Work health and safety
The Commission has work health and safety management arrangements consistent with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
The arrangements set out a statement of commitment, a workplace health and safety policy, consultation arrangements, agreed employer and employee responsibilities, and work health and safety structures and arrangements. They also set out guidelines for workplace inspections, training and information, and emergency procedures.
The Commission supports employees’ wellbeing by providing access to free, confidential counselling services, and influenza vaccinations. A focus during the year was on the psychological wellbeing of Members and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic when many of the Commission’s staff worked from home. Specific training sessions conducted during the year included training for staff in managing challenging interactions and a program of sessions on workplace mental health.
In August 2020 the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Comcare and Fair Work Commission commenced a collaboration project relating to Work Health and Safety. The aim of the project is to equip organisations characterised by high power imbalances with the tools and support to provide positive workplace cultures and harassment-free workplaces. The Commission is determined to ensure our workplace is as free from inappropriate behaviours such as bullying and sexual harassment as possible, and that it reflect best practice when performing its functions.
Work health and safety incident reporting
Under s.38 of the WHS Act 2011, we are required to notify Comcare of any deaths, serious injury or illness, or dangerous incidents arising out of our work. There were two notifiable incidents reported to Comcare during 2020–21.
Under Schedule 2, Part 3 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, we are required to report on any investigations undertaken by Comcare or any notices we received under Part 10 of the WHS Act 2011. There were no investigations conducted or notices received during 2020-21.
Advertising and market research
The Commission is required to disclose payments to advertising agencies and to market research, polling, direct mail and media advertising organisations. Payments of $14,000 or less (including GST) are excluded, consistent with s.311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. The Commission did not make any payments above the threshold in 2020–21.
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
Australian Government agencies are required to report on their performance regarding the environment and ecologically sustainable development under s.516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Commission does not develop or administer legislation or policy relating to the environment but takes steps to ensure that it utilises energy resources as efficiently as practicable and maintains a healthy working environment for members of staff and the public.
Programs are in place for the recycling of paper, packaging, batteries, equipment, toner and other materials, and encouraging double-sided printing. The Commission has continued to reduce its carbon footprint by utilising technology to conduct hearings and minimise travel.
The Commission ensures that new leases over a certain size have a green lease schedule attached to the lease. The Commission actively encourages its landlords to increase their National Australian Built Environment Rating System rating.