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Ministerial oversight

During the 2019-2020 financial year, the Minister responsible for ANSTO was the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.

Statement of Expectations

In February 2020, Minister Andrews provided the ANSTO Board with a Statement of Expectations (SOE) in which she requested ANSTO’s support in resolving national challenges, and advancing the Government’s policy priorities around nuclear medicines, collaboration with Australian industry, management of research infrastructure, the digital economy, and pursuing STEM equity.

In addition, the Minister has set clear expectations for ANSTO to continue to enhance organisational performance, including around sustainable operations and governance, and workplace health and safety.

This document replaced the previous SOE, which was provided in June 2015 by the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, the then Minister for Industry and Science.

In August 2020, the ANSTO Board responded to the SOE with a Statement of Intent (SOI), which sets out how the ANSTO Board will meet the Minister’s expectations. Copies of both the SOE and the SOI can be found on the ANSTO website at https://www.ansto.gov.au/governance#content-charters

Ministerial directions and notifications

Under the ANSTO Act and the PGPA Act, ANSTO’s responsible Minister and the Finance Minister may provide the ANSTO Board with Directions with respect to the performance of the functions or the exercise of the powers of the Board or the organisation. No such Ministerial Directions were received in 2019-2020.

During 2019-2020, ANSTO continued to adopt a proactive approach to keeping the Minister informed of its activities, including as required under section 19 of the PGPA Act. During 2019-2020, ANSTO provided 48 briefs on ANSTO’s operations and activities to the Minister. ANSTO also advised the Minister of significant events, including nuclear medicine supply and radioactive waste management.

During 2019-2020, ANSTO also advised the Minister of one matter under section 72 of the PGPA Act regarding ANSTO or its subsidiaries: In August 2019, ANSTO advised the Minister that, on 12 June 2019, it had deregistered, ANSTO subsidiary, the Australian Synchrotron Holding Company (ASHCo) Pty Ltd. This constituted the final step in the Australian Synchrotron’s integration into ANSTO. The Minister tabled a statement to that effect in both houses of Parliament.

Government engagement

As a publically funded research agency, ANSTO has ongoing engagement with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) across all levels. ANSTO staff also had regular meetings across the Commonwealth Government as required to discuss ANSTO’s activities, including advice to inform policy development and implementation in ANSTO’s areas of expertise

During the last financial year, ANSTO made 14 submissions to parliamentary and departmental inquiries, and ANSTO staff provided information at four parliamentary inquiry hearings. The inquiry topics included radioactive waste management, uranium mining, nuclear energy, and the environmental impact of the summer 2019-20 bushfire season.