performance planning information that it publishes in its PBS. As a consequence, the 2008-09 PBS contained more focused external performance indicators together with a text description of the output that each indicator supports. In addition, the 2008-09 PBS included an overall strategic direction statement for the Department along with a strategy for each outcome.

This annual report reflects the new outcome and output structure while reporting against the 2007-08 PBS performance indicators. The 2008-09 annual report will report against the performance indicators published in the 2008-09 PBS.

Continued progress on internal planning and reporting processes

The Department's Business Excellence Framework (Figure 6.2) continues to provide a strong basis for ensuring that what we do and how we do it are aligned with government outcomes.

Internal planning involves the development of an annual business plan for each of the Department's nine business divisions, including its two enabling business divisions (Corporate Services and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics), the Governance Centre and the Office of the Inspector of Transport Security.

Internal reporting occurs through formal quarterly review meetings between senior staff of each business division and the Department's senior executives. These meetings are underpinned by an assessment of each business division's performance over the past quarter against performance indicators articulated in divisional business plans.

During 2007-08, internal planning and reporting processes were improved through:

  • the use of an improved electronic reporting template to further assist business divisions to prepare for their quarterly reviews; and
  • the inclusion in the 2008-09 business plans of the applicable performance information (output description and key performance indicators) from the 2008-09 PBS.

Figure 6.2 Business Excellence Framework

Figure 6.2	Business Excellence Framework

We are honest, professional and accountable

Leadership, decision making and consultation

The leadership structure of the Department is summarised in Chapter 2 (see Figure 2.4).

The Secretary of the Department has specific responsibilities set out in legislation, including those described in the Public Service Act 1999 and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. The Secretary is also responsible for ensuring the Department is able to deliver the outcomes of:

  • assisting the Government to provide, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure across industry sectors;
  • fostering an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system; and
  • assisting regions and local government to develop and manage their futures.

The Department's nine business divisions, the Office of the Inspector of Transport Security and the Office of the Infrastructure Coordinator, are responsible for delivering various aspects of the above outcomes. Each of the Department's three Deputy Secretaries is responsible for a number of business divisions. Where an issue relates to the Department as a whole or affects more than one business division, the Secretary, the Deputy Secretaries and the Chief Operating Officer share responsibility for it.

As discussed in Chapter 2, 'About Us', the Deputy Secretaries, the Chief Operating Officer and several senior management committees support the Secretary in determining how the Department can best deliver specified results. Chapter 2 also provides an overview of the Department's governance structure.

Governance highlights

The Department is dedicated to developing and managing arrangements that support and provide assurance of the responsible, effective and efficient use of its powers and resources.

Governance frameworks support the accountability obligations of the Department and include:

  • a program of internal audit reviews;
  • an enterprise-wide approach to risk management,
  • financial management policies including Chief Executive's Instructions on the handling of public money and property,
  • formal decision-making arrangements, a suite of governance committees; and
  • mechanisms for handling requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, complaints and scrutiny of the Department's actions.

In 2007-08, the Department focused on: responding to machinery-of-government changes including a review of the delegations framework workshops to identify strategic risks following a review of portfolio outcomes; assessing and analysing the risks associated with compliance with the financial management and accountability regulatory framework; and developing a risk-based internal audit program.

The Department's delegations management system, i-Delegate, which was established to support decision making in the Department, successfully went live in July 2007.

An achievement of note was the recognition of the Department's Governance Centre in the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) publication Building better governance. The APSC published the document in October 2007 as part of its series on contemporary government challenges.

The high profile that the Governance Centre has developed since its inception has brought governance issues to the attention of departmental employees, and created a much greater understanding by employees of their responsibilities as departmental and APS employees.

The establishment of the centre has focused departmental resources and interest on governance and created an area with clear responsibility for driving cultural change.

Australian Public Service Commission, Building better governance, page 53.

Enterprise-wide risk management

In 2006-07, the Department began to develop and implement an enterprise-wide risk management framework. In 2007-08, it continued to strengthen its risk management processes, building on the success of the previous year's initiative. In the reporting period, the Department:

  • facilitated strategic risk assessment workshops with the Department's executive directors to ensure that the Department's risks were updated following the change in government;
  • conducted risk assessment workshops with all nine business divisions in the Department, to ensure that divisional risks are identified and mitigated; and
  • developed a departmental risk profile, which formed the basis of its 2008-09 internal audit work plan.

Disclosure of major risks

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 disclosed for 2007-08 materialised. They related to:

  • compensation for Airservices Australia in the event it experiences any financial detriment as a result of complying with government directions about airspace control services;
  • indemnities for Maritime Industry Finance Company Limited board members;
  • 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;
  • an indemnity issued to Code Management Company against any loss or expense that occurred prior to the transfer of ownership from the Commonwealth relating to the correct use or application of the Code of Practice for the Defined Interstate Rail Network; and
  • assumed residual liabilities of the Australian National Railways Commission.

Protective security and fraud control

In 2007-08, the Department undertook an audit of physical security risk management planning, to provide reasonable assurance to the Executive of the approach taken. The audit found that, given the Department's relative risk profile, its approach on the whole was at better practice level.

In accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, the Department has a departmental Fraud Control Plan which outlines the Department's commitment to effective fraud management and control by identifying fraud control measures, defining responsibilities for their implementation and outlining the process to be followed in the event of alleged fraud. It also sets out the procedures in place to prevent, detect, investigate and report on fraud.

Internal audit program

The 2007-08 internal audit work plan applied 56 per cent of available audit resources on compliance-related activity, 39 per cent on performance aspects and 5 per cent on administration/management.

Following the implementation of the enterprise risk management framework, the work plan was designed to mitigate the high risks identified through the risk assessment process.

Audits were undertaken of the following:

  • compliance with the financial management and accountability regulatory framework;
  • compliance with corporate credit card policies;
  • security management;
  • Office of Transport Security regulatory compliance and performance;
  • Chief Executive's Instructions;
  • administration of airport curfew legislation;
  • travel card policy; and
  • compliance with motor vehicle standards legislation.

Financial statements audit

Each year the Department's financial statements are required to be audited by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), which reports on the results of the audit to parliament and thereby provides independent assurance on financial reporting, administration and accountability.

This year the Department successfully implemented its financial statements preparation plan, and received an unqualified audit opinion from the ANAO on 1 August 2008. This achievement was recognised by the ANAO in its closing audit report for the Department's 2007-08 financial statements, which noted that 'significant effort has been applied by the Department to enhance its financial reporting processes'.

Staff from the Financial Services Branch

Staff from the Financial Services Branch (Photo DITRDLG)

Ethical decision making

In 2007-08, the Department again delivered the training program Working Ethically and Professionally in the APS, which is specifically aimed at building capability in ethical decision making.

The program, which is compulsory for all staff, features case studies and activities that are underpinned by the APS Values and Code of Conduct and relevant legislation.

In addition, the Department implemented the APSC's APS Induction module online as a mandatory module for all new starters. The module provides specific guidance on the APS Values and Code of Conduct in the context of working with government.

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.

Services to ministers

The Department provides a range of support services to parliamentary offices, including three full-time departmental liaison officers, two for the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and one for the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia.

In support of the Minister's broader portfolio responsibilities, the Department participated in regular meetings with other portfolio agencies in 2007-08. The Department provided assistance to the Minister through guidance and advice during the election caretaker period. The Corporate Services business division provided assistance with the establishment of new parliamentary and electorate offices throughout Australia, including new parliamentary staff. A comprehensive ministerial briefing was prepared and delivered to the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary following the change of government.

In 2007-08, the Department delivered, on average, more than 211 briefs, letters and other documents to the Minister each week.

Throughout the year the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services area, in cooperation with the Information Services Branch, designed and implemented the following systems using the SharePoint facility:

  • a comprehensive system for possible parliamentary questions;
  • a database for Senate estimates committee questions on notice and briefings; and
  • a database for ministerial briefings following the swearing-in of the new government.

Regional and overseas representation

Approximately 18 per cent of the Department's staff were located in regional offices during 2007-08, with transport security audit and compliance functions being the majority of the Department's regional presence. In addition, small numbers of departmental staff were located overseas, in Canada, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States.

Figure 6.3 shows how the Department's staff members were distributed across Australia at 30 June 2008.

Figure 6.3 Distribution of departmental staff at 30 June 2008

Figure 6.3	Distribution of departmental staff at 30 June 2008


In terms of improving the Department's strategic communications work, there was a particular focus on embedding department-wide best practice. This included raising awareness of, and educating staff about, procedures and sources of advice to ensure quality public information and interactions with stakeholders. This effort strengthened the consistency and coordination of messaging in the public arena - for example, with media responses and issues management - and improved the timeliness of providing information.

In October 2007, two departmental communication campaigns won major national excellence awards at the Public Relations Institute of Australia Golden Target Awards.

The campaign for the introduction of new aviation regulations on liquids, aerosols and gels won the Government Campaigns category, and the campaign for the introduction of the Maritime Security Identification Card won the Highly Commended Award in the same category. These campaigns played a key role in the successful introduction of two critical transport security initiatives.

This recognition was significant given the calibre and number of other major state and federal government campaign entries competing for the awards. It also highlighted the benefit of departmental staff collaborating to deliver quality business and communication outcomes.

The Department effectively managed its portfolio communication and media work during the caretaker and machinery-of-government change periods. The Department ensured access to, and accuracy of, information in the public arena over this time. By using its strategic communications framework, and through close consultation with central agencies, it was able to demonstrate best practice in terms of observing the APS caretaker guidelines as well as responding to the needs of the new government and the portfolio Minister.

Records management

During 2007-08, the Department began transition arrangements to bring the storage of physical files and records from leased storage to new secure facilities located in the Department's storage warehouse. This process is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

The management of departmental records continues to be undertaken through contracted services; all records management operations are now conducted on the Department's premises rather than off-site. In addition, in 2007-08 the Department upgraded its records management computer system, TRIM, facilitating our ongoing move to electronic record keeping.

Client feedback and external scrutiny

The Department is committed to providing its clients with a high level of service and welcomes feedback on its results. The Department's Client Service Charter sets out its service standards and explains how clients can provide feedback or lodge a complaint if they are not satisfied with the service they have received. The Client Service Charter is available on the Department's website at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/about/charter.aspx.

A specific service charter for the motor vehicle compliance services that the Department provides to the public can also be found online at www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/vehicle_regulation/bulletin/importing_vehicles/general/ServiceCharter.aspx.

Complaints made through external bodies

Clients can also make a complaint about the Department to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Department appreciates having an opportunity to resolve clients' concerns before they contact the Ombudsman. Details about the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and how the office can be contacted are available online at www.ombudsman.gov.au.

In 2007-08, the Ombudsman received 35 approaches about the Department, representing a 15 per cent decrease on the result for the previous year. The Ombudsman's Office elected to investigate six of the matters raised. Delays and refusals of approval were the main issues raised by the Ombudsman's Office.

Clients also have rights of complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). In 2007-08, the Privacy Commissioner did not record any complaints about the Department. One complaint was lodged and resolved with HREOC in 2007-08.

Table 6.1 gives trend information for external complaints and scrutiny (see page 227).

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Complaints recorded by the Commonwealth Ombudsman
Complaints received 104 35 53 41 35
Finding of defective administration 3 0 0 0 1
Formal reports to the Minister under the Ombudsman Act 1976 0 0 0 0 0
Complaints recorded by other external bodies
Complaints to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission 0 0 2 0 1
Complaints to the Privacy Commissioner 0 0 0 0 0

Other forms of scrutiny

The Department recognises and respects the rights other parties have to scrutinise its actions and records, including:

  • people and organisations seeking to access specific documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act);
  • courts and tribunals;
  • the Auditor-General; and
  • the Parliament of Australia.

Freedom of information requests

The FOI Act gives members of the Australian community a general right of access to documents held by the Department and its ministers. The majority of departmental activities and records relate to business rather than personal matters. Details on the records we hold, how to make an FOI request, the functions and decision-making powers of the Department and our arrangements for outside participation are provided at Appendix F.

In summary, 34 FOI requests were received in 2007-08, representing a slight decrease in number compared to the previous year. Requests continued to be for access to documents concerning business rather than personal information. Appendix F provides more information on the trends in FOI requests to the Department.

Details regarding the operation of the FOI Act are reported in detail in a whole-of-government annual report, published by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and available online at www.pmc.gov.au/foi/annual_reports.cfm.

Courts and tribunals

A significant matter concluded during the year was R v Gulf Air Pty Ltd, in which Gulf Air was prosecuted under the Sydney Airport Curfew Act 1995 for two breaches of the curfew at Sydney Airport. In July 2007, the matter was set down for sentencing by the New South Wales Local Court after Gulf Air entered guilty pleas. The decision, handed down on 15 August 2007, imposed a total fine of $167,500 with a penalty of $160,000 for one of the breaches and $7,500 for the other.

Another significant matter decided in July 2007 was Elbe Shipping SA v Giant Marine Shipping SA [2007] 159 FCR 518. This matter arose in the context of a subpoena that had been served on the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), seeking information which was 'restricted information' within the definitions of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (the TSI Act). Section 60 of the TSI Act imposes limitations on the disclosure of 'restricted information' as defined in the Act.

The applicants challenged the validity of section 60 of the TSI Act, specifically subsections 60(2) and 60(8), on the basis that these provisions are beyond constitutional power. The Federal Court held that section 60 is within constitutional power. The applicants sought leave to appeal against the decision. However, the appeal proceedings were subsequently discontinued.

Legal services expenditure

Table 6.2 is a statement of legal services expenditure by the Department for the 2007-08 financial year, published in accordance with paragraph 11.1(ba) of the Attorney General's Legal Services Directions 2005.

Table 6.2 Legal services expenditure

Reportable item 2007-08 result
Agency's total legal services expenditure $5,360,242
Agency's total external legal services expenditure $3,785,493
External expenditure on solicitors $3,654,303
External expenditure on counsel $131,190
Number of male counsel briefed 7
Value of briefs to male counsel $94,799
Number of female counsel briefed 4
Value of briefs to female counsel $36,391
Agency's total internal legal services expenditure $1,574,749

Audit office and parliamentary scrutiny

Reports on matters relating to the Department are released by the ANAO, parliament or other public bodies from time to time.

The Department formally responds to ANAO reports in writing, and the ANAO includes the Department's responses in its reports. The ANAO makes its reports available online at www.anao.gov.au. Reports released by the ANAO in 2007-08 relating to the Department are listed in Table 6.3.

The Australian Government tables its responses to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in the parliament. Reports released in 2007-08 relating to the Department are listed in Table 6.3. Details of the government responses to specific parliamentary inquiries are available online at www.aph.gov.au/committee/index.htm.

Table 6.3 External inquiries involving the Department in 2007-08

Type/author Report details
ANAO reports
Financial audits Audits of the financial statements of Australian Government entities for the period ended 30 June 2007: Report 18 of 2007-08.
Interim phase of the audit of financial statements of general government sector agencies for the year ending 30 June 2008: Report 44 of 2007-08.
Other audits The Senate order for departmental and agency contracts (calendar year 2006 compliance): Report 7 of 2007-08.
Performance audit of the Regional Partnerships Programme: Report 14 of 2007-08.
Administration of grants to the Australian Rail Track Corporation: Report 22 of 2007-08.
Parliamentary inquiries
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services Inquiry into the integration of regional rail and road networks and their interface with ports, tabled 13 August 2007.
Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Australia's trade with Mexico and the region, tabled 12 September 2007.
Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Kingdom of Tonga relating to air services, done at Neiafu, Tonga, on 23 August 2001, tabled 12 March 2008.
Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Aviation Legislation Amendment (2007 Measures No.1) Bill 2007, tabled 7 August 2007.

Senior Executive Service (SES) staff of the Department, in addition to attending specific parliamentary inquiries, attend Senate estimates committee hearings to answer questions about the Department's activities. In 2007-08, a total of 366 Senate estimates questions on notice were received, a decrease compared to 573 in 2006-07, due to supplementary budget estimates hearings being suspended because of the caretaker period.

The Department received 71 questions on notice in 2007-08, a decrease compared to 532 in the previous year. The scale of the decrease was due to the election break. A total of 58 Senate questions and 66 House of Representatives questions lapsed following the change of government. Table 6.4 provides a summary of trends in questions on notice.

Table 6.4 Trends in parliamentary questions on notice

Questions on notice 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Questions tabled in the House of Representatives or the Senate 253 252 222 532 71
Questions from the Senate estimates committee hearings 436 591 1,032 573 366
Total questions received 689 843 1,254 1,105 437

We are committed to improving our skills

The Department places a high priority on its people, and has renewed its focus on people management to ensure that it has the necessary capability to deliver outcomes for government. The emphasis in 2007-08 was on:

  • the Human Resource Strategy for 2007 to 2010;
  • learning and development;
  • the graduate development program;
  • recruitment and selection capability;
  • the performance management culture;
  • exit surveys; and
  • flexible working arrangements.

Human Resource Strategy

The Department seeks to be regarded as a public sector employer that is professional, has integrity and offers a rewarding place to work. The Human Resource Strategy for 2007 to 2010 acknowledges that people are critical to helping the organisation to achieve its goals. It also outlines strategies to underpin the development of a program of people management initiatives around four elements: recruit, retain, manage and develop.

The strategy, which was implemented in April 2007, was developed in response to the capability needs and recruitment and retention issues identified through the ongoing process of workforce management and analysis of the Department's current and future workforce requirements.

During 2007-08, the strategy was reviewed and the Department's progress was measured against the people management perform

nce indicators identified in the strategy. The review highlighted the ongoing need for well-managed human resource systems, frameworks and information to support people management in the Department.
A key component of the strategy is retention strategies that focus on the ongoing development of individual capabilities, including through the Department's leadership program. This program includes opportunities to participate in 360-degree feedback, peer workshops and executive coaching programs to increase leadership capability and grow talent within the organisation.

Learning and development

The Department's Learning and Development Program includes a range of staff development activities driven by development needs identified through the Department's individual performance management system, departmental business priorities and the broader public service direction. It is further informed through executive forums and learning activity evaluation.

The Learning and Development Program is reviewed annually to ensure a continued alignment of training activities with business, individual and APS priorities.

A nationally accredited procurement program was introduced in 2007-08 to support an increased focus on these practices across the Department.

The study assistance provisions were reviewed and enhanced to support attraction and retention strategies by providing greater guidance, flexibility and accountability for managers and staff.

Management capability and accountability

To ensure all managers understand their management accountabilities, the Department introduced the 'Accountability - A Road Map for Leaders and Managers' workshop (Refer Case Study: 'Improving accountability within the department'). All managers are required to attend this half-day workshop, which explains the senior executives' expectations of managers within the organisation. The workshop has been designed to provide a peer forum to discuss management and leadership issues and identify the resources and references that managers may use to meet their people, planning and process responsibilities.

To assist officers to prepare high-quality parliamentary papers, the Department:

  • conducted 29 training sessions for eWorks (ministerial correspondence tracking system) users;
  • delivered 10 Writing for Ministers courses; and
  • delivered nine Working with Ministerial Offices sessions through induction programs.

Division-specific training

The Local Government and Regional Development business division provided specific training to improve delivery of the Regional Partnerships program. This training related to amendments to the program procedures manual, undertaken in response to the recommendations of an ANAO performance audit of the program. The training was focused on:

  • project assessment;
  • the identification and assessment of project risks; and
  • funding agreement management.

As a registered training organisation, the ATSB awarded Transport Safety Investigation Diplomas to six staff members in 2007-08; a further 14 staff members are studying for the diploma.

In terms of the ATSB's ongoing commitment to staff professional development and maintenance of industry awareness, this financial year presented many productive and worthwhile opportunities. These included:

  • participation in trade-specific and broader industry-related short courses;
  • attendance at industry seminars;
  • maintenance of specialist qualifications; and
  • new and continued relevant tertiary pursuits.

As a part of its continuous learning objectives, the ATSB recently reviewed several of its internally produced training courses, including Accident Investigation Fundamentals, Human Factors, and Basic and Advanced Occupational Health and Safety. These courses now present the very latest subject matter and are more closely aligned to transport safety investigator learning objectives.

The Office of Transport Security (OTS) conducted or arranged for specific training, including:

  • OTS induction and protective security awareness training;
  • legislative training;
  • specialised occupational health and safety training; and
  • lead auditor training.

The Infrastructure Investment business division worked with a training provider to develop a workshop on delivering internal and external presentations. The aim of the workshop was to enhance existing skills in presenting clearly and confidently using a range of methods and tools. The pilot presentation for the division's employees was very successful; subsequently, the workshop was offered to all departmental employees.

Several new staff members in the Infrastructure and Surface Transport Policy business division undertook a maritime industry familiarisation course to equip themselves with knowledge of domestic and international shipping and how it is organised to facilitate trade. The course covered topics such as port ownership and management, international maritime logistics, international conventions and the regulatory regime, ship chartering and agency operations.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics provided Mapinfo software training for all its employees. Mapinfo is a desktop mapping application that allows the user to present data in a visual, geographic manner.

LEADS - Leadership Excellence through Action, Development and Seminars

LEADS is a comprehensive strategy for building a strong, focused and effective leadership capability within the Department. The strategy is aligned with best practice, delivering organisational outcomes by providing a wide variety of development opportunities that cater for individual learning styles, capabilities, experiences, work programs and career aspirations.

The core elements of the leadership development strategy are:

  • action - support for executive coaching;
  • development - formal structured training initiatives including the Department's Focus on Results leadership program; and
  • seminars - monthly seminars presented by a range of leaders from industry, the APS and academic institutions.

By the end of 2008, the second year of the strategy, 80 per cent of senior and executive level staff will have participated in the Focus on Results program and more than 1,000 staff will have attended a LEADS seminar.

In early 2008, after a year of the strategy being in place, an assessment of the impact demonstrated a clear improvement in leadership performance across all areas in the Department.

Graduate Development Program

In January 2008, 30 new graduates commenced working for the Department, in a range of positions across all business divisions.

In line with previous years, the 2008 intake was drawn from a variety of academic disciplines, reflecting the Department's need for specialist skills and qualifications in, for example, legal and engineering roles, as well as general analytical skills and a capacity for critical thinking.

The 10-month, formal learning and development program was supplemented with on-the-job experience facilitated by rotations through three different business divisions.

In 2007-08, the graduate group organised the annual industry tour, and met with stakeholders and representatives from Brisbane Airport, Australian Customs, the Port of Brisbane, and Kennedy's Eco-sustainable Timber Project. The tour helped them appreciate the challenges involved in delivering programs to regions.

Graduates from the Department's Graduate Development Program helping to promote the Department at the ACT Tertiary to Work 2008 Careers Fair

Graduates from the Department's Graduate Development Program helping to promote the Department at the ACT Tertiary to Work 2008 Careers Fair (Photo: DITRDLG)

Recruitment and selection strategies

During 2007-08, the Department continued to streamline recruitment practices and strategies to increase the effectiveness of recruiting, by:

  • implementing an online recruitment system;
  • developing a new recruitment handbook that provides an interactive roadmap for recruitment, a project planning tool and easy-to-understand guides and examples of the recruitment process; and
  • upgrading its recruitment and selection capability training program.

Performance management culture

Individual performance management framework

The Department's performance management framework continued to provide an effective means for managers and employees to share and develop a common understanding of, and agree on, the deliverables and performance levels required by each employee.

All employees develop a personal 'Plan on a Page' with their managers and assess their performance against that plan at least twice a year through their 'Results on a Page'. The assessment focuses on recognising what has been achieved and what lessons have been learned, and is complemented by the personal 'Development on a Page', which identifies individual capability needs and how capabilities will be developed.

The Department also reviewed the provision of performance management information to ensure ease of access for employees and managers. Performance management information and advice is available to all employees through the Department's intranet.

During 2007-08, the Department's electronic performance management system, ePoP, was simplified to better assist employees to prepare their plan, results and development pages. The ePoP system provides a tool to support the performance management framework, particularly through linking it to business objectives identified in divisional business plans. Formal training on the framework, on how to give and receive feedback, and on how to use feedback to grow performance was available to all employees and managers.

Reward and recognition for individual and team contributions

The Department continued to implement its framework for rewarding and recognising the contributions made by individuals and teams. The framework includes a department-wide approach to reward and recognition, including formal award ceremonies to complement and extend the informal reward and recognition arrangements that are in place in each business division within the Department.

The two formal departmental awards, the Australia Day Achievement Awards and the Awards for Excellence, highlight and celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams that contribute to meeting the Department's business objectives.

In August 2007, the Department celebrated the Awards for Excellence; it awarded nine team awards and six individual awards.

Australia Day Achievement Awards 2008 recognised the contribution of two team and three individual award recipients.

Staff from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics receiving their award from the Secretary

Staff from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics receiving their award from the Secretary (Photo: DITRDLG)

Investor in People

The Department has been accredited as an Investor in People (IiP) since April 1999. The Department is currently accredited until the end of 2008. The IiP accreditation confirms the Department's commitment to achieving excellence in business outcomes through employee development and engagement. The Department will undertake an audit in 2008 to enable it to continue IiP accreditation.

Flexible working arrangements

The Department values the contribution of its employees, and recognises its responsibility to provide a safe and supportive work environment that enables employees to balance work and personal commitments. In particular, the Department provides generous leave entitlements and flexible working arrangements. These include access to adoption leave, consistent with paid maternity leave arrangements in the APS, as well as an additional two weeks parental leave for new parents (including those who are not the primary care provider). The Department also supports its employees through provisions for employees to work from home or to work on a part-time basis.

In line with government policy, since February 2008 the Department has provided for conditions of employment to be determined through its collective agreement for 2006-09, including conditions determined under the flexibility clause in the agreement.

People-focused committees

The People Management Committee, a high-level committee that includes an SES representative from each business division, met six times during 2007-08.

The committee provided advice to the Senior Executive about the strategic directions for people management in the Department. The committee continued to play a major role in guiding the development of people management strategies by, for example, giving support and advice in relation to the review of recruitment, including graduate recruitment; leadership development; and ways of increasing the effectiveness of the delivery of learning and development programs for employees.

The Departmental Consultative Committee is chaired by a Deputy Secretary and includes management representatives and employee representatives from across business divisions, as well as Community and Public Sector Union and Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance representatives. The committee met four times in 2007-08 and worked to address issues identified during the implementation of the Department's collective agreement for 2006-09.

Remuneration policies

The Department's remuneration policies encourage and reward high performance.

  • SES remuneration includes performance pay for exceptional performance. In 2007-08, performance payments totalling $514,967 were made to 64 SES staff.
  • Some non-SES staff employed under Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) were also eligible for performance pay. In 2007-08, three non-SES staff on AWAs received a total of $18,253 in performance pay.
  • Non-SES staff covered by the collective agreement progress to the next salary point that applies to their substantive position until they reach the top salary point payable, provided they have performed at a satisfactory level for 12 months. More than 57 per cent of all staff were at the top salary point at 30 June 2008.

The nature and amount of remuneration for SES staff is determined through a process of negotiation with successful candidates for vacancies with the final remuneration package being approved by the Secretary. Whilst applying the Department's SES Remuneration Policy, each case is determined on its merits taking into account the demands of the position and the skills and experience of the candidate.

Staffing statistics

At 30 June 2008:

  • the Department employed 1,247 staff, a decrease of 3 per cent since 30 June 2007;
  • the OTS continued to be the single largest business division of the Department, with 339 staff (an increase from 325 in June 2007); and
  • the Department's graduate intake decreased from 31 to 30 in 2008.

Table 6.5 shows trends in staffing statistics.

Table 6.5 Trends in staff recruitment and retention at 30 June, 2003-04 to 2007-08

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Graduates recruited externally 15 31 37 31 30
Other external recruits 134 427 369 309 311
Total external recruits 149 458 406 340 341
Retention rate (%) 81.00 85.80 83.55 80.95 77.95
Separations of ongoing staffc
Transfers/promotions to another APS agency 68 58 91 127 164d
Resignations and retirements 71 61 71 106 157
Retrenchmentse 7 4 9 10 3
Otherf 28 0 4 6 4
Total separations 174 123 175 249 328

a Non-ongoing staff are included in recruitment numbers but are 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 2003-04 statistics as shown here may vary from Australian Public Service Commission data for the same period due to differences in data definitions as well as timing issues.
d This figure included 65 staff transferred to Attorney-General's Department as part of a machinery-of-government change.
e 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.
f Other reasons for separation may include invalidity, death and termination.

In 2007-08, the Department offered AWAs, determinations under section 24 of the Public Service Act 1999, and a flexible remuneration clause in the collective agreement, to attract or retain staff with particular skills. Table 6.6 gives statistics for types of employment agreements.

For more information about the Department's staff profile, including the number of staff by location and by hours of work, see Appendix H.

Table 6.6 Trends in the use of employment agreements at 30 June, 2003-04 to 2007-08

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Australian Workplace Agreement
Senior Executive Service (SES) 38 35 40 44 39
Non-SES 68 97 104 102 87
S24(1) Determinations under the Public Service Act 1999
SES 0 0 0 0 1
Non-SES 0 0 0 0 0
Collective agreement
SES 0 0 0 0 0
Non-SES 795 1,022 1,141 1,143 1,120
Total staff 901 1,154 1,285 1,289 1,247

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;
  • addressing workplace problems; and
  • occupational health and safety.

Social justice and equity

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 2007-08, the Department:

  • consulted with communities and client groups when initiating and developing policies and programs, based on a sound knowledge of the needs of these different groups and sectors and the desired impacts and outcomes to be achieved for them;
  • made available in a timely manner and in a variety of appropriate, accessible media formats and languages public announcements of new, revised or proposed policy initiatives; and
  • promoted fairness and responsiveness in the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of government services in a culturally diverse society, and provided effective feedback mechanisms for clients and stakeholders.

A report on the Department's implementation of the Australian Government's Access and Equity strategy during 2007-08 is at Appendix A. A report on the Department's implementation of the Commonwealth Disability Strategy in 2007-08 is at Appendix D.

Workplace diversity

The Department respects and values the diversity of its workforce. In 2007-08, the Department:

  • developed the People with Disability Action Plan as part of its People with Disability Strategy. The People with Disability Action Plan is expected to be formally approved in 2008-09. The plan identifies a range of actions that will enhance the employment and support of people with a disability;
  • focused on activities to increase the numbers of Indigenous employees and harness the capabilities and perspectives of Indigenous employees;
  • offered flexible working conditions to help attract and retain staff, through the Department's collective agreement for 2006-09; and
  • supported the internal diversity and equity network and activities to promote awareness of diversity and equity issues.

Indigenous employment

The Department's commitment to recruiting and retaining Indigenous employees is being realised through the development and implementation of the Indigenous Employment Strategy and Indigenous Workforce Action Plan.

The Indigenous Employment Strategy aims to offer more employment opportunities for Indigenous people and to retain Indigenous employees who have been recruited.

The Department continues to recruit entry-level Indigenous employees through the APSC and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Indigenous recruitment initiatives. In 2007-08, the Department recruited three trainees and one cadet.

The Department supported, for the third year, the Indigenous Professional Development Network, which provides an important forum for the Department's Indigenous employees to contribute to agency directions (particularly in relation to the Indigenous Employment Strategy), and to support Indigenous employees in achieving personal and organisational goals.

The network is made up of Indigenous employees from across the Department. In 2007-08, all network members participated in a two-day conference that focused on improving communication and team-building skills, establishing and using networks, and enhancing leadership capability. The Department is committed to improving and expanding the network in 2008-09 by undertaking a review and developing a 12-month action plan.

Table 6.7 shows the trends in the diversity of the Department's workforce over five years.

Table 6.7 Trends in workforce diversity, 2003-04 to 2007-08

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Women 409 527 584 582 555
People from non-English speaking backgrounds 112 119 156 168 175
People with a disability 13 21 23 30 21
Indigenous people 3 4 11a 12a 11a
All employees 901 1,154 1,285 1,289 1,247
Proportion of staff volunteering diversity information (%) 78 95 96 99 98

Note: These statistics focus on staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999. It is possible that the Department's workforce is more diverse than indicated - 2 per cent of the staff sampled chose not to volunteer their personal information for 2007-08.

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

Resolution of workplace problems

The Department has a network of workplace harassment contact officers located in Canberra and regional offices, supported by a senior executive sponsor. Employees can use the intranet-based reporting tool iReport to make reports on occupational health and safety incidents, including those involving workplace harassment, bullying and safety hazards. The Department also has appropriate mechanisms in place to address breaches of the APS Code of Conduct.

The reported incidence of bullying, harassment and breaches of the Code of Conduct remained low during 2007-08. Two cases of bullying and harassment and three cases of suspected breaches of the Code of Conduct were reported and investigated.

Occupational health and safety

The Department is committed to promoting strategies that improve the health and wellbeing of its employees, particularly through effective and timely injury management incorporating early intervention strategies to return ill or injured employees to the workforce.

A range of occupational health and safety (OH&S) initiatives were implemented or continued in 2007-08 under the guidance of the OH&S Committee. The OH&S Committee meets quarterly and includes representatives from all business divisions, both Canberra-based and regional.

The highlight of the year was the Department's Health Week, held in mid-May 2008 for both Canberra-based and regional staff. This year, Health Week focused on a variety of areas, such as the provision of influenza injections, blood pressure and heart rate testing, blood cholesterol and glucose measurements, bone density screenings and strength and flexibility testing. A total of 264 health assessments were conducted, 168 bone density screenings were undertaken and 345 influenza injections were administered. The assessments included individual goal setting to identify and implement changes to promote a healthier lifestyle. Health and fitness issues identified during Health Week are being used to formulate ongoing employee health and wellbeing strategies.

The Department reviewed and updated a range of OH&S policies in order to comply with changes to both the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OH&S Act). The Department also commenced work on developing Health and Safety Management Arrangements as required under the OH&S Act.

During 2007-08, a total of 81 iReports were submitted by staff who reported workplace hazards (anything with the potential to cause injury) and workplace health and safety incidents. Of these, 14 eventuated in workers compensation claims which were accepted by Comcare (see Table 6.8). This represented a significant decrease in the number of claims, primarily due to changes to the SRC Act that removed compensation coverage for non-work related journeys and recess breaks.

Due to early intervention strategies and active case management, the Department reduced the total number of weeks lost from new claims through incapacity from 49.34 weeks to 8.04 weeks, with the average time off work per injury reduced from 2.15 weeks to 0.73 weeks.

The Department's Comcare premium of 1.00 per cent remained below the APS average of 1.55 per cent.

Table 6.8 Trends in workplace health and safety

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Proactive measures
Workplace assessments > 60 > 150 > 250 > 150 133
Staff health assessments 144 200 329 201 264
Staff influenza vaccinations 236 341 331 298 345
Wellbeing indicators
Staff using employee assistance (%) 8.4 8.20 7.34 8.33 5.51
Days of unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent employee 10.4 8.95 9.74 10.51 10.72
Incident managementa
New claims accepted by Comcare 9 18 20 23 14
Total weeks lost from new claims through incapacity 28.86 22.65 46.13 49.34 8.04
Average time off work per injury (weeks) 3.2 1.25 2.31 2.15 0.73
Special or serious incident requiring Comcare investigation 0 0 0 0 0
Directions or notices issued to the Department under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 0 0 0 0 0

a These figures are as advised by Comcare.

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