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Corporate governance framework

Safe Work Australia’s corporate governance framework ensures we provide strategic direction, achieve objectives, manage risks and use resources responsibly and with accountability.

The framework is dynamic and undergoes review and update, as required, to ensure whole-of-government requirements are addressed and to reflect any changes to governance arrangements within Safe Work Australia.

Leadership, ethics and culture

We recognise that leadership, culture and ethical behaviour are critical to implementing a strong corporate governance framework. These elements enable staff to:

  • understand their roles and responsibilities
  • continuously improve performance
  • enhance stakeholder and public confidence in Safe Work Australia, and
  • meet legal, ethical and public service obligations, including by upholding the Australian Public Service Values.

Planning and reporting processes

Planning underpins the work of the agency. Our corporate and operational plans are high level strategic documents developed with reference to the functions identified in our enabling legislation and the priorities agreed with our Members. These plans are supported at an operational level by the Agency Work Plan, which details specific projects and key business as usual activities that we will complete throughout the year.

We monitor our performance in delivering on the strategies, projects and activities identified in our plans, and report periodically on our progress to Members. We also prepare our Annual Performance Statement, in accordance with the PGPA Act and our enabling legislation, that detail our performance against our legislated outcome.

Risk management framework

The agency’s risk management framework and risk appetite are designed to ensure that risk is appropriately identified and evaluated, and that controls and mitigation strategies are in place.

We participate in Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey each year. Outcomes from this survey are used as a guide when updating the risk management framework. The feedback received is a valuable tool used to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in risk management processes.

Business continuity management

In 2018–19 we commenced a review of our business continuity planning to ensure we remain prepared to respond quickly and effectively to an emergency situation, and maintain a functioning agency.

Fraud control

Safe Work Australia complies with section 10 of the PGPA Rule and the Australian Government Fraud Control Policy by minimising the incidence of fraud through the development, implementation and regular review of its Fraud Control Plan and fraud risks. This is undertaken in the context of Safe Work Australia’s overarching risk management framework.

We provide annual mandatory fraud awareness training to all staff through an internal online system called LearnHub. In March 2019, we also organised additional mandatory fraud awareness training for all staff to assist them meet their responsibility to minimise the potential for fraud and take responsibility for reporting suspected fraud. Safe Work Australia continues to remind staff of their responsibility for the prevention and detection of fraud against the Commonwealth, both through training and as part of the induction process for new starters.

No fraud incidents or potential fraud incidents were reported in 2018–19.

Freedom of information

Safe Work Australia is covered by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) and is required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). Safe Work Australia must display a plan on its website showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS. Our ‘IPS agency plan’ is available on our website. Safe Work Australia last reviewed its compliance with the IPS in 2017–18.

Under section 11C of the FOI Act, Safe Work Australia is required to maintain an FOI disclosure log through which information that is released under the FOI Act (excluding personal information and other sensitive information) is made publicly available. Our FOI disclosure log is available on our website.

Safe Work Australia received 17 requests under the FOI Act in 2018–19 and finalised one request that was received in 2017–18. These requests were managed in compliance with the FOI Act.

Safe Work Australia did not receive any requests for internal review under the FOI Act during 2018–19. No applications to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal were made in 2018–19 with respect to any decision made by Safe Work Australia under the FOI Act.

Public interest disclosure

In accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth), Safe Work Australia has established effective and clearly articulated internal procedures for facilitating and responding to public interest disclosures. These procedures are published on our website. Safe Work Australia did not receive any disclosure requests in 2018–19.

Compliance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules

Safe Work Australia’s approach to procuring goods and services, including consultancies, is consistent with, and reflects the principles of, the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Information on significant procurements expected to be undertaken in 2018–19 is in our annual procurement plan, available from the AusTender website, at www.tenders.gov.au.


Safe Work Australia did not have any Notifiable Data Breaches in 2018–19 under the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme.

Safe Work Australia is compliant with the Privacy (Australian Government Agencies – Governance) APP Code 2017 (the APP Code). Under the APP Code, we have:

  • a designated privacy officer and privacy champion
  • an up-to-date register of personal information holdings
  • a privacy management plan, and
  • a register of privacy impact assessments.

Safe Work Australia has prepared a privacy management plan under the APP Code. The privacy management plan is a strategic planning document which identifies our privacy goals and targets and sets out how we will meet our privacy obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles and the APP Code. In 2018–19 under the privacy management plan, we have:

  • developed a privacy framework
  • developed a guide for the management of privacy enquiries and complaints, and requests for access to and correction of personal information under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • developed a process for conducting privacy impact assessments, and
  • worked with staff to raise awareness of privacy compliance.

Safe Work Australia has reviewed its performance under the privacy management plan and has satisfied its objectives under this plan.

Intellectual property

In performing its functions, Safe Work Australia creates, acquires and shares a range of intellectual property (IP). We continue to review our internal and external IP practices, as we continue to receive a large number of domestic and international requests to use our copyright material. Since 2017–18, Safe Work Australia has developed guidance material to streamline its IP processes and improve its IP competencies.

Accountable Authority Instructions

In 2018–19, the Legal Services section, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer, completed a review of Safe Work Australia’s Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs), which enable the CEO of Safe Work Australia to meet her duties under the PGPA Act by setting out appropriate controls and direction for officials.

The new AAIs were published in October 2018. They are based on the Department of Finance’s revised model published in July 2016, and incorporate significant changes to the Commonwealth’s resource management framework, including changes to the PGPA legislation and Finance’s guidance material. They also incorporate changes to Safe Work Australia’s corporate and financial policies and guidance material.