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Management and human resources

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Through innovative development of people, structures and processes, we aim to deliver results that will improve our collective and individual productivity and enhance our ability to deliver high-quality, responsive support and advice to our ministers.

Human resources

Workforce planning

Workforce planning continued to be a focus for the department in 2013–14. A new workforce planning framework was developed in 2013–14 and outlines how we will position ourselves to meet our future workforce needs, while supporting a flexible, agile and skilled workforce. The planning framework introduced employee skill sets and job family sets, and provides for improved reporting with the ability to undertake capability gap analysis.

Our organisational agility was demonstrated in particular during 2013–14 with the prompt response to the government's requirements to establish the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, and the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program.

Learning and development

We remain committed to supporting a culture of learning and have continued to implement our Learning and Development Plan 2012–15. Its focus is on ensuring that people have the skills, capabilities and attitudes to achieve the department's outcomes, while recognising that learning and development is a shared responsibility between individuals, their managers and the department.

The department offered over 300 courses as part of our learning and development calendar including compliance training, new starter inductions and core skills training. We also continued to support our smaller portfolio agencies to offer training to their staff. Courses are regularly evaluated to ensure that courses objectives are meeting the development needs of employees.

We have continued our focus on building internal leadership capability through initiatives including intensive leadership programmes—which were offered to portfolio agencies for the first time during 2013–14. The department has also continued to utilise external leadership development opportunities, including those offered by the Australian Public Service Commission.

Our study assistance programme continues to be an investment in skill and knowledge and assists the department in achieving organisational objectives by providing staff with an opportunity to complete studies and gain professional qualifications with departmental support. We assist approved staff with the completion of their studies in the form of financial reimbursement or study leave.

Employment programmes

The Graduate Development Programme continues to support the department's emphasis on building its future leadership capability. In October 2013, the programme was reviewed to ensure it was meeting this objective. As a result, a new framework was developed that focuses on three stages of learning: gaining confidence in the department and the APS, building capability and developing our future leaders. The framework aligns with the department's Learning and Development Plan 2012–15. It also ensures that graduates are equipped with the capabilities to transition to well-rounded policy, legal, and project officer roles by the end of their programme year. The programme is reinforced by additional support for graduate supervisors, recognising the vital role they play in coaching and developing graduates. This support for supervisors has also provided the broader benefit of enhancing management and leadership skills across the department.

In 2013–14, we also conducted a Summer Intern Programme and participated in the Australian Public Service Commission Pathways and disability employment programmes.

Performance management

On 1 July 2013, we introduced a refreshed performance management framework following a comprehensive review and staff consultation. The new framework aims to support employees and managers in recognising the clear benefit of participating in the process, ensuring individuals are responsible and accountable for their own performance (and for providing a supportive performance environment) and that staff are engaged in their work.

The new framework introduced quarterly check-ins to ensure at least four dedicated performance conversations a year—shifting the focus to regular and ongoing performance conversations supported by a range of resources and tools. We continue to review and refine the performance management process to support a culture where performance management is viewed by staff as a positive, relevant and valuable activity.

A diverse workforce

The department renewed its commitment to diversity by encouraging and maintaining a diverse, safe and inclusive work environment where all staff are respected, valued and supported. In 2013–14, the department developed its first Disability Action Plan (DAP).

The DAP has particular significance because creating an accessible and inclusive workplace is central to our mission of achieving a just and secure society. Beyond our mission, we play a critical leadership role as the Australian Government agency responsible for human rights, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The four focus areas of the plan are:

  • a culture of inclusion
  • accessibility
  • recruitment, retention and development
  • leadership for people with disability.

We also supported the establishment of employee networks across a number of diversity groups including: disability, culturally and linguistically diverse, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex—and continued to support the Indigenous Employee and Women's networks. These groups aim to raise awareness of diversity issues across the department and provide support to employees from diverse backgrounds.

Disability reporting

The department's DAP outlines a commitment to providing a supportive, confident, and inclusive work environment to attract, retain, support and develop the career aspirations of employees with disability, and for carers of people with disability.

Our DAP Working Group works closely with the department's Diversity Council, human resource areas, Human Rights Policy areas, and other key stakeholders to implement and progress action items identified within the department's DAP. The key objective for the working group is to create a culture of support and inclusion for people with disability, and carers of people with disability. As at 30 June 2014, the department is on track with the implementation of our DAP. Further information is available on our website at www.ag.gov.au/about/pages/workplacediversity.aspx.

Changes to disability reporting in annual reports

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. Since 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 2010–20, 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 portray how people with a disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in 2014 and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.

Reconciliation

The department's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) outlines our responsibility to foster an environment in which everyone has the same opportunities and may be included in the workforce. The plan includes the commitments, actions and measurable targets that combine to ensure we accept and are actively engaged in supporting Indigenous employees.

Our RAP Working Group oversees the implementation and progression of actions and measurable targets as outlined within the RAP. The working group also promotes and drives the importance of reconciliation issues in the workplace, while also contributing to other Indigenous-related projects. As at 30 June 2014, the department is on track with the implementation of our RAP. Further information is available on our website at www.ag.gov.au/about/pages/workplacediversity.aspx.

Multicultural access and equity

Our department plays a critical leadership role as the Australian Government agency with responsibility for human rights, including the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. We work to foster a compassionate, self-assured and inclusive organisation that recognises and supports employees from culturally diverse backgrounds. We are committed to understanding Australia's culturally and linguistically diverse population in order to assist us in appropriately reflecting the needs of these communities in all of our work—including the development and delivery of policy, programmes and services.

Our Multicultural Plan supports our core business by articulating actions that will enhance and improve our responsiveness to culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia. The plan also builds greater linkages between existing social access and equity initiatives, and the broader work of the department. Our staff are aware of the obligations set out in our plan with internal communication products available to support them, including information incorporated into induction documentation. As at 30 June 2014, the department is on track with the implementation of the plan. Further information is available on our website at www.ag.gov.au/About/Pages/MulticuturalAccessandEquityPlan.aspx.

Workplace agreements

The Attorney-General's Department Enterprise Agreement 2011 (enterprise agreement) commenced on 28 September 2011, has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014, and applied for the duration of the 2013–14 year.

The enterprise agreement provides for the remuneration and other employment conditions applicable to all non-SES (Senior Executive Service) employees. It allows individual flexibility arrangements (IFAs) to apply in respect of individual employees to enable working hours, leave and remuneration arrangements to be tailored to individual circumstances. At 30 June 2014, 1,713 employees were covered by the enterprise agreement, with 38 employees subject to IFAs.

The Australian Government released the new Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy (bargaining policy) on 28 March 2014. The department has undertaken work to conform to the bargaining policy for new enterprise agreement negotiations.

Non-salary benefits provided to employees

The department, through its industrial arrangements with employees, permits employees to flexibly package their remuneration to combine both monetary and non-monetary benefits. The main non-salary benefits for which an employee can choose to sacrifice salary include a motor vehicle acquired through novated lease arrangements and additional employer superannuation contributions.

Performance pay

No performance pay arrangements apply in the department.

SES remuneration

Remuneration for SES employees is established in accordance with the AGD SES Remuneration Policy and given effect through individual determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999.

At 30 June 2014, there were 65 SES employees covered by section 24(1) determinations. Salary levels for SES employees are generally set at rates within a salary band applicable to each SES classification—however no salary band exists for the SES Band 3 classification. Remuneration for SES Band 3 employees is established having regard to the Executive Remuneration Policy developed by the Australian Public Service Commission. SES salary levels are reviewed by the Secretary each year following the completion of annual performance appraisals.

The main components of SES remuneration are salary, employer superannuation contributions and car parking. During 2012–13, the department's Executive Board took a decision to cease the Executive Vehicle Scheme and applied an adjustment to base salary to compensate for the loss of access to an Australian Government leased vehicle for personal use. The adjustment to base salary is occurring on a phased basis, applying to individual SES employees from the date following the expiry of the lease on the vehicle assigned to each employee. The transition will be completed in March 2015.

Staff profile

Following the machinery of government Administrative Arrangements Order of 18 September 2013, the new Ministry for the Arts became part of the department, transferring 185 staff from the former Department of Regional Development, Local Government, Arts and Sport. This machinery of government change also saw 33 staff involved in Indigenous policies and programmes transfer to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Table 15: Staffing trends (headcount) from 2009 to 2014

2008–09
2009–10
2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
TOTAL STAFF
1,649
1,682
1,640
1,527
1,465
1,713
Ongoing
1,486
1,536
1,480
1,420
1,295
1,366
Non-ongoing
126
146
129
83
170
318
Irregular/intermittent/casual
37
33
31
24
26
29
Average age (years)
38
38
38
38
38
37
Average length of AGD service (years)
4.2
4.2
4.4
4.9
4.8
4.3
Proportion female (per cent)
64.6
62.8
62.3
62.5
62.7
65.8
Proportion male (per cent)
35.4
37.2
37.7
37.5
37.3
34.2
Proportion part-time (per cent)
7.9
7.8
10.4
10
13
13.3
SES
91
74
77
78
64
65
EL1 and 2 equivalent
595
664
658
657
633
667
APS 1–6 equivalent
973
944
905
792
768
981
Total excluding casuals
1,612
1,682
1,609
1,503
1,465
1,684

Note: At 30 June of each year. Classifications based on substantive positions. Figures for years 2009–12 may differ from those previously reported due to inconsistent methodology in inclusions.

Staff turnover and retention

During 2013–14, the department's ongoing separation rate was 11.6 per cent, higher than the 2012–13 rate of 10.3 per cent. This was due to an increase in voluntary redundancies accepted in 2013–14. The rate includes all separations for ongoing staff and consists of terminations, redundancies, resignations and retirements. It does not include movement of ongoing staff to other agencies or machinery of government transfers.

The employee-initiated turnover rate for 2013–14 was 11.1 per cent. This includes resignation from the APS, movement to other agencies, retirements and voluntary early cessation of non-ongoing contracts.
It does not include voluntary redundancies.

Staff remuneration

Table 16: Salary ranges as at 30 June 2014

Classification
Salary range under the
Enterprise Agreement
Section 24(1) Determinations
SES Band 3
n/a
$309,000 – $338,000
SES Band 2
n/a
$247,460 – $287,500
SES Band 1
n/a
$175,904 – $224,673
Executive Level 2
$115,778 – $174,819
n/a
Principal Legal Officer
$115,778 – $152,968
n/a
Executive Level 1
$95,154 – $128,583
n/a
Senior Legal Officer
$95,154 – $115,778
n/a
APS Level 5–6
$69,056 – $98,665
n/a
APS Level 4
$61,910 – $67,220
n/a
Legal Officer
$55,550 – $87,601
n/a
APS Level 3
$55,550 – $59,952
n/a
Graduate APS
$55,139 – $56,515
n/a
APS Level 1–2
$43,957 – $55,164
n/a
Cadet APS (practical training)
$43,095 – $47,626
n/a
Cadet APS (full-time study)
$23,511 – $23,511
n/a

Note: Where a salary level for a particular classification appearing in column two above exceeds the maximum salary applicable to a classification set out in Schedule 1 of the enterprise agreement, this is the result of an employee in receipt of supplementary salary under an IFA under clause 3.54 of the enterprise agreement.

Compliance with the agency's obligations under the
Carer Recognition Act 2010

The department promotes an awareness and understanding of the Statement for Australia's Carers through inclusion of the statement on the department's intranet, thus making it available to all employees. The department is cognisant of, and has regard to, the statement in reviewing internal human resources policies. The department's human resource policies overall are consistent with the statement.

Work health and safety

We are committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all employees, and to meeting obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Health and Safety Committee

The department's Health and Safety Committee contributes to the continuous improvement in the minimisation and elimination of hazards and risks as well as working to promote work health and safety. The committee implemented awareness campaigns across the department on work-life balance, psychological injury, workplace conflict, and prevention and management of stress-related symptoms. The committee met four times during the year, with key consideration given to the implementation of the Rehabilitation Management System. Minutes of meetings were published on the department's intranet.

WHS management framework

Our WHS management framework comprises a suite of policies, procedures and guidelines. In line with legislative changes in 2013–14, we revised and updated the WHS Incident Reporting and Bullying and Harassment components of the WHS Management Framework. The department implemented a Rehabilitation Management System on 1 July 2013 as required by the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012 (the rehabilitation guidelines). The Rehabilitation Management System documents the department's policies and procedures governing:

  • the provision of early intervention programmes to support injured employees to remain at work
  • where injured employees are incapacitated, the provision of rehabilitation to assist with the timely, safe, durable and cost effective return to work.

Reporting of incidents and enforcement measures under the WHS Act

Table 17: Reporting of incidents and enforcement measures under the WHS Act

Incidents and enforcement measures
Number
Section 38: Notifiable Incidents One incident was reported under section 38 of the WHS Act
Part 10: Enforcement Measures (Improvement Notices, Prohibition Notices, Non-disturbance Notices, Remedial Action and Injunctions) No investigations were conducted by the Regulator or enforcement actions taken under Part 10 of the WHS Act
Part 11: Enforceable Undertakings No Enforceable Undertakings under Part 11 of the WHS Act applied to the department's operations

Other initiatives

We continued to conduct regular workplace inspections during 2013–14. Inspections conducted by Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) assist with identifying hazards and potential risks in the workplace, and provide opportunities to improve safe work practices.

We continued to utilise trained HSRs to conduct basic ergonomic workstation assessments for employees, while more complex workstation and workplace assessments were facilitated by a panel of external providers. During 2013–14, 252 workstation assessments were conducted for staff, with 116
(46 per cent) conducted internally by HSRs.

Under our Health and Wellbeing Programme, an influenza vaccination programme for employees was conducted with 697 employees electing to receive vaccinations during April and May 2014. Financial reimbursement options for eye-sight testing, quit smoking solutions, health and wellbeing activities and related equipment also contribute to the health and wellbeing of employees under the programme.

We have continued to maintain an Employee Assistance Programme for all employees. The programme provides free, confidential and professional counselling services and trauma/critical incident debriefing to help resolve work and other issues that may affect an employee's work performance and/or wellbeing.

Workers' compensation performance

Our workers' compensation premium for 2013–14 was 0.68 per cent of payroll costs. This performance compares favourably to other similar-sized agencies. The department continues to invest in improved injury prevention and rehabilitation strategies through the recent implementation of its Rehabilitation Management System.

In March 2014, Comcare released data showing indicators of claims performance in the 2012–13 financial year for larger Commonwealth premium paying employers. The department ranked second lowest in number of claims lodged (3.8) and claims accepted (2.3) when compared with other similar-sized departments.

Table 18: Premium rates comparison, 2010–11 to 2013–14

Premium Rate
2010–11
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
Attorney-General's Department
0.22 per cent
0.21 per cent
0.64 per cent
0.68 per cent
All agencies (average)
1.20 per cent
1.41 per cent
1.77 per cent
1.81 per cent

Asset management, purchasing and grants

Asset management

To ensure the effectiveness of the department's asset management, it is aligned with government best practice. The Secretary has issued a Chief Executive's Instruction on asset management, and the department has documented asset policies and procedures on the management and safeguarding of assets. Asset registers are maintained and a three-year rolling stocktake occurs to verify their accuracy.

The department's fixed asset base is composed of a wide range of asset types, including office fit-outs, purchased and internally-developed software, computer equipment, infrastructure and centrally-held library materials. On 18 September 2013, the department assumed responsibility for the Ministry for the Arts including the heritage and cultural collection held by Artbank as part of the Administrative Arrangement Orders. As a result the department's assets increased—$37.750 million for departmental assets and $66.863 million for administered assets.

Purchasing

To ensure the effectiveness of the department's purchasing against core principles and policies, it is aligned with government best practice. The department procures goods and services consistent with the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. These rules are applied to procurement activities through the Chief Executive's Instructions and the department's Financial Guidance and Procedure Manual. A financial management learning and development programme includes modules on procurement and contract management as well as on the Chief Executive's Instructions and delegations.

Over 2013–14 a central procurement advisory unit within the department provided advice to staff involved in procurement activities. In addition, the unit undertook quality assurance testing of procurement activities across the department. The unit periodically reviewed all procurement-related documentation and training material to ensure consistency with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and other policies that interact with procurement. The department utilised a procurement module within our financial management information system to enhance administrative workflows and procurement compliance. The introduction of this module was supported by the revision of internal procurement rules, guidance, forms and templates to provide clear and consistent advice to staff.

Consultants

The department engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined reviews or evaluations, or provide independent advice, information and/or develop creative solutions to assist in the department's decision making.

Prior to engaging consultants, the department takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the FMA Act and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies.

During 2013–14, 45 new consultancy contracts were entered into, involving total actual expenditure of $3.613 million. In addition, seven ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2013–14 year involving total actual expenditure of $0.377 million.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website (www.tenders.gov.au).

Table 19: Expenditure on consultancy

Financial year
2011–12
2012–13
2013–14
Expenditure
$3.86 million
$3.375 million
$3.991 million

Contracts—ANAO access clauses

During 2013–14, the department had 11 contracts over the value of $100,000 that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises.

Table 20: Contracts

Name
Purpose
Value
Reason
Telstra National Security Hotline White Pages Entry
$104,375
Supplier contract
Microsoft Pty Ltd Microsoft Premier Agreement
$1,120,903
Supplier contract
ESRI Australia Pty Ltd Critical Infrastructure Programme for Modelling and Assistance—software licence renewal
$118,558
Supplier contract
Investa Asset Management Pty Ltd Outgoing costs for leased accommodation
$815,793
Supplier contract
Akamai Technologies Netherlands B.V Hearings webcast and content management
$462,000
Supplier contract
Cheetah Design & Print Pty Ltd Printing of the interim report for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
$130,000
Supplier contract
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Information management architecture for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
$150,000
Supplier contract
University of South Australia Professorial Fellow to provide strategic governance and quality assurance
$592,680
Supplier contract
Mercure Perth Booking for interviews and private sessions in Perth for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
$250,000
Venue hire contract
Novotel Brisbane Booking for interviews and private sessions in Brisbane for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
$250,000
Venue hire contract
Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney Booking for interviews and private sessions in Sydney for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
$250,000
Venue hire contract

Note: The department has not included in the above eight other arrangements that were in the nature of non-statutory appointments and/or employment contracts.

Contracts—AusTender exempt

Departments are required to advise if any contract in excess of $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or a standing offer has been exempted by the Secretary from being published on AusTender on the basis that it would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). The fact that the contract has been exempted and the value of the contract or standing offer must be reported to the extent that doing so does not in itself disclose the exempt matters.

During 2013–14, the department had six contracts to a value of $1.3 million which were exempt from being published in AusTender on the basis that to do so would disclose exempt matters under the FOI Act.

Advertising and market research

Under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 the department is required to disclose payments of $12,400 or more (inclusive of GST) to specific types of organisations. These organisations are advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, media advertising organisations and direct mail organisations.

During 2013–14, the department conducted one advertising campaign. There were no payments to direct mail or polling organisations. Details of payments to the other categories of organisations are set out below.

Table 21: Payments to advertising, market research and other designated organisations

Name of organisation
Payment ($)
Purpose
Key
Adcorp Australia Limited
$585,318.32
Non-campaign government advertising
C
Universal McCann
$66,211
Living Safe Together Website Promotion
C
Universal McCann
$1,455,628
Public awareness campaign relating to the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and to inform those who have experienced child sexual abuse, within an institution, of how to tell their story
C
Gfk Australia Pty Ltd
$93,449.40
Countering Violent Extremism communications
B
Gfk Australia Pty Ltd
$187,110
Overseas conflicts communications
B
Orima Research
$12,465
Client satisfaction survey—AusCheck
B
Di Marzio Research
$55,825
Developmental research—Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network
B
Di Marzio Research
$14,300
Overseas conflicts communications
B
Di Marzio Research
$27,500
Countering Violent Extremism and overseas conflicts communications
B

Key

A: Paid to a creative advertising agency to develop advertising campaign.

B: Paid to a market research organisation.

C: Paid to a media advertising organisation for placing government advertising (both campaign and non-campaign)
in the media.

Grant programmes

The department manages its grants programmes in accordance with the Australian Government's legislative framework, the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines and the department's grant management procedures. From October 2013, the published grants information includes details of grants awarded by the Ministry for the Arts. Information on grants awarded by the department is available at
www.ag.gov.au/about/grants.

In 2013–14, the department published information on the grants registers for 23 departmental grant programmes and 17 for the Ministry for the Arts:

Attorney-General's Department

  • Australia–New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee
  • Community Legal Services Programme
  • Countering Violent Extremism to Prevent Terrorism
  • Disaster Resilience Australia Package
  • Family Relationships Services Programme
  • Financial Assistance Towards Legal Costs and Related Expenses
  • Financial Assistance Towards Legal Costs and Related Expenses—Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • Financial Assistance Towards Legal Costs and Related Expenses—Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program
  • Financial Assistance Towards Legal Costs and Related Expenses—Royal Commission into Trade Unions Governance and Corruption
  • Grants to Australian Organisations Programme
  • Indigenous Justice Programme
  • Indigenous Legal Assistance and Policy Reform Programme
  • Legal Aid Programme
  • National Aerial Firefighting Centre
  • Native Title Anthropologist Grants Programme
  • Native Title Respondents Scheme
  • One-off grant for the 2014 World Volunteer Conference
  • One-off grant to support the International Cyber Policy Centre
  • One-off grant for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2014 Native Title Conference
  • Payments for the provision of community legal services—Legal advice service supporting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002—section 298 payment
  • Safer Suburbs Programme
  • Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory—Community Safety and Justice Measure

Ministry for the Arts

  • Arts and Cultural Development
  • ArtsReady
  • Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance Programme
  • Indigenous Culture Support
  • Indigenous Employment Initiative
  • Indigenous Languages Support
  • Indigenous Repatriation
  • Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support
  • Location Incentives
  • National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Programme
  • National Cultural Heritage Account
  • One-off grant to support a vocational training project for Pacific Opera
  • One-off grant for the Constitutional Education Fund Australia
  • Prime Minister's History Prize
  • Prime Minister's Literary Awards
  • Support for Contemporary Music
  • Visual Arts and Craft Strategy Indigenous Art Centres

Information management

Information and system management continued to be a priority for the department in 2013–14. A focus for the year was providing support for the integration of new business units within the department, particularly with the inclusion of the Ministry for the Arts. Other transitional activities included compliance with the whole-of-government secure internet gateway and digital information management policies. A significant number of business system development projects were also completed within the financial year.

Ecologically sustainable development

Our organisation is committed to tackling the challenge of reducing our everyday environmental impact. We recognise that our daily operations do have an effect on the environment, consuming resources such as electricity, paper and water, and generating waste. However, we strive to conduct our operations in an environmentally responsible manner, including efficient use of resources and effective waste management.

A range of practical strategies are in place to minimise our impact on the environment, including:

  • electronic document management systems and web based information sharing tools that reduce or eliminate the need to print and retain paper copies of documents
  • videoconferencing to reduce the need for local, interstate and international travel
  • reviewing leased buildings and cooperating and encouraging building owners to improve energy performance
  • ensuring that any new leases entered into comply with the Australian Government's energy policy
  • procuring energy efficient equipment and lighting solutions, including a smart lighting system that activates only when areas are occupied
  • recycling facilities in all work areas.

The department has established the Green group to champion environmentally friendly work practices and initiatives. The Green group works to provide the leadership, motivation and information needed to raise awareness and increase participation in environmentally friendly work practices and initiatives, including:

  • promoting and encouraging environmentally sustainable work practices
  • raising awareness and understanding of environmental issues for the department
  • providing information to the department about environmental initiatives
  • providing a forum for staff to discuss environmentally sustainable work practices.

The integration of energy efficiency practices into our organisation and planning processes allows us both to reduce our energy costs and decrease consumption of valuable resources.

The department reports under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on how our activities accord with, and our outcomes contribute to, the principles of ecologically sustainable development, as well as the effect of our activities on the environment.

Our activities are consistent with the ecologically sustainable development principle that 'decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations'. Further information on the environmentally sustainable development principles can be found at www.environment.gov.au.

The department addresses the principles of 'inter-generational equity' and 'improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms' by applying the Chief Executive Instructions on Environmental Management and the Green Lease Schedule. Principles of the Act, which relate to scientific certainty and biological diversity respectively, are generally of limited application to our activities.

Freedom of information

Information publication scheme

Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Our website (www.ag.gov.au) displays a plan showing the information we publish in accordance with the scheme requirements.

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