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Performance reporting framework

The agency’s performance is assessed with reference to the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth) functions (section 6), Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) 2018–19, the Safe Work Australia Corporate Plan 2018–2022 (corporate plan), the Safe Work Australia Operational Plan 2018–19 (operational plan) and the targets in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 (the Australian Strategy).

The 2018–19 PBS for Safe Work Australia outlined a single program structure with the outcome statement:

Healthier, safer and more productive workplaces through improvements to Australian work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements.

Deliverables against this outcome are identified in the PBS and were developed with reference to the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth), the strategies in the corporate plan, the activities in the operational plan, and the Australian Strategy, and included:

  • review, evaluate and, if necessary, revise the model WHS laws to address issues impeding the effective and efficient operation of the laws and improve safety outcomes
  • implement the Members’ response to the findings of the mid-term review of the Australian Strategy and coordinate and report on activities undertaken to assist in the achievement of the Strategy’s outcomes and targets
  • develop and implement national education and communication strategies and initiatives to build awareness and knowledge of WHS and workers’ compensation and promote consistency in arrangements
  • collect, analyse and report on relevant data and undertake and disseminate research to identify new priorities and provide evidence for the development or evaluation of policies and supporting strategies
  • develop policy proposals and supporting strategies to improve workers’ compensation arrangements, with a particular focus on return to work, and
  • work with other national and international bodies to share data, information and/or knowledge, and represent Australia as appropriate, to improve Australian outcomes.

The agency measured its performance against these deliverables using two criteria:

  • Activities in the operational plan are delivered to the expected quality, on time and within budget.
  • Reductions in the incidence of work-related death, injury and illness through:
    • an improved and reformed WHS framework
    • increased WHS awareness and skills
    • developing and maintaining an evidence base which informs policy and practice
    • reduced exposure to work-related hazards causing injury and illness, and
    • improved quality of workplace controls.

The targets for these criteria were:

  • 80 per cent of Members and the Chair are satisfied with the agency achievements.
  • By 20221:
    • reduce workplace fatalities due to injury by 20 per cent or more
    • reduce the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims by 30 per cent or more, and
    • reduce the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal claims by 30 per cent or more.

These criteria and targets point to both the short and long-term performance of the agency: short-term being achievements against the operational plan (the reporting year), and long term being achievements against the Australian Strategy.



  1. Reductions in fatalities are calculated using a three-year rolling average, and are measured against a baseline figure of the average number of fatalities over the four calendar years from 2007 to 2010. Reductions in the incidence rate of workers’ compensation claims are calculated each financial year, and are measured against a baseline figure of the average incidence rate over the three financial years from 2009-10 to 2011-12. More information on the methodology can be found in the Australian Strategy’s Measuring Progress Towards Targets Guide available at www.swa.gov.au