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About us

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is established for the Australian and New Zealand governments and is governed by a Board appointed under the Australian Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.

We are part of the Australian Government’s Health portfolio under the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians and Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck.

Our vision

Consumers have a high level of confidence in the safety of food.

Objects and functions

The object of the FSANZ Act is to ensure a high standard of public health protection throughout Australia and New Zealand. The FSANZ Act also sets out four goals for the agency:

  • a high degree of consumer confidence in the quality and safety of food produced, processed, sold or exported from Australia and New Zealand
  • an effective transparent and accountable regulatory framework within which the food industry can work efficiently
  • the provision of adequate information relating to food to enable consumers to make informed choices
  • the establishment of common rules for both countries and the promotion of consistency between domestic and international food regulation measures without reducing the safeguards that apply to public health and consumer protection.

We contribute towards these goals by developing food standards that are informed by the best available scientific evidence, providing information on food standards, and by coordinating aspects of the food regulation system.

FSANZ is a corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Our people

Overview

As a science based agency, we have a specialised workforce. Our staff bring expertise from a range scientific disciplines including toxicology, nutrition, food technology, microbiology, biotechnology, public health, immunology, chemistry, mathematical modelling, epidemiology, behavioural and social science and regulatory analysis. These disciplines are complemented by our human resources, finance, administration, communications, economics, information management, ICT and legal expertise.

Our expertise enables us to deal with a broad range of food regulatory issues, using the risk analysis1 framework.

In 2019–20 we continued our culture change journey to develop our workplace culture and staff engagement. We continue to engage staff on our new values, what it means for them and the how it supports our strategic outcomes.

1 http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/riskanalysis/Pages/default.aspx

Table 1: All ongoing employees current report period (2019–20)

Male

Female

Indeterminate

Total

Full-time

Part-time

Total Male

Full-time

Part-time

Total Female

Full-time

Part-time

Total Indeterminate

NSW

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

-

1

Qld

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

SA

-

-

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

1

Tas

1

-

1

1

1

2

-

-

-

3

Vic

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

WA

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

ACT

25

-

25

43

16

59

-

-

-

84

NT

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

External Territories

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Overseas

7

1

8

6

3

9

-

-

-

17

Total

35

1

36

51

21

72

-

-

-

108

Table 2: All non-ongoing employees current report reriod (2019–20)

Male

Female

Indeterminate

Total

Full-time

Part-time

Total Male

Full-time

Part-time

Total Female

Full-time

Part-time

Total Indeterminate

NSW

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Qld

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

SA

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

-

1

Tas

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Vic

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

WA

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

ACT

5

-

5

9

2

11

-

-

-

16

NT

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

External Territories

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Overseas

-

-

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

1

Total

5

-

5

10

3

13

-

-

-

18

Table 3: All ongoing employees previous report period (2018–19)

Male

Female

Indeterminate

Total

Full-time

Part-time

Total Male

Full-time

Part-time

Total Female

Full-time

Part-time

Total Indeterminate

NSW

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

-

1

Qld

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

SA

-

-

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

1

Tas

1

-

1

1

-

1

-

-

-

2

Vic

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

WA

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

ACT

25

-

25

43

17

60

-

-

-

85

NT

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

External Territories

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Overseas

4

-

4

7

1

8

-

-

-

12

Total

32

-

32

52

19

71

-

-

-

103

Table 4: All non-ongoing employees previous report period (2018–19)

Male

Female

Indeterminate

Total

Full-time

Part-time

Total Male

Full-time

Part-time

Total Female

Full-time

Part-time

Total Indeterminate

NSW

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Qld

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

SA

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Tas

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Vic

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

WA

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

ACT

4

-

4

7

-

7

-

-

-

11

NT

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

External Territories

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Overseas

-

-

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

1

Total

4

-

4

8

-

8

-

-

-

12

Staff forum

Open communication and information sharing between staff and the Executive is an important part of building a positive culture within FSANZ. Our staff forum includes representatives of each section of the agency. The forum meets monthly reporting back to the Executive regularly on workplace issues raised and any outcomes from the Executive are reported back to the staff forum.

In 2019–20 the Forum discussed a range of issues including progress on our culture change work, our business continuity plans, bushfire response, work health and safety plan, health and wellbeing program, and the transition to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workplace diversity and inclusion

We are a Bronze member of the Australian Network on Disability and a member of the Diversity Council of Australia.

In July 2019, we established a Diversity Network consisting of nine staff with different genders, backgrounds, skills, cultures and abilities. The network manages a schedule of events and meets quarterly to share information and experiences, raise awareness and advocate for an inclusive work environment. In 2019–20 The Diversity Network arranged events to support a range of culture and diversity days including wear it purple day, international women’s day and R U OK day.

In collaboration with the Diversity Network, we updated our Diversity and Inclusion Plan in 2019–20. The plan outlines how we will enhance our existing structure, functions and processes to meet the needs and expectations of our staff now and into the future.

In June 2020 we made modifications to the Canberra office to increase the level of accessibility for workers with mobility impairments including automation of the existing disabled toilet door, adjustments to entry doors and the purchase of an emergency evacuation chair.

Workplace bullying and harassment

Our Values and Workplace Behaviour Policy seeks to support, encourage and enforce respectful and courteous workplace behaviour, and provide guidance on appropriate and inappropriate conduct.

Trained harassment contact officers (known as Workplace Behaviour Contact Officers) continue to support staff who feel they may have been discriminated against, bullied and/or harassed.

In 2019–20 no formal complaints were received under the bullying and harassment guidelines.

Work Health and Safety

We are committed to providing a consultative Work Health and Safety (WHS) culture while maintaining a comprehensive workplace Safety Management System (SMS). This system comprises a range of strategies and programs that have been designed to support the health, safety and wellbeing of our people and visitors. This includes regular information sharing and training, and promoting an active interest in WHS and rehabilitation matters.

The FSANZ Work Health and Safety Committee (WHSC) brings together staff and managers to collaborate on WHS matters relating to:

  • the development of standards, rules and procedures
  • implementation, review and update of policies and procedures
  • incidents and injuries including recommendations about WHS issues
  • sharing WHS information with staff
  • other functions agreed between FSANZ and the WHSC.

WHS initiatives

In consultation with the FSANZ Board, this year we updated our SMS and Work Health and Safety Policy and developed a Work Health and Safety Management Plan and Due Diligence Framework. We also launched a Health and Wellbeing Plan incorporating initiatives to monitor and enhance the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of our staff.

Following the December/January bushfires, our Canberra office was exposed to high levels of air pollution (smoke) as a result of the unprecedented bushfire season. To ensure our staff had a safe work environment, we implemented regular monitoring of inside pollution levels and offered flexible working arrangements for workers with respiratory issues.

COVID-19 response

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FSANZ staff were transitioned to work from home arrangements from March 2020. Significant effort was put into the planning, transition and support of staff during this time. In under three weeks, 116 FSANZ staff successfully moved to work from home arrangements. This transition included planning and testing of network connection capacity, deployment of a secure video conferencing facility, a staff intranet page that was updated daily with latest government health advice and staff news, a weekly staff newsletter and regular all staff video conferences and additional WH&S support.

We also compiled a WHS risk assessment. The assessment was circulated to all staff for input and feedback and to the FSANZ Board. During March – June 2020 we progressively implemented the majority of risk controls outlined in the assessment to protect the health and wellbeing of our people in line with government directives.

We undertook a Pulse Survey to identify risks in the home work environment for our people.
Pleasingly, the results of the survey showed staff felt connected with their colleagues and well
supported by FSANZ despite their remote work arrangements. Some additional measures were
put in place to address concerns raised relating to caring responsibilities, assistance with office
equipment and WH&S.

We also brought forward our flu vaccine program to early April 2020, providing access to and subsidising vaccines for staff in both Australia and New Zealand.

During 2019–20 FSANZ:

  • had no new work related injuries/illness or claims for compensation
  • had no notifiable incidents under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (New Zealand)
  • was not the subject of any work health and safety investigations into the conduct of its business or undertakings
  • received no notices under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 or the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Sustainable development

Our Canberra office is a 5 Star, Green Star rated building. The building has been designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. Energy saving devices have been used throughout the building and the fit-out to further reduce energy consumption.

In 2019–20 we worked with the building owners to ensure efficiency of the Australian and New Zealand office air conditioning and electricity usage, limiting the overuse of energy during working hours. We are also contracted to source 10 per cent of energy to the Canberra office from renewable sources.

As part of our commitment to sustainable development, the following activities are being
undertaken:

  • contracting services to recycle organic waste, paper and cardboard
  • reducing electricity use by encouraging staff to turn off computers and monitors when they leave for the night
  • reducing electricity by using sensors for the office lights in the Canberra office, ensuring lights are turned off when there is no movement in an area
  • providing recycling bins in all kitchens
  • recycling decommissioned computers, tablets and phones.

In 2019–20 four staff were recognised foHeadingr their outstanding contribution to the work of the agency. 18 staff were also presented long service awards, acknowledging their continued contribution and dedication to FSANZ.

Chair’s Annual Development Award

The Chair’s Annual Development Award was awarded to two people in 2019–20 — Kate Riley from the international and dietary exposure assessment team and Joanna Richards from the standards management team. Both Kate and Joanna made significant contributions to the work of FSANZ over the past 12 months, demonstrating the FSANZ values in their day-to-day work and going above and beyond to achieve excellent outcomes on behalf of the agency.

Achievement Awards

FSANZ’s Achievement Award acknowledges the contribution of an individual or team displaying
innovation, outstanding performance, client service, corporate achievement or excellence while
modelling the APS values in their core duties.

This year the Achievement Award was presented to Renee Sobolewski and Veronica Polegubic. Renee was recognised for her outstanding achievement managing our food composition database system refresh and ongoing work relating to the health star rating technical advisory group and national survey work. Veronica Polegubic was recognised for her outstanding achievement managing our food composition database system refresh and ongoing work relating to the health star rating technical advisory group and national survey work. Veronica Polegubic was recognised for her contribution to high profile and complex project work undertaken by FSANZ.

Award photos Award photos

FSANZ Values Award

In 2019–20 we launched a new values award. These are awarded to individuals or teams to acknowledge their commitment and exemplary behaviour in championing our values — develop, achieve, accountable, respect and transparent. This year we acknowledged three individuals and two teams for their efforts in exemplifying our achieve, develop and accountable values.