Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2008
Managing the department
The department has a sound governance framework, which encompasses a range of strategies and controls for effective performance. A network of executive committees monitors performance and directs policy in the department. The committees are underpinned by effective planning, management of risks and independent audits, to ensure the continued integrity of the department’s business activities.
Senior executive and responsibilities
The Secretary, Mr David Borthwick, is the chief executive officer of the department. He is assisted in the management of the organisation by an executive team of four deputy secretaries and 17 division heads. The names and responsibilities of the division heads are shown in the organisation chart in the executive summary.
Senior Executive Team
Mr David Borthwick was appointed Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Heritage (now the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) in February 2004. Prior to that appointment, David was a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (from July 2001). In that role, he was responsible for policy advice on a broad range of matters, including economic, industry, environmental issues and the Cabinet Secretariat and Implementation Unit. From 1998 to 2001 he was a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Health and Aged Care where he had oversight of the health side of the department. From 1993 to 1998 he was a Deputy Secretary in The Treasury, responsible for financial markets, corporate law, structural policy and international economic issues. Prior to that appointment, David headed four of Treasury’s Divisions: Fiscal Policy; Structural Policy; Economic Policy; and Taxation Policy. He was first appointed to the Senior Executive Service in The Treasury in 1979. In 1991 David was appointed to serve as Australia’s Ambassador to the OECD in Paris. In 1972 he graduated with First Class Honours in Economics from Monash University in Melbourne.
Mr Gerard Early is the Deputy Secretary responsible for the Approvals and Wildlife Division, the Corporate Strategies Division, the Environment Quality Division, the Policy Coordination Division, and the Supervising Scientist Division. He took up the position in May 2007, having played a key role as First Assistant Secretary of the Approvals and Wildlife Division in amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and improving its efficiency and effectiveness. Prior to that Mr Early had been Deputy CEO of both the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency as well as leading several divisions in the department responsible for various aspects of natural resource management. Mr Early was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2007 Honours List, for his outstanding public service in the protection and conservation of Australia’s natural environment and cultural heritage.
Mr Mark Tucker is the Deputy Secretary responsible for the Arts Division, the Culture Division, the Heritage Division, and Old Parliament House and the National Portrait Gallery Division. From October 2007 he was Deputy Secretary Arts, Sports and Indigenous at the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. Prior to this, Mark had a long association with the environment department, holding various senior executive positions from 1995. They included Assistant Secretary responsible for Regional Forest Agreements, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, water policy, and First Assistant Secretary Marine and Water Division, National Oceans Office, Natural Resource Management Division and Policy Coordination Division. Mark has also worked in the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Primary Industries and Energy.
Mr Mike Callaghan is the Deputy Secretary responsible for the Australian Antarctic Division, the Industry, Communities and Energy Division, the Marine and Biodiversity Division, the Natural Resource Management Programs Division and the Parks Australia Division. He was the Executive Director, Revenue Group, Australian Treasury, January 2005–January 2008. That Group provides advice to Treasury Ministers on taxation and retirement income policies and legislation. From 2000 to 2004, he was Executive Director, International Monetary Fund, Washington DC, representing a constituency of 14 countries, including Australia, Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He was previously Chief of Staff to the Hon Peter Costello. He joined the Treasury in the mid-1970s and has held various senior positions, with a particular focus on macroeconomic, international and financial policy issues.
Dr James Horne is the Deputy Secretary responsible for the Water Efficiency Division, the Water Governance Division and the Water Reform Division. He transferred into that position in January 2007, from Head of the Office of Water Resources in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Dr Horne joined the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in August 2000 as First Assistant Secretary of the Industry, Infrastructure and Environment Division. He had responsibility for advising the Prime Minister on a broad range of microeconomic policy issues on industry, communications, energy, transport, agriculture, the environment, trade practices and the Council of Australian Governments. Dr Horne has held senior executive positions in Treasury, covering budget policy, labour markets and macroeconomic policy. He was Minister (Economic) at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo (1994-1996) and later Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (2005–2006). He was involved in drafting the National Water Initiative. He has a background in economics and a PhD in political science.
“The Secretary Farewells”
It is with sadness that I bid farewell to three of my longstanding senior management colleagues.
– [signed] David Borthwick
Ms Anthea Tinney, Deputy Secretary in the department since 1997, moved to the National Film and Sound Archive as the Interim Chief Executive Officer. Ms Tinney had a distinguished record of service during her time with the department.
I congratulate Anthea on her new appointment.
David Anderson retired from the department in July 2008. Mr Anderson was Division Head of the Corporate Strategies Division for 15 years. His wisdom, corporate knowledge and collegiate approach will be sorely missed.
I wish David well in his retirement.
Con Boekel retired from the department in July 2008. Mr Boekel was the Assistant Secretary in charge of Parks Australia South.
I wish Con well in his retirement.
New appointments and retirements
During 2007–08 the department made the following new appointments to the executive team:
- Dr James Horne was appointed Deputy Secretary for the Water Efficiency Division, the Water Governance Division and the Water Reform Division.
- Mr Mark Tucker returned to the department under Machinery of Government changes and was appointed Deputy Secretary for the Arts Division, the Culture Division, the Heritage Division, and Old Parliament House and the National Portrait Gallery Division.
- Mr Mike Callaghan was appointed Deputy Secretary for the Australian Antarctic Division, the Industry, Communities and Energy Division, the Marine and Biodiversity Division, the Natural Resource Management Programs Division and the Parks Australia Division.
Mr Howard Bamsey (Deputy Secretary) moved to the Department of Climate Change to take up the position of deputy secretary.
The Executive Roundtable is the key senior management forum. It meets weekly to monitor performance and review significant issues across the department and portfolio. Members are the Secretary (chair), Deputy Secretaries and heads of all divisions of the department and portfolio agencies. The portfolio agencies that are members of Roundtable are as follows:
- Bureau of Meteorology
- Director of National Parks (DNP)
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
- National Water Commission (NWC)
- Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT)
- Supervising Scientist.
No Arts agencies are members of the Executive Roundtable.
A summary of outcomes from meetings is made available to all employees on the department’s intranet and through regular meetings with staff held in each division and agency.
The department has eight committees that direct specific aspects of the department’s internal affairs. Each committee reports its decisions and recommendations to the Executive Roundtable after major meetings. The roles and achievements of the committees in 2007–08 are summarised in the table below.
|Committee||Roles and Achievements|
|Budget, Finance and Strategy Committee||Roles: Considers strategic budget and significant financial matters, and guides corporate governance and strategic policy activities.
Achievements: Managed the 2008–09 budget process and set the initial budget strategy for 2009–10
Implemented strategies to manage the new government’s priorities, including election commitments and the increase in the Efficiency Dividend
Implemented internal financial policies and procedures to enhance financial management, continued to track progress of projects and monitor the emerging risks of key activities within the department
Additionally, the committee supported the development and implementation of the Financial Management Capability Framework. It also embedded the implementation of the new procurement framework and improvements to the financial management systems and processes.
|Compliance Executive Committee||Roles: Sets departmental policy and direction for legislative compliance, endorses operational policies and practices, sets performance measures and reviews performance on compliance and governance.
Achievements: Implemented a centralised compliance support capability for the department
Trialled and endorsed a common framework for the management and oversight of authorised officers under departmental legislation
Reviewed the department’s compliance and enforcement activities
Initiated a revision of the department’s compliance and enforcement strategy, commensurate with regulation now being considered as a core function.
|Environment Audit Committee||Roles: Oversees the internal audit program, risk management, fraud prevention, financial and management reporting, and compliance with legislation.
Achievements: Development of a new Environment Audit Committee Charter
Evaluated and utilised the department’s Enterprise Risk Management Plan to develop the audit priorities for 2008–09
Established a business brief session from division heads at each meeting, to gather first hand information on business risks and priorities.
|Information Management Committee||Roles: Identifies investment priorities in information acquisition and creation, the development and maintenance of information infrastructure and systems. Coordinates the development of policies and standards for information and its management.
Achievements: The Committee first met in December 2007. Work to date has included:
|Workforce Management Committee||Roles: Provides strategic oversight for workforce issues, such as recruitment, performance management, learning and development, occupational health and safety (OHS).
Achievements: Commenced implementation of the Leadership program
Commenced a review of OHS practices across the department
Undertook a review of recruitment practices, including the introduction of e-Recruitment
Reviewed the Graduate Recruitment Program, doubling the intake for 2008
Endorsed a pilot School Leaver Program
Supported the employment of three Indigenous Cadets through the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Indigenous Pathways Program
Initiated an Indigenous Secondment Program across the department
|Marine and Coastal Coordination Committee||Roles: Coordinates domestic and international marine and coastal policies and programs across the portfolio.
Achievements: Agreed to advancing the Portfolio’s approach to dugong issues through development of a Wildlife Conservation Plan for Dugongs
Commenced implementation of the reef water quality protection plan
Agreed to the department’s leadership approach for the government involvement in the Indonesia-led Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security
Progressed the Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement
Considered the positions for Australia’s engagement in the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
|Indigenous Policy Leadership Group||Roles: Provide leadership to the portfolio on the development of policies and effective implementation of programs that affect Indigenous people.
Achievements: Agreed to the development of a portfolio wide Indigenous Strategy
Supported the development of an Indigenous National Caring for Country Strategy being championed by the Indigenous Advisory Committee
Endorsed the department’s Reconciliation Action Plan
Endorsed the Wet Tropics Agreement until June 2008
Supported and provided advice on whole of government issues, such as the Northern Territory Emergency Response and the Healthy Country Healthy People Schedule.
|International Steering Committee||Roles: Oversees and provides strategic direction to the international work of the department, and sets priorities for its international activities.
Achievements: Prepared an annual plan for the department’s international engagement taking into account changes to the government’s priorities
Reported on achievement of the objectives contained in the previous annual plan, highlighting lessons learned and emerging issues
Maintained strategies and work-plans covering the department’s engagement with selected key countries and international conventions
The department’s 2007–08 annual strategic plan provides the business planning framework for work plans for each division, branch, section and individual. The strategic plan is made available to all employees on the department’s intranet.
The annual strategic plan is prepared on the basis of the department’s three-year corporate plan, which currently covers 2005–2008. The corporate plan provides a high level view of the department’s role as part of the Australian Government and a succinct statement of its mission. The plan contains information about our values and how the department works with its stakeholders. With the change in government and departmental responsibilities, a new Corporate plan is under development for the forthcoming three years.
The Executive Roundtable committees and their subcommittees develop additional operational plans for specific aspects of the department’s work and, at the direction of the executive, major activities are required to be addressed in specific project plans.
Reports and reviews
The department’s annual report publishes performance information against measures contained in the portfolio budget statements. It complies with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Requirements for Departmental Annual Reports approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. A compliance index identifies the location in this report of the information specified in the requirements.
The department also monitors its performance internally against key performance indicators in its operational plans. Divisions, committees and portfolio agencies report their performance quarterly to the Executive Roundtable.
Protiviti Pty Ltd provides independent internal audit, risk management, fraud control and investigation services, and advice to the Environment Audit Committee.
Environment Audit Committee
The Environment Audit Committee provides independent assurance to the Secretary on the integrity and reliability of the department’s management of financial processes, risk and fraud control. The Committee also evaluates the robustness of the department’s internal controls and legislative compliance frameworks to ensure it is able to meet its accountability responsibilities. The Committee oversees the maintenance of an effective and efficient internal audit function in the department.
The Environment Audit Committee has five members, as set out in the table below. Mr Andrew Podger was appointed as independent Chair of the Committee in November 2007, replacing Mr Howard Bamsey whose term expired. Mr Mark Tucker replaced Mr David Anderson, whose term expired in March 2008. Ms Virginia Mudie was appointed in 2007 to replace Mr Rod Allen. Seven meetings were held during 2007–08.
Observers of the Committee meetings include the chief financial officer, the First Assistant Secretary of Corporate Strategies Division, the chair of the Risk Panel, the director of the Governance Unit and representatives of the Australian National Audit Office and the internal audit service provider.
The Committee’s major activities in 2007–08 are reported in the table on the roles and achievements of the Executive Roundtable committees.
|Member||Role||Number eligible to attend as a member||Number of meetings attended|
|Andrew Podger||Independent Chair||4||4|
|Jenny Morison||Independent Member||7||7|
|Rod Shogren||Independent Member||7||5|
|Howard Bamsey||Previous Independent Chair||3||2|
|David Anderson||Previous Member||3||3|
|Rod Allen||Previous Member||2||2|
The effective management of risk is a key component of the department’s planning and review systems. The Risk Panel monitors key risks and supervises the development of policies and procedures for risk management. The chair of the Risk Panel reports to both the departmental executive and the Environment Audit Committee. Protiviti Pty Ltd, the department’s risk management service provider, and the director of the Governance Unit participate as observers at Risk Panel meetings.
|Member||Role||Number of meetings eligible to attend as a member||Number of meetings attended|
|Mark Tucker||Chair (previous)||1||1|
|Malcolm Thompson||Chair (current)||3||3|
Summary of achievements
- In 2007–08 the department prepared an enterprise-wide risk management plan for the first time. The Plan reflects the maturing risk management culture within the department, with effective risk management recognised as fundamental to good corporate governance and sound management practice. The Plan focuses on significant risks that affect the achievement of key corporate objectives (the ‘flagship policies and programs’) and risks that significantly affect most, if not all, functions and processes within the department. The Plan assesses each identified risk by consequence and likelihood, and the effectiveness of existing control measures. Additional risk mitigation activities, aimed at reducing risks to a tolerable level, are also provided together with monitoring and review procedures.
- Formal risk management training was provided to staff in the latter half of the year in a total of ten workshops. Training was undertaken by Protiviti in consultation with program managers. The workshops focused on risk management methodology, illustrated with practical examples, and included a fraud awareness component. A risk management train-the-trainer program has also been developed, which enables managers to provide guidance and training tailored to the specific requirements of staff in program areas.
The department’s insurable risks are identified annually as part of Comcover’s insurance renewal process. The department is covered by Comcare for risks associated with injury to employees. Comcare conducts inspections to help the department measure its performance and both actual and potential insurance claims are reported to Comcover. The department received a 7.1 per cent discount off its Comcover premium with the completion of Comcover’s annual Risk Management Benchmarking Survey in March 2008. Comcover has assessed the department’s overall risk performance to be at the level of Comprehensive, indicating that the agency demonstrates a high level of competency in implementing an enterprise wide risk management framework.
The department’s anti-fraud program is supervised by both the Environment Audit Committee and the Risk Panel.
The department updated its fraud control plan following the integration of the Arts function into the department. The fraud control plan sets out actions planned for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2009, to reduce the risk of fraud against the department.
A program of general risk management and fraud awareness training sessions were delivered for departmental staff by the department’s internal audit provider during 2007–08. Specialised fraud awareness training was also provided.
There were 9 cases of suspected fraud during 2007–08.
Three suspected cases of fraud were referred to the Australian Federal Police during 2007–08.
Business continuity plan
During 2007 the department revised its business continuity plan. The new plan has been endorsed by the Secretary for the period 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2011. The plan describes the arrangements that the department will use to ensure the continuity of its key services after a major, unexpected and disruptive incident (such as a fire). It describes the management structure, staff roles and responsibilities, and actions that are to be implemented after a major incident. It will be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary during this period.
Certificate of Compliance
Beginning in 2006–07, Chief Executives of Australian Government departments and agencies were required to provide a completed Certificate of Compliance to their portfolio minister and a copy to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, by 15 October each year.
The certificate focuses on agencies’ compliance during the previous financial year with the following:
- Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
- Financial Managment and Accountability Regulations 1997
- Financial Management and Accountability Orders 2005
- Financial Management and Accountability (Finance Minister to Chief Executives) Delegation 2007 (No. 2) as amended from time to time
- Australian Government’s foreign exchange risk management requirements
- legal and financial requirements for the management of Special Accounts
- The financial management policies of the Commonwealth.
The certificate integrates these requirements, allowing Chief Executives to certify compliance with the financial legislation and associated policies in a single document.
The Department conducted a trial in 2006 with the assistance and advice of the Audit Committee and internal audit provider. The Secretary provided the first completed Certificate of Compliance for 2006–07 for the then Department of the Environment and Water Resources to the relevant ministers on 15 October 2007. The Secretary will provide a completed Certificate of Compliance for 2007–08 for the Department to the relevant ministers by 15 October 2008.
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