As at 30 June 2020, AFMA employed 152 employees (based on head count): 135 were ongoing and 17 were non-ongoing employees. These numbers do not include three employees on long-term leave.
The agency had 103 employees located in Canberra, 18 employees located in Darwin, eight employees in Thursday Island and six in Lakes Entrance. A further 17 staff were engaged as casual field observers who undertake duties on Commonwealth commercial fishing vessels, located around Australia.
AFMA’s employment profile has not significantly changed from 2018-19. The proportion of part-time employees (excluding casual observers) has decreased slightly to 8 per cent in 2019-20 compared to 9.3 per cent in 2018-19.
The proportion of females has increased to 44.7 per cent from 40.9 per cent in the previous financial year. The percentage of women at EL1-EL2 levels for 2019-20 has increased to 43.2 per cent from 37.0 per cent in the previous year.
There has been a slight decrease in the number of employees from non-English speaking backgrounds with five employees in 2019-20, down from six in 2018-19.
As a comparison with the 2018-19 financial year, the number of employees who have at least one parent from a non-English speaking background has remained at 25 with the number of employees identifying as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decreasing slightly from eight to seven. In addition, employees who identified themselves as having a disability increased slightly to three in 2019-20, up from one in 2018-19.
Tables 3 – 6 on pages 80-82 outline workforce statistics by employment status, location, gender, diversity, disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity. It also sets out salary range and employment arrangements.
AFMA acted promptly to ensure our employees were informed and supported as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s many impacts. This work included:
- Establishing a Pandemic Incident Management Team;
- Undertaking virtual WHS assessments for all home workstations and working closely with employees to ensure modifications were made to create a safe workstation;
- Creating key documents relating to procedures for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, home based work during a pandemic and leave arrangements during COVID-19;
- Establishing a dedicated COVID-19 intranet portal to ensure clear communication to staff;
- Regular messaging via the intranet – including promotion of the Employee Assistance Program service;
- Establishing a social channel Campfire on the intranet to support staff during isolation; and
- Establishing an online learning and development catalogue to assist staff in continuing their training and professional development.
In June 2019, 75 per cent of AFMA’s employees completed the government wide Australian Public Service Employee Census. The results indicated that employees were less satisfied and generally less positive towards AFMA as a workplace of choice than previous year’s results. The results came from a year of significant change across the organisation including departure of two long term senior executives, new functions in Torres Strait fisheries, new office environment and physical restructure of the workspace to be activity based working arrangements, changes to access and manage classified information and a move to digital records.
While the results were generally down from previous years, there were some positive and improved results in the mix, such as employee commitment to innovation and indicators that staff have good relationships with their immediate supervisors.
These discussions and opportunities for staff input have identified a wide-ranging body of remedial action that is being progressed on an opportunistic basis, and help to instil a shared responsibility for resolution. Some specific actions already undertaken include:
- Addressing a number of specific physical sources of dissatisfaction with the new office in Canberra;
- Improved attention to cultural sensitivity and diversity;
- Ongoing reviews of corporate policies, particularly in relation to staff wellbeing, health and safety;
- Dedicated effort to more open communication from the Executive on census issues and more generally on issues important to the agency;
- Promotion of social activities within and outside of the workplace;
- Greater efforts to document corporate decision making to ensure consistency across branches, teams and individuals; and
- Working with managers throughout the organisation so that they are equipped with the skills required to ensure that they provide adequate focus to their corporate responsibilities as well as their technical duties.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016
AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016 contains employment terms and conditions for all employees (excluding Senior Executive Service Officers). A Section 24(1) Determination was made on 2 April 2019 which provides details of increases to existing salaries and allowance effective on 23 June 2019, 23 June 2020 and 23 June 2021.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the government made the decision that all Australia Public Service scheduled pay increases would be paused for a period of six months from the date the next percentage increase was due to take effect. As a result the 2% pay increase of 23 June 2020 for AFMA staff will be made on 23 December 2020, subject to further direction from the Australia Public Service Commission.
Individual Flexibility Agreements
AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016 provides for the CEO and an employee covered by the agreement, to enter into an individual flexibility agreement. The terms of employment that may be varied under the Enterprise Agreement include (but are not limited to) hours of work, overtime rates, penalty rates, allowances, remuneration and leave.
AFMA entered into 29 individual flexibility agreements for 27 employees during 2019-20 as outlined in the table below and of these, two employees entered into multiple agreements therefore the number of agreements is higher than the number of employees.
Table 2: Individual Flexibility Agreements as at 30 June 2020
Standards of Behaviour
All AFMA staff are required to comply with the APS Values and Code of Conduct as set out in the Public Service Act 1999. AFMA employees are expected to maintain the highest standards of business and personal ethics. The agency has in place compulsory annual training, staff policies and guidelines to help staff to understand their obligations and support good workplace behaviour. The annual on-line training during 2019-20 included APS Values and Principles, Bullying and Harassment, Work Health and Safety and Fraud Awareness.
The work that all AFMA employees do is crucial to the achievement of the agency’s goals. AFMA’s performance management scheme is a collaborative, ongoing process between a manager and their employee/s and that all employees are required to participate in.
The performance cycle ensures that:
- our staff know what is expected of them;
- individuals and AFMA goals are aligned;
- our staff receive ongoing feedback and improvement advice; and
- our staff identify, plan and deliver on areas for individual learning, capability and career development.
The aim of our performance management scheme is to ensure all of our staff have the right tools and processes to help meet key deliverables. The scheme is also an important tool to ensure that underperformance is identified early so it can be addressed quickly and effectively.
Rewards and Recognition
AFMA recognises that building a culture that values its employees and recognises performance is critical to retaining the best people. The annual AFMA Achievement Awards recognise individual and team achievements throughout the year. Nominations are sought from employees and the recipients agreed by the AFMA Executive team. The 2019 awards were presented in December by the AFMA CEO:
- Tamre Sarhan: Individual Achievement Award in recognition of his strong leadership, vision, team spirit and personal drive as the Observer Program Coordinator
- The Majura Park Relocation Project Team: Team Achievement Award for their dedication and commitment in ensuring the relocation to Majura Park was successfully completed within scope, on time and within budget
- Alison Hayes: Good Citizenship Award for exemplifying corporate citizenship within AFMA
- Daniel Corrie: Collaborating and Mentoring Award in recognition of his professionalism and willingness to collaborate with staff across AFMA
- Andrew Trappett: Innovation Award for his innovation in the way AFMA engages with government agencies, the commercial fishing industry and small island communities across the Torres Strait
- Nikos Manikas: Unsung Hero Award in recognition for his enthusiasm and willingness to help others with IT issues
- Selvy Coundjidapadam: Unsung Hero Award in recognition of her commitment to assisting AFMA employees and external stakeholders with data collection and interpretation
At the ceremony, AFMA also provided ten-year service pins to six employees. One employee received a twenty-year service plaque.
AFMA continued to invest in the ongoing professional development of its employees in order to build a high performance organisation. AFMA's 2019-20 Corporate Training Plan clearly articulated the approach to learning and development. The plan identified a number of development priorities through capability plans submitted by employees, input from our Executive group and results from the 2019 APS Employee Census. The planning approach ensures AFMA has a workforce with the skills and capabilities required now and for the future.
We also continued to implement core skill development programs focused on building manager capability, leadership, communication and career development. Training was offered via online, face-to-face, self-paced learning and videoconferencing. In 2019-20, AFMA conducted a number of in-house courses that covered a range of key areas including digital recordkeeping, risk management, Microsoft teams audio and video calling, procurement and contract management.
In 2019-20, there was a slight decrease in uptake of the agencies studies assistance program. Seven employees received studies assistance, which provides paid study leave and financial assistance to undertake tertiary education in subject areas such as marine and Antarctic science, communications, environmental, information and communications technology, economics, maritime studies and international security.
In 2019-20 AFMA sponsored four staff members to participate in professional development programs, including the 2019 Future Leaders Program, Professional Foundations Program and the Australian Institute Health and Wealth EL2 leadership program. In addition one staff member completed the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program.
Graduate Development Program
AFMA partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in the recruitment and delivery of the annual Graduate Development Program. The program includes a combination of on-the-job-training, mentoring, an industry visit and a formal training program. We engaged two graduates each in 2019 and 2020 intakes. As part of the program, each graduate is required to complete three rotations with the first and third rotation completed in AFMA and the second rotation undertaken at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. We also hosted two graduates from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment during the second rotation.
In October 2019, the graduates undertook an industry visit to Lakes Entrance and Hobart that focused on scoping the capacity for industry participation in Commonwealth fisheries management adaption under a changing climate. The industry visit provided graduates with valuable on the job learning experiences including an opportunity to meet with our stakeholders.
Diversity and Inclusion
AFMA is committed to fostering a diverse workplace free from discrimination and harassment, an environment that recognises and values the individual differences of employees, and fosters the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
The commitment extends to attracting and recruiting people from diverse backgrounds and wherever possible, participation in whole of APS Programs.
In 2019-20 AFMA supported several initiatives to improve the Agency’s diversity outcomes, including:
- various events to raise awareness of diversity, such as NAIDOC week, Harmony Day, Mental Health week, Wear it Purple Day, International Women’s Day and International Day of People with Disability;
- staff were also able to participate in a range of diversity staff networks hosted by Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment; and
- the promotion of flexible working as part of normal business through the Working at AFMA Policy.