Work health and safety
The ATSB seeks to safeguard the health and safety of its employees, contractors and visitors by providing and maintaining a safe working environment, with the aim to prevent work-related injuries and illness, and support employee wellbeing.
The ATSB monitored and reviewed the rehabilitation management system in 2019–20 as part of our commitment to continuous improvement.
In 2019–20 no notifiable incidents occurred under Part 3 or Part 5 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. One compensation claim was accepted by Comcare and efficiently managed, through the application of the ATSB’s rehabilitation management system.
Initiatives under the ATSB’s health and wellbeing program are developed in consultation with employees and the Work Health Safety and Wellbeing Committee. Initiatives for 2019–20 included:
- continued availability of the Employee Assistance Program for employees and their families
- resilience and mental health awareness sessions
- training for first aid officers including Mental Health First Aid for managers
- workstation assessments, including providing special equipment to prevent injury and to support recovery for illness or injury
- early intervention support to employees
- support for employees requiring reasonable adjustments
- facilitation of flexible working arrangements
- influenza vaccinations
- staff access to employee-initiated cycling or walking activities
- work health and safety induction programs delivered to all new employees.
Advertising and market research
During 2019–20, the ATSB spent $1,232 (GST Inclusive) on advertising for recruitment. There were no further payments for advertising or market research.
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance reporting
(Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)
The ATSB is fully committed to the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The nature of its work as Australia’s national transport safety investigator – with a focus on the investigation of transport accidents, research into transport safety and dissemination of safety information – means that the ATSB’s commitment is expressed through its day-to-day activities within its offices.
The ATSB operates under the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) policy and through its sub-lease office accommodation arrangements with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, the ATSB’s environmental management system complies with ISO 14001:2004 – the international standard for environmental management systems. The system is focused on the ATSB’s office-based activities in Canberra. Initiatives are applied at regional office premises, where appropriate.
The ATSB has contracted its data centres to private providers, with the result that servers and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure are located outside the ATSB premises. This produced a significant saving in energy use. The ATSB has further limited its energy use through various initiatives that focus on improving the energy efficiency of the property portfolio, including:
- operating a virtualised and cloud IT infrastructure environment
- using seven per cent green energy
- ensuring that desktop IT equipment uses energy-saving policies, such as automatic turn-off for monitors and hard drives after periods of inactivity
- reducing the number of printers in the network
- setting each printer default to mono (black) and double-sided printing
- using photocopy paper containing 60 per cent recycled paper for internal use
- conserving energy, water, paper and other natural resources, yet still maintaining a comfortable work environment
- actively recycling paper waste
- promoting the separation of general waste into recyclable and non-recyclable items before disposal
- promoting video conferencing as an alternative to travel, where practicable
- using motion-sensor lighting in offices
- reducing the effect of direct sunlight on air conditioning systems by installing blinds or tinting, where appropriate.
The ATSB did not administer any grant programs during 2019–20.
Diversity and inclusion
During 2019–20, the ATSB focused on initiatives to provide an inclusive workforce diverse in background, thinking and experiences, including:
- a sourcing strategy to attract more people from diverse backgrounds into a career as a transport safety investigator
- employee participation at APS-wide diversity networks and forums
- a diversity and inclusion champion who provided mentoring and advice across our Portfolio.
Disability Reporting Mechanism
The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 is Australia’s overarching framework for disability reform. It acts to ensure the principles underpinning the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are incorporated into Australia’s policies and programs that affect people with a disability, their families and carers.
All levels of government will continue to be held accountable for the implementation of the strategy through biennial progress reports to the Council of Australian Governments. Progress reports can be found at www.dss.gov.au.
Disability reporting is included in the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au.
Freedom of Information
The following information explains how to request access to documents held by the ATSB under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). It also explains what records the ATSB holds, and what arrangements the ATSB has in place for outside participation.
Entities subject to the FOI Act are required, under Part II of the Act, to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). Information including an Agency Plan showing what information it published, is available on the ATSB website at www.atsb.gov.au.
Detailed information about the FOI Act is available via the Office of the Australian information Commissioner (OAIC) website at www.oaic.gov.au and the Federal Register of Legislation website at www.legislation.gov.au
How to lodge a request for information
Information about how to make an application under the FOI Act can be found on the ATSB’s website at www.atsb.gov.au
A request for access to documents made under the FOI Act must:
- be in writing
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
- provide enough information to enable the documents sought to be identified
- give details of how notices under the FOI Act may be sent.
Submission of FOI requests, or enquiries about access, should be directed to:
Freedom of Information Coordinator
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
PO Box 967
CIVIC SQUARE ACT 2608
Phone: (02) 6122 1601
Email: FOI-ATSB [at] atsb.gov.au
There are no application fees payable to lodge an FOI request.
The ATSB may impose a charge for the work involved in providing access to documents required through a request under the FOI Act. These charges are imposed in accordance with the FOI Act and the Freedom of information (Charges) Regulations 2019. These charges may relate to the time spent searching for and retrieving relevant documents, decision-making time, photocopying and other costs. The FOI Act also provides that the first five hours of decision-making time is waived. The applicant will be notified as soon as possible with an estimate of the charges associated with the processing of the request. The request will not be processed until the applicant responds to such notification.
In some circumstances, charges associated with the processing of the request may be remitted. Should the applicant wish to seek remission of the charges, the criteria considered by the ATSB include whether:
- payment of the charges, or part of the charges, would cause financial hardship to the applicant or a person on whose behalf the application was made
- giving access to documents is in the general public interest, or in the interest of a substantial section of the public.
The applicant would need to contact the ATSB in writing, or by email, to explain why they meet the criteria, or to inform the agency of overall circumstances which justify non‑payment of charges. Requests for the remission of the charges should be forwarded to the Freedom of Information Coordinator.
It may not be possible to obtain access to all the documents sought in an FOI request. Access is limited by exemptions, such as section 38 – secrecy provisions of the FOI Act.
It is important to note that the ATSB is required to perform its functions under section 12AA of the TSI Act. A significant amount of information gathered by the ATSB during the course of its investigations is defined as restricted information under section 3 of the TSI Act, and access to such information is exempt from release under subparagraph 38(1)(b)(i) of the FOI Act.
Freedom of Information
In 2019–20, the ATSB received nine FOI requests.
Table 19: Freedom of Information activity4
On hand at 1 July 2019 (A)
New requests received (B)
Requests withdrawn (C)
Requests transferred in full to another agency (D)
Requests on hand at 30 June 2020 (E)
Total requests completed at 30 June 2020 (A+B-C-D-E)
Action on requests
Access in full
Access in part
Access transferred in full
Response times (excluding withdrawn)
Review by Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) review of FOI decisions
4 These statistics cannot be compared directly with the deadlines set in the Freedom of Information Act 1982, as the FOI Act provides for extensions of time to allow for consultation with third parties, negotiation of charges and other issues.
Records the ATSB holds
The ATSB holds records such as:
- human and financial resource management records
- briefing papers and submissions prepared for ministers, parliamentary secretaries, parliamentary committees, the Cabinet and the Executive Council (most of these are classified documents)
- business papers, briefing notes and meeting records for committees, and conferences in which the ATSB services or participates
- documents prepared by international agencies
- documents relating to the development of legislation
- internal administration documents
- internal treaties, memoranda of understanding and international conventions
- legal documents, including legislation, contracts, leases and court documents
- maps and other geographical information
- ministerial responses to parliamentary questions, interdepartmental and general correspondence and papers
- policy documents, recommendations and decisions
- registers of documents, agreements and approvals
- statistics and databases
- technical standards, guidelines, specifications, charts, photographs, drawings and manuals
- accident and incident investigation and notification records.
To view a list of manuals and other documents the ATSB uses when making decisions or recommendations that affect the public, visit the ATSB website at www.atsb.gov.au.
Under section 8C of the FOI Act, exempt matter is not required to be published. The ATSB reserves the right to delete exempt matter from its information prior to providing access.
For further information, please contact the ATSB either by telephone on 1800 020 616 or by email at atsbinfo [at] atsb.gov.au
Functions and decision-making powers
The ATSB’s functions are detailed in section 12AA of the TSI Act and are further described throughout this report.
Certain officers exercise decision-making powers under portfolio legislation and other matters. These responsibilities are set out in the Administrative Arrangements Order (AAO) for the Commonwealth of Australia and relate to transport safety, including investigations.
For a complete and up-to-date copy of the AAO, visit the Federal Register of Legislation website at www.legislation.gov.au
To assist ATSB employees in exercising their powers appropriately, and enable access to their decision-making authorities, the ATSB uses an intranet site which allows employees to view delegations online. It also allows employees to check information about the powers and authorities assigned under the legislation set out in the AAO and by laws such as the PGPA Act and the Public Service Act 1999. Powers delegated under the TSI Act are recorded on the back of identity cards for all investigators.
Arrangements for outside participation
The ATSB consults widely to gain the views of its stakeholders and clients about future policy directions and program delivery. This includes consulting with other Australian state and territory government departments and agencies, as appropriate, and with foreign governments – particularly in the context of transport safety investigations. The ATSB may also contact a very broad range of stakeholders for particular policy issues.