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Management of human resources

Effectiveness of people management

The human resources section provides a range of services for:

  • payroll
  • recruitment
  • workplace health and safety
  • learning and development
  • dive operations and training
  • workforce planning
  • workplace relations, including high-level advice and assistance to managers and supervisors regarding performance and health case management matters.

The section proactively supports line areas to meet business objectives as outlined in the annual operating plan.

Training and staff development

The Authority invested $461,228 for learning and development in 2018–19. This included the costs of training courses, conference attendance, formal qualifications, study fee reimbursements and professional memberships.

The Authority continued with an ongoing program to systematically reinforce fundamental public service values through mandatory corporate training delivered via eLearning modules. For 2018–19, mandatory courses focused on risk management, understanding and addressing bullying and harassment, privacy, Australian Public Service Values and the Code of Conduct, and workplace health and safety, including emergency response procedures.

In-house corporate (face-to-face) training programs contributed to the development of Australian Public Service core skills in strategic thinking, analytical and critical reasoning, decision making, building relationships, and engagement and performance management. Specialised in-house training included mental health awareness, difficult discussions and a variety of field-based skills.

The Authority also invested in further developing the leadership skills of senior and middle-level staff through a series of sessions focused on leading for excellence.

The Authority maintains its support of employees’ professional development, with time off for face-to-face study, and reimbursement of professional fees upon successful completion of a semester of study.

Workplace health and safety

The Authority’s working environment varies from contemporary office accommodation to remote camping and offshore and aquarium diving operations. Staff conduct extensive fieldwork that includes boat patrols, in-water reef health surveys, engineering and water quality management. The Authority’s broad community consultation involves staff liaising with schools, tourism operators, the fishing industry and Traditional Owners (including in remote locations).

In accordance with its terms of reference, the Authority’s Workplace Health and Safety Committee met three times during the reporting period. The Committee is chaired by Dr Simon Banks, General Manager Reef Protection.

During 2018–19, 80 incident reports were submitted by employees. Of those reported, nine incidents were classified as notifiable to Comcare, the workplace health and safety regulator, as a serious or dangerous illness or incident; and all nine were reported. Four claims for compensation were submitted and accepted by Comcare during 2018–19.

The Authority continues to provide an employee assistance program to enable support for work and family matters. Between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, an estimated 31 staff and family members used this service (totalling approximately 81.30 clinical delivery hours).

The Authority meets its regular hazard inspection requirements by rostering senior executive staff to conduct a quarterly safety inspection of work areas, with the inspection to include a manager from the work area, a health and safety representative or one staff representative of the work area. The Reef HQ Aquarium work area is considered higher risk and monthly inspections occur in that area. This approach, with leadership engagement, was noted as a best practice example in Comcare’s initial audit of the workplace health and safety management system undertaken in July–August 2018. Hazards identified through this process were reported to the Authority Consultative Group, Workplace Health and Safety Committee, Executive Management Group, Audit Committee and Authority Board.

In September 2018, the Authority relocated its main Townsville offices. In conjunction with the move, emergency procedures were reviewed and emergency evacuation drills were conducted in accordance with the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

Approximately 39 staff attended a range of workplace, health and safety training modules facilitated by Comcare, including due diligence training that was attended by the Authority’s Executive Management Group.

Training was also provided for health and safety representatives appointed during the reporting period.

Comcare conducted an audit into the Authority’s workplace health and safety management system between 31 July and 2 August 2018, against 30 criteria taken from the 108 criteria National Audit Tool (the standard for an initial audit).

The Authority received a 77 per cent conformance rate as a result of the audit, with seven non-conformances identified. Following the audit, the Authority worked in conjunction with Comcare to develop a corrective action plan identifying proposed resolutions to non-conformances. This was submitted to the Workplace Health and Safety Committee for input and was subsequently endorsed by the Executive Management Group in October 2018. The corrective action plan has been submitted to Comcare who, along with the Workplace Health and Safety Committee, are monitoring progress until all actions are closed.

The aim of the Authority’s health and wellbeing program is to support staff to create healthy habits, including being sun safe. The program is directed towards good practices such as working in the shade where possible, wearing UV sun smart shirts, wide-brim hats and sunglasses with UV protection, and using 50+ sunscreen. All of these items are provided to employees when working outdoors. Promoting regular skin checks for all employees forms a fundamental part of the Authority’s approach.

In March 2019, approximately 108 employees received a free influenza vaccination as part of the Authority’s health and wellbeing program. These numbers continue to increase each year as more staff access this initiative. New initiatives will continue to be developed to complement and build on those already in place, helping and encouraging staff to be, and stay, healthy.

An external contractor was engaged in December 2018 to review the Authority’s dive operations manual. The focus of the review was to confirm the legislative compliance of the existing manual and whether it sets out requirements which are fit-for-purpose, neither over nor under regulating the dive and snorkel activities undertaken by Authority staff, given the risk profile of those activities.The final report by the contractor was returned to the Authority in June 2019. A final determination as to the uptake and implementation of the recommendations will occur during the 2019–20 financial year.

Staffing statistics

The Authority had 232 employees as at 30 June 2019. Of these, 167 people were employed at Australian Public Service levels 1–6; 61 were employed at executive level 1 or 2, and four were employed at senior executive service levels, including the Chief Executive Officer. More information is provided in the staffing overview table in Appendix B.

Workplace diversity

Workplace diversity data for the Authority’s employees are in Appendix B. The Authority’s workplace diversity program seeks to ensure:

  • annual operating plans (section) and long-term strategic plans (corporate) acknowledge the diverse backgrounds of employees and their current and potential contribution to the Authority
  • the suite of terms and employment conditions enshrined in the Authority’s Enterprise Agreement supported by Authority policies assists employees to balance their work, family, caring and lifestyle responsibilities and preferences
  • the Australian Public Service Values remain central to the Authority’s culture.

Providing access for people with disabilities

The 2018–19 workplace diversity data identified that two per cent of employees have some form of disability.

The Authority’s disability action plan includes applying the principle of reasonable adjustment to office access and accommodation, and work methods. Ergonomic assessments are conducted, and equipment is provided, to suit the needs of the individual.

The Authority’s main building in Townsville — which includes the field management office, conference room, and meeting rooms — is wheelchair accessible. Reef HQ Aquarium, Rockhampton and Canberra offices are also wheelchair accessible.

Since 1994, non-corporate Commonwealth entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11, entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level, two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.

Employment agreements

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Enterprise Agreement 2018–2021 was introduced in March 2018.

Consistent with government policy, all non-senior executive service employees are covered by the enterprise agreement. The current agreement provides salaries to cover classifications ranging from an Australian Public Service level 1 to executive level 2, including a specific legal officer classification.

For non-senior executive service employees, salaries range from $41,930 for Australian Public Service level 1 to $148,194 for executive level 2, including a specific legal officer classification. More information is provided in the staffing overview table in Appendix B.

Non-salary benefits provided to employees include:

  • payment of one work-related professional association membership fee for ongoing employees, exempt from fringe benefits tax
  • access to salary packaging of vehicles and superannuation for all ongoing employees, exempt from fringe benefits tax
  • a healthy lifestyle allowance of $150 per financial year to help meet the cost of activities or equipment that maintain health and fitness.

Senior executive remuneration

At 30 June 2019, all Authority Board members were remunerated by way of Remuneration Tribunal (Remuneration and Allowances for Holder of Part-time Public Office) Determination 2019 or Remuneration Tribunal (Remuneration and Allowances for Holder of Full-time Public Office) Determination 2019.

All senior executive service employees were remunerated by way of section 24(1) determinations under the Public Service Act 1999.

Information about remuneration for key management personnel(1)

Short‑term benefits

Post‑employment benefits

Other long‑term benefits

Termination benefits

Total remuneration


Position title

Base salary


Other benefits and allowances

Superannuation contributions

Long service leave

Other long‑term benefits

Russell Reichelt










Josh Thomas

CEO/Board Member









Ian Poiner










Margie McKenzie

Board Member









Melissa George

Board Member









Emma Johnston

Board Member









Wendy Morris

Board Member









Margaret Johnson

General Manager









Bruce Elliot

General Manager/Acting CEO









Simon Banks

General Manager









Kirstin Dobbs

Acting General Manager









[1] Mr Dave Stewart, Authority Board member, is not remunerated by the Authority as his position on the Authority Board is held as a Queensland Government representative. Ms Anne Leo, General Manager Corporate Services, is employed by the Department of the Environment and Energy and is seconded to the Authority (remuneration data related to this position is included in the Department of the Environment and Energy’s Annual Report).

More information on senior executive remuneration is included in Part 5 Finances.

Performance pay

The Authority does not operate a performance pay scheme.