Go to top of page

Main Corporate Governance Practices

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) obliges all Commonwealth officials to apply sound governance practices and procedures in their day-to-day work.

Governance is the set of responsibilities and practices, policies and procedures exercised by the Trustees to provide strategic direction and ensure that objectives are achieved, risks are managed and resources are used responsibly and with accountability. The key governance documents include:

a. RANRTF Corporate Plan. The Corporate Plan sets out the Fund’s purpose, as required by the PGPA Act, and describes the activities to be undertaken and intended deliverables. The plan provides a four-year outlook, is updated annually and published in the public domain.

b. RANRTF Annual Report, including Annual Performance Statements. The Fund’s annual report is a principal formal accountability mechanism between the Fund and the Minister, and is a requirement of the PGPA Act. The annual report provides an important historical record of what the Fund did during the period.

c. Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs). The AAIs enable the Trustees, as the accountable authority to meet their general duties by setting out appropriate controls and directions for officials, especially in relation to the proper use and management of the public resources for which they are responsible (section 15 of the PGPA Act), and maintaining an appropriate system of internal controls including measures for ensuring that officials comply with the finance law (section 16 of the PGPA Act).

d. Risk Management Plan (RMP). The Fund adopts Commonwealth and Defence best practice for risk management and fraud control to meet obligations to members, the RAN and the Australian Government. The RMP outlines the Trustees’ approach and oversight of risk management of the Fund in alignment with the RANRTF Corporate Plan and provides:

i. transparency of risk management within the Fund,

ii. a structure to draw out accountabilities and responsibilities of risk within the Fund, and

iii. a collective framework that articulates accountabilities and responsibilities for risk shared with other entities.

Day-to-Day Operations of the Fund

The Principal Office staff manage the day-to-day operations of the Fund. In the first instance, loan applications are checked by the Ship or Establishment representative and then forwarded to the Principal Office. The Principal Office staff then validate the application in accordance with the Business Rules, and return for correction if not in accordance with the requirements. Special Loans require additional supporting documentation and are processed by the Principal Office then referred to the Board of Trustees for consideration.

On an as required basis, a sample audit is conducted to validate that the loans are being used for the intended purpose. Ad hoc audit activities are undertaken based on an assessment of the likelihood of misuse and the monitoring of loan applications by the Principal Office and the Trustees.

The Trustees and Principal Office staff conduct briefings to courses for Ship and Establishment representatives, Commanding Officers and Executive Officers to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities in administering the activities of the Fund. In addition, the Trustees are available to answer queries and provide advice to Commanding Officers when dealing with unusual situations which may be assisted by the provision of a loan or grant.

Audit Committee

During the reporting period, the Audit Committee continued its audit function as required by the PGPA Act. Under the Audit Committee Charter, the RANRTF Audit Committee comprises no less than three (3) members and no more than five (5) independent members appointed by the Board and meets not less than quarterly per year. The Audit Committee’s main responsibilities include:

a. Providing confidence in the credibility and reliability of performance statements, financial
statements, and other financial information released to other interested and relevant parties; and

b. Oversight of internal controls and risk assessment management to ensure the net assets of the
Fund are protected, and the efficient and effective delivery of services to RAN personnel are
maintained.

The primary role and functions of the audit committee are stated in the Charter. The audit charter was reviewed and updated in June 2021 and is available at the following link:

https://www.keepingwatch.org.au/images/pdf/RAN_Relief_Trust_Fund_Audit_Committee_Charter_2021.pdf

The current audit committee is comprised of five independent members listed below:

Chair of Audit Committee: Lieutenant Commander Peter Chapman, RAN, CSM - (Appointed 01 June 2021)
Experience / Qualifications: Master of Science (Workforce Analytics), Master of Commerce (Strategic Management), Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Certified Practitioner Australian Human Resource Institute, 16 years’ experience as a member of the RAN

Deputy Chair: Commander M Adams, RAN (Appointed 01 June 2021)
Experience / Qualifications: Master of Defence and Strategic Studies (PSC-J), Graduate Certificate of Logistics, Bachelor of Business (Finance), 25 years’ experience as a member of the RAN

Member: Commander K Robson, RAN (Appointed 01 June 2021)
Experience / Qualifications: Master of Strategy and Management, Master of Defence Strategic Studies, Member of Australian Human Resources Institute, Diploma of Government (Financial Services), Diploma of Government (Management), CERT IV Business, 20 years’ experience as a member of RAN

Member: Lieutenant I Green, RAN (Appointed 01 June 2021)
Experience / Qualifications: Master of Logistics Management, Bachelor of Arts (Hons), 10 years’ experience as a member of the RAN

Member: Mrs Sally Witt (Appointed 06 July 2020)
Experience / Qualifications: Graduate Certificate in Accounting, 20 years’ experience as a member of the Australian Public Service

A summary of attendance for the Audit Committee is listed in the following table:

Name

Number of meetings attended

Total number of meetings

Total annual remuneration

Lieutenant Commander P Chapman, RAN, CSM

1

1

$0

Commander M Adams, RAN

1

1

$0

Commander K Robson, RAN

1

1

$0

Lieutenant I Green, RAN

0

1

$0

Mrs Sally Witt

4

4

$0

Previous audit committee members during the period

During the period, the following audit committee members resigned. The details of these audit committee members, their qualifications and experience, and meetings attended are as follows:

Chair of Audit Committee: Captain KJ Ryan, RAN - Appointed 02 March 2018; Resigned on 24 April 2021
Experience / Qualifications: Master of Science in Management (Manpower Systems Analysis), Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science (Hons), and 31 years’ experience as a member of the RAN

Member: Lieutenant Commander RA Higgins, RAN – Independent member - Appointed 23 March 2018; Resigned on 01 Jun 2021
Experience / Qualifications: Bachelors of Commerce in Finance and Professional Accounting, 14 years’ experience as a member of the RAN

Member/Trustee: Commander SL Harris, CSM, RAN - Appointed 30 August 2019; Resigned on 01 Jun 2021
Experience / Qualifications: Masters of Business (Human Resources), Masters of Management Studies (Governance), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Certified Practitioner Australian HR Institute, Bachelor of Arts, 27 years’ experience as a member of the RAN

A summary of attendance for the previous Audit Committee is listed in the following table:

Name

Total number of meetings

Number of meetings attended

Total annual remuneration

Captain K Ryan, RAN,

3

3

$0

Commander S Harris, RAN

3

3

$0

Lieutenant Commander R Higgins, RAN

3

2

$0