Management and Accountability
The Department's governance framework is designed to ensure that the principles of good governance are applied in all aspects of its work, and high standards of performance, conformance and accountability are maintained. The framework promotes impartiality, commitment to service, accountability, respectfulness and ethical behaviour to maintain high standards of governance and instil confidence in all who deal with the Department.
Three high-level departmental groups assist the Secretary and senior management in decision-making. They are:
- Secretary's Business Meeting
- Executive Management Team, and
- Senior Executive Service Management Team.
The most senior is the Secretary's Business Meeting comprising the Secretary, the Deputy Secretaries and the Chief Operating Officer. It meets weekly to consider departmental business priorities, ministerial and parliamentary business, corporate policy, departmental resourcing and operational matters.
The Executive Management Team, which also meets weekly, is the main executive communication and coordination forum. The team consists of the Secretary, the Deputy Secretaries, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Directors (heads of the Department's divisions). Other employees, including the Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Chief Information Officer, General Manager People and Performance, General Manager Communications, and General Manager Governance and Parliamentary, attend meetings in an advisory capacity.
The Executive Management Team:
- is briefed by Executive Directors on key issues for each business division
- considers strategic policy proposals and updates on issues such as financial and human resource management
- receives advice from the Secretary's Business Meeting, and
- enables the Secretary to communicate key messages about departmental performance, areas for improvement and emerging priorities.
The Senior Executive Service Management Team meetings are held to align with the Department's business planning process. The Senior Executive Service Management Team may also be called together from time to time to discuss special topics. Departmental employees and external speakers may be invited to give presentations on key departmental and broader government issues.
The Senior Executive Service Management Team meetings:
- promote closer links and engagement among the Senior Executive Service
- encourage participation by the Senior Executive Service employees in organisational management discussions
- provide feedback to the Executive on key management issues, and
- update the Senior Executive Service employees on important government, Australian Public Service and departmental policy and operational matters.
Specific Organisational Management Committees
Three committees focus on specific areas of organisational management and decision-making.
The Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Secretary and the Executive Management Team on the Department's risk, control and compliance frameworks and external accountability responsibilities. The Audit Committee has a sub-committee whose primary role is to oversee financial statements reporting and processes.
In accordance with its charter the Audit Committee:
- monitors the Department's risk management and control framework
- endorses the internal audit work programme and monitors its implementation
- provides a forum for the Department and the ANAO to exchange views on external audit findings and associated recommendations, and
- oversees preparation of the Department's financial statements in conjunction with the Financial Statements Sub-committee.
The Audit Committee is chaired by Deputy Secretary Wilson and met four times in 2013–14. The committee has six members; comprising two independent members and four departmental representatives. Meetings were attended by observers including the Internal Audit Manager, representatives from other areas of the Department and the ANAO.
The Finance, Reporting and Programme Committee:
- is a forum for finance, reporting and programme management issues
- oversees the Department's budget process and recommends budget priorities
- oversees the strategic management and delivery of administered programmes
- considers monthly financial reports
- considers workforce reports and initiatives
- considers quarterly work health and safety reports, and
- considers priority evaluations and related Department activities.
This committee meets monthly and consists of the Secretary, Deputy Secretaries, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager People and Performance Branch.
The Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee:
- develops a common vision for the Department's information technology and security requirements
- oversees data requirements and determines data-collection priorities
- recommends to the Secretary funding priorities for information technology and security
- recommends information and protective security policies, and
- provides a forum for the discussion of information technology and security issues.
The committee meets quarterly and is chaired by Deputy Secretary O'Connell.
Planning and Reporting Framework
The Department published the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements in May 2013 which:
- described the departmental outcomes, programmes and administered items for which the Department will receive funding in the forthcoming budget year
- detailed objectives and components of each programme and the goods and services that each will deliver during the year
- set financial and other performance targets for each programme, and
- presented the Department's budgeted financial statements for the budget year and three forward-years.
The Portfolio Budget Statements inform the development of strategic business plans for each division. These plans, for the year ahead, present an environmental scan, divisional positioning, key deliverables, functional activities, risks, key stakeholders and available resources.
Each quarter divisions review progress against business plans and the Department's strategic capabilities. This informs the Executive of achievements and any emerging areas of concern in relation to delivery of agreed outcomes. The quarterly reviews also allow for exchanges between the Executive and divisions to ensure that the Department is well placed to address planned and unplanned priorities and to reassess operational risks.
Enterprise–Wide Risk Management
In 2013–14 the Department maintained an overarching risk management policy to manage and monitor identified risks.
- presenting the Department's risks to the Executive to confirm they are aligned with changing functions and directions
- coordinating input into the enterprise risk register with contributions from all divisions to ensure divisional risks are identified and mitigated, and
- updating the departmental risk profile which contributed to the development of the Department's 2013–14 internal audit work plan.
The Department continued to revise and update the Enterprise Risk Framework in 2013–14. The risk framework is structured around four enterprise risk categories: programme failure; policy advice failure; regulatory failure; and organisational risk.
Categorising risk around these themes assists the Department to establish links between divisions, to promote the co-ownership of risks and to develop a more consistent approach to manage risk.
Disclosure of Major Risks
As required, the Department continued to disclose fiscal risks and contingent liabilities with a large potential impact. The enterprise-wide fiscal risks and contingent liabilities disclosed for 2013–14 were managed without significant impacts.
They related to the following:
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority incident costs including clean-up costs arising from ship-sourced marine pollution incidents that cannot be recovered
- New South Wales Rural Fire Fighting Service indemnity for damage caused to the Jervis Bay Territory while fighting a fire
- Maritime Industry Finance Company Limited-board members' indemnity including indemnities to protect members against civil claims relating to their employment and conduct as directors
- Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited-board members' indemnity including indemnities to protect members against civil claims relating to their employment and conduct as directors, and
- tripartite deeds relating to the sale of Federal leased airports. Tripartite deeds relate to applicable Federal leased airports which provide for limited step-in rights for financiers when an airport (head) lease is terminated and to enable financiers to correct the circumstances that triggered the termination of the lease.
Protective Security and Fraud Control
The Department continued to monitor current risk factors during 2013–14 to maintain an appropriate level of assurance for the Executive and to meet the Australian Government's protective security expectations. This process will continue in 2014–15 to ensure compliance and alignment with the Australian Government's Protective Security Policy Framework and Information Security Manual. The Department's risk profile remains at a ‘low’ status.
The Department's Fraud Control Plan and processes for controlling, investigating and reporting on fraud comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines as certified by the Secretary in the letter of transmittal of this annual report.
In 2013–14 the internal audit work programme was designed using a risk-based approach.
The following audits were undertaken:
- Australian Government Credit Cards
- Regional Development Australia Network*
- National Compliance Programme
- Administration of Territories Service Delivery Arrangements*
- Administered Revenue Collection (Phase II) September 2013*
- Regulatory and Compliance Activities
- Personal Use of Mobile Phones, and
- Major Capital Investments (terminated)*.
*These audits transferred from the former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport due to machinery-of-government changes.
Client Service Standards
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 service standards and explains how clients can provide feedback or lodge a complaint if they are not satisfied with the service received. The Client Service Charter is available on the Department's website at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/about/charter.aspx.
In 2013–14 two complaints were received and resolved under the Client Service Charter. Both complaints were investigated and, where appropriate, internal procedures were reviewed to identify the need for any amendments to reduce the risk that such concerns reoccur.
Information Publication Scheme
Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act. The Department's plan, showing what information is published in accordance with the requirements of the Information Publication Scheme, is accessible at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/ips/index.aspx.
Decisions of Courts and Tribunals
In 2013–14 the Department was involved in a number of matters before Australian courts and tribunals. The matters related to issues such as motor vehicle imports, approval of airport master plans, matters concerning approvals and designations under the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2013, and licensing under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012. Some matters were ongoing at 30 June 2014.
Two reviews by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner were finalised during 2013–14. The decisions can be found at www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/applying-the-foi-act/2014-ic-review-decisions-table.
Legal Services Expenditure
For 2013–14 the Department's legal expenditure was:
- $2,711,367.54 for total external legal services expenditure, and
- $818,587.60 for total internal legal services expenditure.
Audit Office and Parliamentary Scrutiny
Reports on matters relating to the Department are released by the ANAO, parliamentary committees or other public bodies from time to time.
The Department formally responds to the ANAO reports in writing and the ANAO includes the Department's responses in its reports which are available online at www.anao.gov.au/Publications/Audit-Reports.
Details of the reports of parliamentary committee inquiries are available online at www.aph.gov.au. The Australian Government tables its responses to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in the Parliament.
Table 8.1 lists the reports relating to the Department that were released in 2013–14 and the dates the reports were tabled in the Parliament.
Table 8.1 External reports relating to the Department in 2013–14
|Departmental audits||Design and Implementation of the Liveable Cities Programme||8 August 2013|
|The Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate's Conduct of Value for Money Reviews of Flood Reconstruction Projects in Queensland||6 November 2013|
|Cross-portfolio audits||Agency Management of Arrangements to Meet Australia's Treaty Obligations||31 October 2013|
|Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2013||18 December 2013|
|Policing at International Airports||13 March 2014|
|Interim Phase of the Audits of the Financial Statements of Major General Government Sector Agencies for the Year Ending 30 June 2014||19 June 2014|
|Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee||Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 [Provisions]||17 March 2014|
|Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee||Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill 2013 [Provisions]||24 March 2014|
|Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee||Qantas' future as a strong national carrier supporting jobs in Australia||27 March 2014|
|Senate Economics Committees||Qantas Sale Amendment Bill 2014 [Provisions]||24 March 2014|
Senior Executive Service employees of the Department, in addition to attending specific parliamentary inquiries, also attend Senate Estimates Committee hearings to respond to questions about the Department's activities.
Table 8.2 provides a summary of the number of parliamentary questions on notice received by the Department.
Table 8.2 Parliamentary questions in 2013–14
|Source of questions||Number|
|House of Representatives||24|
|Senate Estimates Committee hearings||721|
Management of Human Resources
The Department's Workforce Plan 2013–14
The Department places a high priority on its people and remains focused on ensuring that it has the necessary workforce capability to deliver outcomes for the Australian Government and to achieve its goals. The Department seeks to be regarded as a public-sector employer that is professional, has integrity and is a rewarding place to work.
The Department has continued to mature its thinking about workforce planning and the capability needs of the Department. The Department's 2013–14 Workforce Plan identifies workforce issues and responses to enable the Department and its divisions to deliver the Department's outcomes. The Department is committed to developing and retaining employees. Continued alignment to business plans provides the basis for divisions to take action to address these workforce issues over the course of the year.
As the work of the Department grows in both scale and complexity the workforce is required to be more adaptable, agile and responsive. In September 2013, under machinery-of-government changes, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development was formed. The Department welcomed 282 employees from the former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. This was a smooth transition for the former Department and a new division, Local Government and Territories was formed. Former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport employees also transferred into existing divisions of the Department.
In line with the Department's business planning cycle the Department's Workforce Plan 2013–14 has been reviewed to reflect the new Department and is once again a practical plan and a living document that assists all divisions to achieve their key priorities.
Table 8.3 Workforce location profile, including holders of public office, by classification
|APS 1–4 and equivalent||APS 5–6 and equivalent||EL1 and equivalent||EL2 and equivalent||SES/SEC and equivalent||Holder of Public office||Total|
|Employees and public office holders|
|Pacific Ocean Territories||1||1|
Table 8.4 Workforce gender profile, including holders of public office
|Holder of public office||1||4||4||4||5|
Australian Public Service Employee Census
The Department's support of the Australian Public Service Employee Census shows its long-standing commitment to consulting employees and addressing concerns. Employee surveys have been conducted in the Department since 1996.
The 2013 census found that the Department's relative strength compared to the average for Australian Public Service ‘large’ agencies was employee engagement. Levels of employee commitment and loyalty have risen since 2012. The Department also received stronger results compared to these larger agencies in the areas of senior leadership, internal communication and learning and development. Overall results continue to inform workforce planning activities for the Department.
During 2013–14 the Department maintained a high-level of internal employee movements as its preferred approach for filling vacancies and responding to short-term staffing demands.
The University Vacation Employment Program proved to be a successful mechanism to raise the Department's profile and capacity to seek future candidates to apply for and obtain selection into the Graduate Development Program. Our University Vacation Employment Program was ranked number one in the Australian Government in the Australian Association of Graduate Employers top intern programme rankings and in the top ten of all programmes.
Attraction and recruitment for the 2015 Graduate Development Program was targeted by attending career fairs, selective online advertising, and asserting specific benchmarks. The Department's marketing strategies maintained brand awareness.
Learning and Development
The learning and development programme offers activities shaped by the Department's vision and business objectives, broader public service priorities, individual development needs and the Workforce Plan.
In 2013–14 the Department focused on regulatory skills as well as management and leadership development. This included an extensive corporate learning and development calendar to ensure employees were equipped with the skills and knowledge they needed. Capabilities requiring development such as communication skills and economics were identified and addressed.
The learning and development programme is adaptive and reviewed regularly to ensure it continues to align with the Department's business objectives and workforce needs.
Graduate Development Program
The Graduate Development Program prepares graduates for a career in the Department and the broader Australian Public Service. Graduates are drawn from a variety of academic disciplines, reflecting the Department's need for generalist and specialist skills and qualifications. In December 2013 29 graduates successfully completed the programme. A central component of the programme is a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration conducted through the Australia and New Zealand School of Government Institute for Governance at the University of Canberra. The Graduate Certificate incorporates an industry tour and research project which gives graduates an opportunity to explore how the Department contributes to the Australian community.
Our Graduate Development Program was ranked the number one graduate programme in the Australian Government in the Australian Association of Graduate Employers 2014 top graduate rankings. These rankings, which are seen as the definitive guide to the best places to work for new graduates, are determined from survey feedback provided by graduates who have spent twelve months working in their organisation.
The Department currently has 33 graduates undertaking the 2014 programme. Each undertakes internal and external training programmes as well as on-the-job experience from three workplace rotations across the Department.
No. 1 Australian Government Graduate Employer
In the 2014 Top Graduate Employers rankings the Department's Graduate Development Program was ranked number one in graduate programmes available in Australian Government agencies. Designed to prepare graduates for a career within the Department and the Australian Public Service, the Graduate Development Program assists the Department to meet its vision by building a talent pool of competitively selected, degree qualified graduates that help meet the Department's current and future workforce needs.
The Top Graduate Employers rankings, published by the Australian Association of Graduate Employers, are the definitive guide to the best places to work for new graduates entering the workforce. The rankings are determined entirely from survey feedback gathered from real graduates who have spent 12 months working with these organisations. The aim of the Top Graduate Employers list is to recognise those organisations which provide the most positive experience for their new graduates as determined by the graduates themselves.
The survey asks graduates to rate their employer on around 25 categories including:
- orientation of induction programme
- training and development programme
- quality of work
- career progression
- supervisor or manager
- compensation and benefits
- work/life balance, and
- company culture.
In 2014 the Department was ranked thirteenth overall and first among Australian Government agencies. Feedback from graduates highlighted the interactive and supportive work environment, with a strong and positive working culture. Graduates spoke highly of the Graduate Development Program's networking opportunities, approachable managers and excellent work/life balance.
The success of the Graduate Development Program has been achieved through on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring as well as formal training and development. Graduates also undertake the Graduate Certificate in Public Administration, conducted through the Australia and New Zealand School of Government Institute for Governance at the University of Canberra. The Department's Graduate Development Program team works closely with graduates throughout the year to ensure each graduate has a positive experience with broad exposure to the work of the Department in preparation for their future careers. Upon successful completion of the Graduate Development Program graduates progress to ongoing APS level 5 positions across the Department's eight divisions.
The Department continues to be committed to being a high-performing organisation demonstrating strong leadership and a robust performance culture. To achieve this, the Department models, enables and expects high performance from all employees through encouragement, empowerment and recognition.
Performance management in the Department is a participative process that requires contribution and involvement of employees, their supervisors and managers at the next level, in forming and applying performance plans, development plans and performance assessments.
This approach has resulted in increased transparency and maturity of the performance process and greater consistency in the application of performance management across the Department.
As part of machinery-of-government changes, the enterprise agreements of the former Department of Infrastructure and Transport and the former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport will be maintained until a new agreement commences. These agreements determine conditions of employment for non-Senior Executive Service employees.
Remuneration for Senior Executive Service employees in the Department is set through determinations under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. In early 2014, determinations for Senior Executive Service employees from the former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport were amended to be consistent with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development's determinations.
The Secretary's remuneration is determined by the Prime Minister taking into account recommendations of the Remuneration Tribunal.
Table 8.5 Salary ranges for departmental employees by classification
|30 June 2013 ($)||30 June 2014 ($) Former Infrastructure||30 June 2014 ($) Former Regional|
|Secretary||The Secretary's remuneration is determined by the Prime Minister after taking into account the recommendations of the Remuneration Tribunal.|
Notes: Salary ranges for APS1 to EL2 are based on salary rates specified in the enterprise agreements of the former Department of Infrastructure and Transport and the former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport (Regional). Some employees' pay, benefits and conditions have been varied by the Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFA) Section F (5) of the Enterprise Agreement and clause 12 of respective Enterprise Agreements and/or the inclusion of Annualised Shift Allowance (ASA) (section M6) and Salary Maintenance section F7.
* IFAs, Salary Maintenance and ASA have been reflected in the above maximum salary figures for these classifications. The Department of Infrastructure and Transport Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 was agreed by departmental officers in June 2011. The former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 was agreed by departmental officers in July 2011. The Department will seek to negotiate a new agreement within the terms of the Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy.
Table 8.6 Number of staff employed, by type of employment agreement, at 30 June 2014
|Section 24(1) determination under the Public Service Act 1999||Enterprise agreement||Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFAs)||Total employees|
|Senior Executive Service (SES)||47||Nil||Nil||47|
Table 8.7 Employee recruitment and retention in 2013–14
|Graduates recruited externally||32|
|Other external recruits||23|
|Total external recruits||55|
|Retention rate (%)||89.2|
|Transfers/promotions to another Australian Public Service agency||43|
|Resignations and retirements||72|
Note: a Non-ongoing employees are excluded from recruitment numbers and retention and separation data.
The Department respects and values the diversity of its workforce. In 2013–14, the Department continued to develop initiatives under its Workplace Diversity and Equity Strategy for 2011–2015 to help attract, recruit, develop and retain skilled and talented employees, particularly in relation to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander Australians and people with disability. The Department updated its Disability Workforce Action Plan in 2014 building on initiatives developed in the 2013 plan which includes:
- providing training on disability matters to the Department's Workplace Harassment Contact Officers, Health and Safety Representatives and human relations practitioners
- further developing ways to encourage people with disability to apply for the Department's Graduate Development Program
- revising employment procedures to include advice on the employment of people with disability, and
- continuing to promote access to appropriate reasonable adjustment for people with disability. In 2013–14 the Department supported diversity and equity activities, such as promoting:
- International Day for People with Disability
- Harmony Day
- Reconciliation Week, and
- National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observation Committee Week.
In 2013–14 the Department supported Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander employees through our executive level Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander sponsor (Deputy Secretary O'Connell) and the Indigenous Staff Network.
The Department regularly reported against its 2012–2014 Reconciliation Action Plan to continue efforts to meet its commitment and reconciliation objectives. The Department also commenced development of the 2015–2017 Reconciliation Action Plan.
Table 8.8 Workforce diversity—at 30 June 2014
|People from non-English speaking backgrounds||165|
|People with a disability||22|
|Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people||23|
Note: Includes ongoing and non-ongoing employees. Excludes Holders of Public Office.
Information (except gender data sourced from payroll records) has been sourced from an equity and diversity report where individuals have volunteered to provide their diversity information to the Department.
Since 1994 Australian Government departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08 reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11 departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been superseded by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 which sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in late 2014 and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
Building Resilience—Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG Presentation
In 2013–14 the Department continued its Building Resilience Campaign; an internal communications package aimed at bringing together the Department's internal communications tools and activities under one banner. The campaign is focused on creating a healthier Department through achieving resilience to pressures at work, home and in all parts of our lives through its five streams:
- rewards and recognition
- leadership, and
Being resilient requires a particular mind set: gaining knowledge needed to solve problems. Part of the Building Resilience Campaign is the Leadership Seminar Series, through which senior leaders are invited throughout the year to talk to employees on their views on leadership. In 2013–14 guest speakers included: Ms Nareen Young, Chief Executive Officer at Diversity Council Australia; Mr Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer at Qantas Airways Limited; Mr David Simon, Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association; and Mr Andrew Tongue, Secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.
In May guest speaker Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG launched the 2014 Building Resilience programme, sharing his leadership experience from the war in Afghanistan. Ben is a recipient of the highest award in the Australian military honours system, the Victoria Cross for Australia, awarded in 2011. Ben was also awarded the Medal for Gallantry in 2006 and The Commendation for Distinguished Service in 2013.
Ben's contribution to Australia extends beyond his military service. He is also the patron of the White Cloud Foundation who assist sufferers of depression and the Wandering Warriors who support current and ex-servicemen. Ben transferred to the Army Reserve in November 2013 and since then has been a leading strategic adviser to the Australian Government and industry on a broad range of defence, security and personnel issues. Ben has recently launched his own consultancy business and advises clients across a range of sectors in relation to corporate culture, strategic restructuring and change management.
As the most decorated serving soldier in Australia, Ben's inspirational real life stories provided an insight into authentic leadership and selfless service.