Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2008
Managing the department (continued)
The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts aims to attract, develop, engage and retain quality people to help ensure corporate goals are achieved, and changing business needs are met.
- Managed Machinery of Government changes that ensured the smooth transition of over 300 staff from the Arts and Culture areas of the Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts, and the establishment of the Department of Climate Change.
- Implemented the Government’s new employment framework, which prohibits new Australian Workplace Agreements and now places greater reliance on the Department’s Collective Agreement as the principal means of setting employment conditions.
- Initiated a number of key initiatives as part of the department’s Workforce Planning strategy, to address issues such as an ageing workforce, greater diversity and skills shortages. Initiatives included a doubling of the number of recruits in the Graduate Program, a pilot School Leavers Program, an Indigenous Cadets Program and an intra-departmental Indigenous Secondment Program.
- Strengthened performance in the occupational health and safety area through a comprehensive review of policies and procedures, and the implementation of new Health and Safety Arrangements.
- Introduced a comprehensive leadership program for Executive Level employees, aimed at consolidating leadership and management skills at the frontline manager level and strengthening succession planning in the department.
- Commenced development of an accommodation strategy for the department’s Canberra employees, which would result in all staff working in a single location.
The department initiated its first comprehensive workforce planning process in 2006–07, and a number of its most important elements were implemented in 2007–08. As with much of the Australian Public Service (APS), the issue of an ageing workforce was identified as a key concern. A dramatic expansion of the graduate recruitment program, and establishment of a School Leaver Traineeship program were two responses to this.
The number of people recruited as part of the graduate program was increased from 16 in February 2006 to 33 in February 2007, and to 60 in February 2008, making the department one of the most significant employers of graduates in the APS. During their first year, graduates complete placements in three different areas of the department, and undertake a comprehensive development program. Strong retention rates and feedback demonstrating high levels of satisfaction with the program have been maintained, despite its rapid expansion.
To access a different element of the employment market, a pilot School Leaver Traineeship program commenced in February 2008. Nine recent Year 12 school leavers are undertaking a Certificate IV in Government course and three rotation placements throughout the Department. The program is due to conclude in December 2008, with trainees who successfully complete the program to be offered ongoing employment with the department.
The department is also committed to greater diversity as part of its Workforce Plan, and in particular to increase the number of its Indigenous employees in Canberra, and offer them a range of employment opportunities. An Indigenous cadetship program was established this year, with three Indigenous undergraduate students financially supported to undertake full-time tertiary studies and work in the department during vacations. An intra-departmental Indigenous secondment program has also been developed and launched, enabling Indigenous employees to undertake extended work placements in other divisions.
The tight labour market has also made it imperative that the department has responsive and flexible recruitment practices. Following an internal audit of recruitment management in 2007, work has been conducted to improve the effectiveness of the department’s recruitment policies and practices. An online recruitment system has been introduced and recruitment policies and guidelines have been extensively revised to improve the quality and timeliness of recruitment and selection outcomes.
The Workforce Plan also focused on ensuring the retention and engagement of existing staff. To this end, greater efforts have been made to gauge the engagement and satisfaction of the department’s employees. Surveying of recently commenced employees and employees leaving the department has provided valuable information about the attraction and retention of employees. Analysis of exit data indicated that the department was particularly at risk of losing staff who had been employed for less than 12 months. To help understand and address this, all staff are now surveyed after six months employment to ascertain satisfaction levels, and to identify whether action is needed to address specific concerns.
The retention rate for ongoing employees in 2007–08 was 90.3 per cent compared to 89.75 per cent in 2006–07. The overall separation rate (including promotions and transfers to other APS agencies) was 23.13 per cent, a fall from 23.2 per cent in 2006–071. This figure includes the department’s non-ongoing employees primarily employed to meet seasonal operational needs in the Australian Antarctic Division and some of the national parks. Excluding these employees the separation rate for ongoing employees was 8.75 percent representing a fall from 10.42 per cent in 2006–07.
- Provide statistics on staffing, including: the number of APS employees (ongoing and non-ongoing) as at 30 June 2008, by: (1) broadband classification; (2) full-time/part-time status; (3) gender; and (4) location.
- Staff retention and turnover statistics.
- Compare current and previous year.
The department has a diverse workforce carrying out a range of responsibilities across Australia and in Australia’s external territories.
The department’s workforce statistics are presented in the tables on the following pages. All statistics are as at 30 June 2008.
|Secretary||Secretary of the department|
|PEO||Principal Executive Officer. Refers to Director of National Parks, a statutory office holder.|
|SES 1–3||Senior Executive Service bands 1–3. Includes Chief of Division, Australian Antarctic Division.|
|EL 1–2||Executive Level bands 1–2. Includes equivalent Australian Antarctic Division bands 7–8.|
|APS 1–6||Australian Public Service levels 1–6. Includes equivalent Australian Antarctic Division levels 1–6. Includes graduate program recruits.|
|RS 1–3||Research Scientist (equivalent to APS 6 or EL 1), Senior Research Scientist (equivalent to EL 2) and Principal Research Scientist (equivalent to EL 2).|
|AMP 1–2||Antarctic Medical Practitioner levels 1–2 (Expeditioner).|
|AE 1–3||Antarctic Expeditioner bands 1–3.|
|LO 1–3||Legal Officer (equivalent to APS 3–6), Senior Legal Officer (equivalent to EL 1) and Principal Legal Officer (equivalent to EL 2).|
|PAO 1–4||Public Affairs Officer 1–2 (equivalent to APS 3–6), Public Affairs Officer 3 (equivalent to EL 1) and Senior Public Affairs Officer (equivalent to EL 2).|
|Secretary||PEO||SES 1–3||EL 1–2||APS 1–6||RS 1–3||AMP 1–2||AE 1–3||LO 1–3||PAO 1–4|
|New South Wales||Female||3||11||14|
|Non-ongoing||Ongoing||Total by Gender||Total|
|Female||Male||Sub Total||Female||Male||Sub Total||Female||Male|
|Parks Australia Division||35||37||72||67||117||184||102||154||256|
|Dept – all other Divisions||146||150||296||1033||825||1858||1179||975||2154|
|Non-ongoing||Ongoing||Total by Gender||Total|
|Parks Australia Division||77||70||147||16||4||20||93||74||167|
|Dept – all other Divisions||77||26||103||224||56||280||301||82||383|
the statistics do not include the Secretary or the Principal Executive Officer
Following the November 2007 general election, new arrangements for making agreements in the APS were introduced by the Government and came into effect from February 2008. A key feature was the prohibition on new Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) in the Australian workforce, while existing AWAs were to continue until replaced or terminated under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Within the department 24.4% of staff continue to be covered by an AWA, predominantly at the SES and Executive Levels. The majority of AWAs have a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2009.
Employment conditions for employees not on AWAs are set out in the department’s Collective Agreement (the Department of the Environment and Heritage Collective Agreement 2006–09). This has a notional expiry date of 10 August 2009. The Collective Agreement continues to make an important contribution to increasing the department’s efficiency and effectiveness, improving the policy and program outcomes and enhancing the working lives of employees.
For new non-SES employees, the Collective Agreement is the principal instrument that sets out terms and conditions of employment. Where necessary to attract quality candidates, supplementary terms and conditions are managed through the use of determinations under the applicable employing legislation (generally a section 24(1) determination under the Public Service Act 1999).
Remuneration arrangements for SES employees are determined by the Secretary, based on individual capacity and job requirements. General conditions were agreed and previously set through a comprehensive AWA. For new SES employees, a determination under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 is being used to set terms and conditions of employment.
|Number of employees under each type of employment agreement|
|Type of agreement||Classification||Total|
|Australian Workplace Agreements||66||657||723|
|Collective agreement (department)||-||2233||2233|
- The figures for Australian Workplace Agreements do not include the principal executive officer position and exclude employees on temporary transfer to another agency who would otherwise be covered by an Australian Workplace Agreement.
- All figures include employees on leave without pay.
- Other reflects SES whose terms and conditions are set under s24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999
|Classification||Collective agreement||Australian Workplace Agreement|
|Australian Public Service Level 1–2||$35,182 – $44,417|
|Australian Public Service Level 3||$45,902 – $50,156|
|Australian Public Service Level 4||$51,664 – $54,810||$51,664 – $54,810|
|Australian Public Service Level 5||$56,455 – $59,890||$56,455 – $59,890|
|Australian Public Service Level 6||$61,688 – $69,795||$61,688 – $69,795|
|Executive Level 1||$75,868 – $84,158||$75,868 – $91,271|
|Executive Level 2||$90,891 – $102,299||$90,891 – $114,400|
|Public Affairs Officer 1||$51,664 – $59,890|
|Public Affairs Officer 2||$65,445 – $72,099||$65,445 – $72,099|
|Public Affairs Officer 3||$79,548 – $99,319||$79,548 – $99,319|
|Senior Public Affairs Officer 1–2||$102,299 – $108,532||$102,299 – $111,532|
|Legal Officer||$47,280 – $69,795|
|Senior Legal Officer||$75,868 – $93,618||$75,868 – $93,618|
|Principal Legal Officer||$99,319 – $105,372||$99,319 – $108,372|
|Research Scientist||$61,688 – $84,158||$61,688 – $84,158|
|Senior Research Scientist||$87,701 – $108,532||$87,701 – $111,532|
|Principal Research Scientist||$111,788 – $122,154||$111,788 – $125,154|
|Senior Principal Research Scientist||$129,483 – $141,491||$129,483 – $144,491|
|Antarctic Medical Practitioner Level 1 (Head Office)||$102,299 – $115,143||$102,299 – $115,143|
|Antarctic Medical Practitioner Level 2 (Head Office)||$118,597 – $129,483||$118,597 – $132,483|
|Expeditioner Band 1||$44,796 – $59,984|
|Expeditioner Band 2||$55,133 – $74,406|
|Expeditioner Band 3||$76,575 – $87,807|
|Antarctic Medical Practitioner Level 1 (Expeditioner)||$118,597 – $132,483|
|Chief of Division 1||$124,200 – $143,000|
|Senior Executive Service 1||$124,200 – $143,000|
|Senior Executive Service 2||$154,400 – $177,700|
|Senior Executive Service 3||$192,000 – $225,200|
Does not include salaries relating to the Principal Executive Officer position or the Secretary as they are not employed under the collective agreement or an Australian Workplace Agreement.
SES and non-SES staff may be eligible for payment of performance pay. Details of payments made during 2007–08 are detailed in the tables below. Provision of payment is linked directly to an individual’s performance assessment outcome.
|Performance pay for employees up to executive level 2|
|Performance pay statistic||Classification|
|APS 1–6||Executive Level 1||Executive Level 2|
|Number of performance payments||19||7||295||347||171||233|
|Average performance pay||$3,177||$4,932||$4,583||$4,556||$6,206||$6,685|
|Range of performance pay||$241–$6,244||$1,215–$7,417||$505–$9,364||$243–$13,285||$717–$14,567||$233–$12,163|
- Performance pay bonus payments made in 2006–07 are for the 2005–06 appraisal cycle. Performance pay bonus payments made in 2007–08 are for the 2006–07 appraisal cycle.
- Some payments were made on a pro-rata basis as employment did not span the full appraisal period.
|Performance pay statistic||Classification|
|SES bands 2 and 3||SES band 1|
|Number of performance payments||14||18||33||39|
|Average performance pay||$8,436||$13,484||$5,497||$7,991|
|Range of performance pay||$4,233–$18,729||$5,097–$32,475||$876–$11,752||$951–$13,750|
- Performance pay bonus payments made in 2006–07 are for the 2005–06 appraisal cycle. Performance pay bonus paymentsmade in 2007–08 are for the 2006–07 appraisal cycle.
- Some payments were made on a pro-ratabasis as employment did not span the full appraisal period.
- Payments do not include the Secretary and the Principal Executive Officer.
The department’s performance management scheme has been in place since July 2005, and involves all employees engaged for three months or more. Commitment is driven in part by the fact that salary increases set out in the collective agreement are dependent on a 95 per cent participation rate in the scheme. A key aim of the scheme is to ensure a high level of clarity exists between managers and employees about job responsibilities and performance expectations. The scheme also seeks to ensure performance issues are identified and addressed in a timely way.
Effective and targeted learning and development strategies are a fundamental element of the department’s ability to retain quality staff, and strengthen our talent identification and succession management processes. As part of this, and to ensure all staff have access to the learning and development opportunities needed to undertake their work, each staff member is required to have a learning plan, which clearly identifies both the learning needs and the solutions.
Learning and development in the department is mostly devolved to divisions, as these are best placed to identify and provide appropriate learning and development activities to their staff. Where a broader need is identified, the People Management Branch coordinates departmental programs.
In 2007–08, one such broader need that was identified was for a comprehensive leadership program for Executive Level employees. This aimed at consolidating leadership and management skills at the frontline manager level, while engaging SES staff to deliver aspects of the program, in turn furthering their development. During 2008 the final leadership program elements were launched, including a residential program and 360 degrees feedback. Over two hundred Executive Level staff have participated in one or more of the elements to date.
The department continued to use online learning to educate employees about concepts, business processes and computer applications. An online orientation program enables new employees to rapidly gain knowledge of departmental practices and procedures, while online IT training programs assist staff to improve their computer skills.
Efforts to increase the diversity of the DEWHA workforce, outlined above, have been reinforced with Workplace Diversity sessions to raise the awareness of existing employees about its importance, and increase prospects of retaining a diverse workforce. Such sessions were held on nine occasions throughout the year and six Indigenous Cultural Awareness programs were also conducted.
Staff continued to utilise external development programs where the focus is on broader management and leadership skill development. Four staff members are undertaking the Public Sector Management Course, and a further four undertaking the Career Development Assessment Centre (CDAC) program of the Australian Public Service Commission. These courses, along with the department’s leadership development program, are important elements of the department’s succession management and identification processes.
The department has developed a range of reward and recognition programs, both formal and informal, to help ensure that initiative, commitment and high performance are recognised in appropriate and timely ways. This includes participation in formal Australian Public Service-wide recognition programs as well as celebrating department-wide employee excellence by recognising outstanding team and individual performance.
A key program has been departmental recognition through Australia Day Achievement Awards. Thirty-one awards were announced for 11 individuals and 20 teams, within the portfolio at the Department’s 2008 Australia Day Award ceremony on 7 February. Award recipients ranged from the department’s Indigenous recruitment and development manager, to members of the Australian Delegation to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and to Ms Anne Siwicki, an officer in the Australian Embassy in Paris, who was recognised for her significant contribution to the Department’s interests in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) over nearly 30 years.
In August 2007, the Secretary presented awards to 12 individuals and three teams to recognise and reward the consistently good efforts of staff who set the benchmark for the type of work they have undertaken. In addition, 14 individuals were nominated by their peers to receive awards to recognise their contribution as effective mentors and role models.
Outstanding work was also recognised at a divisional level with individuals and teams being recognised by the awarding of certificates for contributions to the work and outcomes of respective divisions.
The department’s occupational health and safety policies aim to ensure a safe and healthy workplace in line with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991. In particular, the department strives to provide a safe system of work practices to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. Under its rehabilitation policy and guidelines, the department supports injured and ill employees and provides an early-return-to-work program.
An important focus in 2007–08 was the development of new Health and Safety Management Arrangements in compliance with the legislative requirements of the amended Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991, enacted in March 2007. In addition, during the year the Department has put in place a number of measures to actively promote a healthy workforce, such as on-site gymnasium facilities in two of its buildings in the ACT and a 10,000 step challenge for all staff.
The Australian Antarctic Division has a separate agreement because of the specialised occupational health and safety challenges faced by expedition members and others working in the Antarctic.
Section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 addresses the requirement for employees to report to Comcare accidents or incidents that cause death or serious personal injury or incapacity, or that are otherwise dangerous. This year 31 accidents or incidents were reported to Comcare: three from Canberra workplaces; 23 from Parks Australia remote workplaces; and five from the Australian Antarctic Division.
There was one investigation by Comcare into a reported traffic hazard incident at Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park during the year. The investigation is still underway.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy is a framework for Australian Government departments to help them improve access for people with disabilities to government programs, services and facilities. The strategy includes a performance reporting framework built around the five key roles of government: policy adviser, regulator, purchaser, provider and employer. Departments must include reports on their performance in implementing the strategy in their annual reports.
In developing the strategies for the DEWHA Disability Action Plan 2008–2010, wide ranging consultation occurred with the Executive and employees throughout Australia in 2007–08.
The department is committed to ongoing implementation of the objectives and recommendations of the Management Advisory Committee Report – Employment of People with Disability in the APS. To reflect this commitment, the department’s Human Resource Information System is being amended to include the recommended definition of disability in the equity and diversity section, where employees are asked to self-identify for any disability. All employees are being asked to re-examine their equity and diversity information based on this new definition. Employees who self-identify will be asked if they require any assistance in their workplace and/or method of working to help them address their disability. This initiative has the potential to improve the working environment of employees with disability and improve the quality of data on staff with a disability.
Employee feedback also highlighted the need to review designated parking arrangements for staff with both long-term and short-term special parking needs. A Parking Policy has subsequently been developed and implemented in conjunction the Disability Action Plan 2008–2010.
Following the launch of the DEWHA Disability Action Plan 2008–2010, all employees will be actively encouraged to implement and act on the proposed strategies. Awareness raising sessions will also be conducted to encourage and foster continued employment and retention of people with disability.
The department is committed to strengthening consultation with, and consideration of, the needs of both potential and existing employees with disability.
In particular, substantial progress has been made in meeting the current and future needs of staff members who utilise voice activated software by establishing a user group. A help desk facility has been established and contracts/licences established to ensure that all users within the department are working with the same software.
|Performance indicator||Results 2007–08|
|New or revised policy/program proposals assess the impact on the lives of people with disabilities prior to decision||The department’s Disability Action Plan 2004–2006 has been reviewed and revised to ensure that the department continues to meet the performance reporting requirements established by the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. The Action Plan also addresses the recommendations of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) Report – Employment of People with Disability in the APS.
The launch of the updated Disability Action Plan 2008–2010 is imminent. The plan applies to all employees, contractors, and clients of the department.
|People with disabilities are included in consultation about new or revised policy/ program proposals||Under the current plan, policy developers and reviewers are required to complete a “Checklist for Developing Reports, Policies and Procedures in Consultation with People with Disabilities”. Commonwealth Disability Strategy principles must be addressed before sign off on both internal and external policies and procedures.|
|Public announcements of new or proposed policy/program initiatives are available in accessible formats for people with disabilities||The Community Information Unit provides public access to information on the department’s activities.
For information provided on the website, the department is committed to meeting best practice guidelines and the priority-one requirements of the World Wide Web Consortium Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Significant redesign has been undertaken to meet the Government Online standards for access for people with disabilities or having technical constraints with their browsers and internet connections. For technical reasons and to meet some legal requirements, the department’s web site has a limited number of documents that cannot be provided in html format. In such cases, contact details have been provided for the supply of alternative non-web formats.
|Publicly available information on regulations and quasi-regulations is available in accessible formats for people with disabilities
Publicly available regulatory compliance reporting is available in accessible formats for people with disabilities
|Legislation is accessible via the internet (www.environment.gov.au/about/legislation.html)
Additional fact sheets are available on request from the Community Information Unit
Legislative instruments are accessible via the internet (www.comlaw.gov.au ) Administrative instruments are available in the Australian Government Gazette and, where required, on the department’s website.
The department responds to specific requests by fax, email or post.
|Processes for purchasing goods and services with a direct impact on the lives of people with disabilities are developed in consultation with people with disabilities||Purchasing specifications and contract requirements for the purchase of goods and services are consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and are available in accessible formats for people with disabilities.
In the purchase and deployment of Information and Communications Technology, DEWHA uses the Assistive Technology for Employees of Australian Government Better Practice Checklist 1.
All procurement actions stipulate the need for equipment that is user friendly for people with disabilities.
Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, are in place to address any concerns raised about procurement.
|Purchasing specifications and contract requirements for the purchase of goods and/or services are consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992||The department’s procurement guidelines complement the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, January 2005, and are consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Long and short form contracts both make reference to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The department’s request for tender template is being revised to make reference to the Act.
|Publicly available information on agreed purchase specifications is provided in accessible formats for people with disabilities||The department’s procurements valued at $80,000 or more are advertised and are available for download on AusTender, which meets the Australian Government online standards on access for people with disabilities.|
|Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, are available to address issues and concerns about purchasers’ performance||The department has a complaints and grievance mechanism in place in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines.|
|Service Provider role|
|Mechanisms are in place for quality improvement and assurance||Service Providers have established mechanisms in place for ongoing quality improvement and assurance.
Where practicable and safe, access is provided to public areas of Commonwealth parks and reserves. However, physical access to the terrestrial reserves varies according to the nature of the terrain.
Information on parks and reserves is available in accessible formats on the department’s website (www.environment.gov.au/parks and reserves) and in hard copy from park management.
|Service charters have been developed that specify the roles of the provider and consumer and adequately reflect the needs of people with disabilities||The department’s service charter commits the department to be respectful and sensitive to the needs of all clients.|
|Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, are available to address concerns raised about performance||There were no reported access related complaints received by the National Parks in 2007–2008.
The Australian National Botanic Gardens received two ‘disability related access complaints’ in 2007–2008 and the internal complaints mechanism was used for dealing with these complaints.
|Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in accessible formats on request||Applicants are requested to advise whether they require accessible formats when preparing their application. Applicants are also asked to advise whether they require special arrangements during the recruitment process.|
|Agency recruiters and managers apply the principle of reasonable adjustment||The department’s recruitment and selection policy and procedures require recruiters and managers to actively apply the principle of reasonable adjustment.|
|Training and development programs consider the needs of employees with disabilities||In-house and external training and development programs incorporate information on people with disabilities, where this is relevant, and ensure that accessible venues are used to meet the needs of disabled participants.|
|Training and development programs include information on disability issues as they relate to the content of the programs||For in-house training, all internal and external providers must ensure that disability issues are addressed in the delivery of their programs.
Managers are responsible for monitoring whether information on disability issues is provided when referring staff to individual programs provided by the private sector.
|Complaints or grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, are in place to address issues and concerns raised by staff||The collective agreement 2006–2009 sets out complete procedures for complaints and grievances. These procedures apply to all employees and situations.|
1 Australian Government Information Management Office, Assistive Technology for Employees of Australian Government, Better Practice Checklist No. 22.
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