Part 4: Management and accountability
The Corporate Services Division enables the Department and its business divisions to deliver activities that achieve our purposes. It does this by providing high quality and contemporary business services, systems, support and advice to the Executive and business divisions.
Through its professional teams, the Division is responsible for providing a broad range of corporate services, including financial management, workforce management and planning, information and communication technology, ministerial and parliamentary services, legal services, property and office services management, governance, business planning, reporting, audits, risk management and evaluation, and communication services.
The Department's governance framework promotes the principles of good governance, applied in ways that encourage all employees to be accountable for their actions; to focus on high standards of performance; strive for excellence; and ensure the efficient, effective and ethical management of resources. The governance framework includes committees focused on particular areas of organisational management; business planning and reporting activities; performance management; management of risk; audit and evaluation activities; and activities which promote awareness of ethical standards.
Three high-level departmental groups meet regularly and assist the Secretary and senior management in decision-making. They are the 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, deputy secretaries and Chief Operating Officer. It meets weekly to consider departmental business priorities, ministerial and parliamentary business, corporate policy, departmental resourcing and operational matters, including risk management.
The Executive Management Team, which also meets weekly, is the main executive communication and coordination forum. The team consists of the Secretary, 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 and general managers within the Corporate Services Division, attend meetings in an advisory capacity.
The Executive Management Team:
- is briefed by executive directors on emerging issues for each division;
- considers strategic policy proposals and updates on issues such as financial and human resource management; and
- enables the Secretary to communicate key messages about departmental performance, areas for improvement and emerging priorities.
Senior Executive Service Management Team meetings are held as required. Departmental employees and external speakers may be invited to give presentations on key issues. The Senior Executive Service Management Team meetings:
- promote closer links and engagement among the senior executive service;
- encourage participation by senior executive service employees in organisational management discussions;
- provide feedback to the Executive on key management issues; and
- update senior executive service employees on important government and operational matters.
Specific organisational management committees
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.
In accordance with its charter, the Audit Committee:
- monitors and oversees the Department's risk management framework;
- reviews the appropriateness of the Department's systems and procedures for assessing and reporting the Department's performance;
- considers and endorses the internal audit work program and monitors its implementation;
- assesses whether management has taken steps to embed a culture that promotes the proper use and management of public resources and is committed to ethical and lawful conduct;
- provides a forum for the Department and the Australian National Audit Office 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.
To meet the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) the Audit Committee meets at least four times a year. Membership consists of two Department officials and three independent members. Geoff Knuckey is the independent Chair of the Audit Committee. The Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information and Security Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Internal Audit Manager, internal audit providers, representatives from other areas of the Department and the Australian National Audit Office attend meetings as advisers/observers.
The following four committees focus on specific areas of organisational management and decision-making:
- Finance, Reporting and Program Committee;
- Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee;
- Departmental Consultative Committee; and
- Work Health and Safety Committee.
Finance, Reporting and Program Committee
The Finance, Reporting and Program Committee:
- oversees the Department's budget process and considers the Department's monthly financial reports;
- recommends budget priorities to the Secretary;
- oversees the development of the Department's Annual Report;
- oversees the strategic management and delivery of the Department's administered programs;
- considers the Department's monthly human resources and workforce reports, and oversees the Workforce Plan;
- considers and recommends to the Secretary non-IT capital investment proposals; and
- provides a forum for finance, reporting and program management (including evaluation) issues to be raised and discussed.
This committee meets monthly and consists of the Secretary, deputy secretaries, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, the General Manager of the People and Performance Branch and the Deputy Chief Financial Officer.
Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee
The Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee:
- develops a common vision for the Department's information technology, information governance and security requirements;
- oversees the Department's data requirements and determines data collection priorities;
- ensures the Department's information is managed for its entire life in accordance with risk, including risks associated with security, access, privacy, continuity and cost;
- recommends information technology, information governance and security funding priorities to the Secretary;
- recommends appropriate information and protective security policies to the Secretary;
- oversees internal information reviews to identify information assets and their value, manages risk and compliance, and improves business processes;
- provides a forum for information technology, information governance and security issues to be raised and discussed; and
- makes decisions informed by the portfolio risk assessment.
The committee meets quarterly and comprises a Deputy Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Financial Officer and the executive directors of the Infrastructure Investment, Policy and Research and Office of Transport Security divisions.
Departmental Consultative Committee
The Departmental Consultative Committee:
- provides a forum to discuss and consult on general employment matters;
- consults on matters relevant to the operation and implementation of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Enterprise Agreement 2016;
- consults on the impact of any legislative change affecting employment conditions;
- consults on Machinery of Government changes; and
- provides a forum for employee representatives to raise any workplace issues.
This committee meets quarterly and comprises of the Chief Operating Officer, an Executive Director nominated by the Secretary, the General Manager of the People and Performance Branch, an employee representative from each Division, and an employee representative from a regional office. A representative of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and a CPSU employee delegate are also invited to attend each meeting.
Work Health and Safety Committee
The Work Health and Safety Committee:
- facilitates consultation and cooperation between the Department and workers in instigating, developing and carrying out measures designed to ensure workers' health and safety at work;
- helps develop standards, rules and procedures relating to health and safety that are to be followed or complied with at the workplace; and
- undertakes any other functions agreed between the Department and the Committee.
The committee meets quarterly and comprises a Departmental General Manager, a representative each from the Work Health and Safety, Internal Communications, and Property Portfolio and Office Services Management teams, and Health and Safety Representatives from designated Work Groups.
Planning and reporting framework
The Department's 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements:
- described the outcomes, programs and administered items for 2016–17;
- detailed objectives of each program;
- set financial and other performance targets for each program; and
- presented the Department's budgeted financial statements for 2016–17 and three forward years.
The Portfolio Budget Statements were published in May 2016.
The Department's 2016–17 Corporate Plan covers a four-year period (2016–17 to 2019–20) and is designed to be the Department's primary planning document. The plan, which is updated annually, includes information about the Department's purposes, operational environment and strategy, including key priorities and how performance will be measured. It also includes information on capability building and risk management. The plan was first published in August 2016. In March 2017, a revised 2016–17 Corporate Plan was published to incorporate revised, impact-oriented performance measures and targets for 2016–17, re-setting those that had been published in the first issue. The revised measures were informed by an understanding of what success looks like for the Department's key stakeholders. The Department will continue to review and refine performance measures over the coming years.
Results against the performance measures set in the revised 2016–17 Corporate Plan are included in the annual performance statements part of this report.
Both the Corporate Plan and the Portfolio Budget Statements inform the strategic business plans for each division. Three times a year, meetings are held between divisional Senior Executive Service (SES) staff and the Executive to determine divisional progress against their business plans. This informs the Executive of achievements and any emerging areas of concern in relation to the delivery of agreed activities and outcomes.
Departmental risk management
The Department updated its risk framework in 2016–17. The framework is based on four risk categories: program failure; regulatory failure; organisational failure; and policy advice failure. It emphasises that managing risk properly helps develop operational innovation and reduce red tape. The risks are reported to the Department's Audit Committee, to align with the internal audit work program.
The Fraud Control Plan was updated in 2016–17 to reflect the findings of the 2016–18 Fraud Risk Assessment and to include amendments, such as clarifying roles and responsibilities in relation to handling allegations of fraud, and updating internal contact details.
Issues of potential fraud were reported to the Audit Committee on a quarterly basis and were managed under section 10 of the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.
Business continuity management
Business continuity management is an important part of the Department's overall approach to effective risk management. The aims of the business continuity response are to:
- ensure the uninterrupted availability of key resources necessary to support critical business functions, so that these can be delivered pre, during and post-event;
- provide a coordinated response to an event so that normal business is resumed in a way that minimises disruption to the Department; and
- ensure the safety and wellbeing of departmental staff.
The Department continued to monitor risk factors during 2016–17, and changed processes and controls where necessary to meet the expectations of the Executive and Australian Government's protective security requirements. This process will continue in 2017–18 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.
In 2016–17, the internal audit work program was developed through a risk-based approach and endorsed by the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee reviewed the Department's performance reporting framework to focus on key strategic performance measures and the net benefits of activity. The Audit Committee considered agency level risk and treatment to provide insight into the Department's key risks and alignment with the internal audit work program, and is provided with updated risk reports throughout the year.
In June 2017, the Department launched the Monitoring and Evaluation Capability Strategy 2017–20 and the Monitoring and Evaluation Resource Booklet. These publications updated previous versions of the documents to build on existing knowledge, and further embed a culture of reflective and evaluative thinking in the Department. The strategy is designed to align with the PGPA Act in measuring and assessing the Department's performance and achieving its purposes. The strategy sets out the skills and knowledge that underpin the Department's overall operational capability, as outlined in the Corporate Plan. The resource booklet provides an overview of key monitoring and evaluation concepts and guidance for staff on practical application.
A total of 10 training courses were held to build skills in developing policy/program/regulatory logics, and monitoring and evaluation, with attendance by 115 staff across the Department. Mentoring was available to help employees develop logics, monitoring, risk and compliance activities for particular areas of work.
The Department is committed to maintaining high standards of integrity, good governance and ethics. All employees are required to uphold the Australian Public Service Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct.
In 2016–17, a new communication strategy was developed to continue to emphasise our commitment to a high standard of ethical behaviour, and a new online portal was launched drawing attention to resources that assist in recognising and dealing with ethical issues.
In March 2017, the annual completion of declarations of conflicts of interests was conducted for all SES employees. Due to the nature and sensitivity of their work, a number of Executive Level (EL) 2 roles were also specifically identified to complete the declarations. All staff were reminded to consider their personal arrangements and complete a declaration if necessary. A new requirement saw the Department's key management personnel submit a related party disclosure in accordance with Australian Accounting Standard AASB 124—Related Party Disclosures.
Information Publication Scheme
Entities subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement in Part II of the Act has replaced the former section 8 requirement to publish a statement in an annual report. The Department's plan shows the information that is published in accordance with the requirements of the Information Publication Scheme, available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/ips/index.aspx.
Information on grants awarded by the Department from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/grants/.
Decisions by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Five freedom of information decisions made by the Department were reviewed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Two reviews were withdrawn or closed due to inactivity and three reviews remain on hand. No reviews of the Department's freedom of information decisions were finalised by the Information Commissioner during the reporting period.
Decisions of courts and tribunals
In 2016–17, the Department was involved in some matters before Australian courts and tribunals. These related to issues such as motor vehicle imports, approval of airport master plans and major development plans, freedom of information, and approval to issue an aviation security identity card to a person with an adverse criminal record. Some matters were ongoing at 30 June 2017.
Legal services expenditure
Paragraph 11.1(ba) of the Legal Services Directions 2017 requires the entity's legal services purchasing, including expenditure, to be appropriately recorded and monitored and that, by 30 October each year, the entity makes publicly available records of its legal services expenditure for the previous financial year.
For 2016–17 the Department's legal expenditure was:
- $11,076,768.88 for total external legal services expenditure; and
- $1,294,184.00 for total internal legal services expenditure.
Australian National Audit Office and parliamentary scrutiny
Reports on matters relating to the Department are released by the Australian National Audit Office, parliamentary committees and other public bodies.
The Department formally responds to the Australian National Audit Office's reports in writing, which includes the Department's responses in its reports, available at www.anao.gov.au/Publications/Audit-Reports.
Details of the reports of parliamentary committee inquiries are available at www.aph.gov.au. The Australian Government tables its responses to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in Parliament.
Table 4.1 provides the reports released in 2016–17 relating to the Department, and the dates these were tabled in Parliament.
|Australian National Audit Office|
|Performance audit-cross-entity||Machinery of Government Changes||31 August 2016|
|Performance audit||Procurement of the International Centre for Complex Project Management to Assist on the OneSKY Australia Program||31 August 2016|
|Performance audit||Passenger Security Screening at Domestic Airports||31 August 2016|
|Performance audit||Design and Implementation of Round Two of the National Stronger Regions Fund||19 December 2016|
|Performance audit–cross-entity||The Approval and Administration of Commonwealth Funding for the WestConnex Project||14 February 2017|
|Performance audit-cross-entity||Conduct of the OneSKY Tender||10 April 2017|
|Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities (House of Representatives)||Harnessing Value, Delivering Infrastructure: Report on the inquiry into the role of transport connectivity on stimulating development and economic activity||6 December 2016|
|Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications||Continuation of construction of the Perth Freight Link in the face of significant environmental breaches||6 March 2017|
SES 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 4.2 provides a summary of the number of parliamentary questions on notice received by the Department in 2016–17.
|Source of questions||Number|
|House of Representatives||74|
|Senate Estimates Committee hearings||404|
Management of human resources
A highly capable and committed workforce is critical for the Department to provide assurance to stakeholders across government and industry, and to anticipate and adapt to future challenges.
The Workforce Strategy 2016–19, released in 2016–17, strengthens the Department's ability to do this through workforce goals and actions to better attract, develop and retain a highly capable, inclusive and professional workforce. The strategy identifies strategic workforce priorities over the three years.
- Enhanced workforce data metrics and reporting capability were introduced in 2016–17. A number of new analytical reports on a range of workforce issues, including reports identifying spans of control, diversity and inclusion, rate of internal employee mobility, and employee separation patterns, were developed to better inform workforce decision-making.
- Unscheduled absence rates reduced from 13.9 days per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in 2015–16 to 12.9 days per FTE in 2016–17. This reduction has been made possible through increased awareness raising, building capability in managing unscheduled absence, and greater clarity in supporting policies and guidelines.
- There was strong employee participation in the 2016 Australian Public Service Employee Census with a 78 per cent response rate. Departmental results compared well to the previous year with the areas of: goal clarity and focus; job skills match; intrinsic rewards; and job security all identified as a Departmental strength. Results for commitment, loyalty and engagement were similar to the results for the broader Australian Public Service.
- EL employees also participated in a Career Development Survey in 2016–17 to identify their key career and capability drivers. Division specific actions are being undertaken as a result of the survey, such as ‘Manager Once Removed’ meetings and regular capability conversations between managers and staff.
- Greater access to workforce metrics and targeted workforce initiatives have helped improve the Department's separation rate, which has reduced from 16.4 per cent in 2015–16 to 15.1 per cent in 2016–17.
Diversity and inclusion
The Department strengthened its commitment to recruiting and supporting a workforce inclusive of diversity in 2016–17 with the release of a Gender Equality Action Plan. The plan identifies key actions for driving a supportive and enabling culture, achieving gender equality in Australian Public Service (APS) leadership, innovating to embed gender equality in employment practices, and normalising flexible working arrangements.
The Gender Champion role was broadened in 2016–17 and renamed Champion for Gender Equality. The Champion released a commitment statement, endorsed by the Secretary in early 2017 to reaffirm the Department's commitment to gender equality.
The Department also released guidelines on domestic and family violence and raised its awareness as a workplace issue by participating in White Ribbon Day.
The Department continued to acknowledge and celebrate days of significance in relation to workforce diversity including:
- National Reconciliation Week;
- National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week;
- International Women's Day;
- International Day of People with Disability; and
- Harmony Day.
The Department also continued its membership with the Australian Network on Disability, the Diversity Council of Australia and joined Pride in Diversity.
Recruitment and entry-level programs
The Department took steps to modernise attraction and recruitment practices following a review of the function, laying a path for it to become an employer of choice within the public sector. Approaches piloted so far include the introduction of capabilities as selection criteria and a candidate response limited to one to two pages.
The Department also welcomed 27 new employees as part of the Graduate Development Program. Graduates were involved in a range of broad opportunities available across the Department through rotations and work experience.
Graduates also accessed a range of formal learning and development opportunities, including the Graduate Certificate in Public Administration, enabling public administration capability building and broader opportunities to pursue management in the APS.
The Department's 2016–17 University Vacation Employment Program also welcomed new participants who experienced Department life while completing university studies.
The Department also maintained its participation in the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program and Stepping Into… Program as part of its aim to attract and recruit a diverse workforce.
The Department revised and developed new Employment Procedures to support the implementation and operation of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Enterprise Agreement 2016. Employees were consulted during the development process. The new Employment Procedures provide greater clarity and include case studies to support consistent and practical application in the workplace.
The Department successfully negotiated and implemented a new Enterprise Agreement for the Registered Nurses engaged with the Indian Ocean Territories Administration. It was approved by an all staff ballot in February 2017 and came into effect on 10 April 2017. The new agreement nominally expires on 9 April 2020.
The Department revised its procedures for determining suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct and the Suspected Misconduct Guidelines. The Procedures and Guidelines improve the Department's approach to complex case management and enhance procedural fairness elements.
The Department also released a Psychological Safety Guideline that aims to empower supervisors and employees to work together to build inclusive workplace cultures and effective systems for promoting mental health in the workplace.
Learning and development
During 2016–17, the Department commenced work on a Workforce Capability Framework that identifies both core and professional capabilities and behaviours to support and encourage more targeted learning and development approaches. The capability framework includes four professional capability streams: Strategic Policy, Compliance and Regulation, Project and Program, and Enabling Services.
A new EL Mastery Program was piloted for the Department's middle managers in 2016–17. The program was designed to strengthen management capability by building practical skills and knowledge to manage and lead staff, including through change.
A comprehensive middle manager online resource was also developed, which provides managers with immediate access to a range of informal learning offerings via the Department's Learning Management System. The resources includes manager toolkits, reading materials, video tutorials and online learning courses.
In 2016–17, employees engaged in 6,139 learning opportunities, of which 51 per cent were undertaken online. The remainder comprised classroom learning and seminars, delivered within the Department and externally.
A total of 70 staff used the Department's Study Assistance Scheme to undertake higher education that contributes to their overall public sector professional development.
A total of 32 staff accessed the Department's Professional Coaching Scheme to support their career and professional development.
Remuneration in the Department is subject to the provisions of the Department's Enterprise Agreement for non-SES staff, while SES remuneration is provided for by determinations under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. The Enterprise Agreement provided a two per cent increase to base salary and allowances for all non-SES employees on 28 March 2017. SES employees also received an equivalent increase to base salary on the same date.
In addition to salary, the Department provides its employees with a range of non-salary benefits, including activities targeting health and wellbeing, support for professional and personal development, access to flexible working arrangements and a range of paid leave entitlements.
The Department made no performance payments to employees, including SES employees, during the reporting period.
Since 1994, non-corporate entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the National 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 National Disability Strategy has now been replaced by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with a disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level bi-annual report will track progress against each of the six strategy outcome areas and present a picture of how people with a disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014 and are available at www.dss.gov.au.
Human resources statistics
1–4 and equivalent
5–6 and equivalent
|EL1 and equivalent||EL2 and equivalent||SES/|
Secretary and equivalent
|Employees and public office holders|
|Indian Ocean Territories||0||0||1||1||1||1|
|Pacific Ocean Territories||2||1||2||2||2||1||6||4|
|Holder of public office||3||1||13||2||16||3|
|Ongoing full-time||457 (9)||464 (9)||529 (8)||512 (12)||986 (17)||976 (21)|
|Ongoing part-time||90 (1)||96||20||18||110 (1)||114|
|Total||556 (10)||575 (9)||568 (8)||543 (12)||1,124 (18)||1,118 (21)|
Employees who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples are shown in brackets.
|30 June 2016 ($)||30 June 2017($)|
|Secretary||The Secretary's remuneration is determined by the Prime Minister after taking into account the recommendations of the Remuneration Tribunal.|
* Individual flexibility arrangements, salary maintenance and annualised shift allowance have been reflected in the maximum salary figures above for these classifications.
|Section 24(1) determination under the Public Service Act 1999||Enterprise Agreement||Total Employees|
Employees with Individual Flexibility Arrangements are shown in brackets
|Graduates recruited externally||27|
|Other external recruits||137|
|Total external recruits||164|
|Retention rate (%)||86.3|
|Transfers/promotions to another Australian Public Service entity||81|
|Resignations and retirements||69|
Non-ongoing employees are excluded from recruitment numbers and retention and separation data.
|People from non-English speaking backgrounds||187|
|People with a disability||41|
|Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people||21|
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.
The Department manages $40.6 million of non-financial assets comprising leasehold improvements ($19.9 million), computers, furniture and other equipment ($5.8 million) and in-house developed and purchased software ($11.0 million). The remaining non-financial assets are for prepayments and lease incentives.
The Department is also responsible for administering $1.0 billion in non-financial assets on behalf of the Australian Government (recognised in the Administered Schedule of Assets and Liabilities).These assets are mainly used to provide infrastructure and services to the external territories and the Jervis Bay Territory along with land at the site of the Western Sydney Airport. The assets classes comprise land and buildings ($540.1 million), infrastructure, plant and equipment ($355.8 million), assets of heritage and cultural significance ($114.9 million) and intangible assets ($5.1 million).
Major asset transactions during 2016–17 included:
- transfer of land from the Department of Defence as a ‘contribution by owners through equity’ and subsequent lease of the land to the Moorebank Intermodal Company Ltd for development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal;
- acquisition of land from the operators of Melbourne Airport for no consideration and subsequent incorporation of the land into the Melbourne Airport lease;
- upgrades to the Cascade Pier, hospital and school on Norfolk Island;
- purchases and upgrades of assets in the Indian Ocean Territories; and
- independent revaluations of the Departmental property, plant and equipment (reduction of $1.2 million) and Administered land (increase of $173.6 million) asset classes.
The Department ensures effective management of the assets it manages and administers through:
- annual capital budgets that require proposals for the acquisition or construction of assets to be approved by the Executive;
- consideration of IT related projects through the Department's Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee;
- Accountable Authority Instructions on asset management issued by the Secretary;
- maintenance of Departmental and Administered asset registers supported by annual stocktake and impairment reviews to verify their accuracy;
- engagement of external expertise to help manage and maintain infrastructure assets used to provide services to external territories and the Jervis Bay Territory; and
- heritage and conservation plans and arrangements to manage assets of heritage and cultural significance.