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Financial overview

Safe Work Australia is jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as set out in the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety. In 2018–19 the agency received $20.590 million in funding.

In 2018–19, Safe Work Australia had an operating surplus of $0.916 million.

Assets management

Safe Work Australia manages assets in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) standards 116 and 138. The agency maintains a detailed asset register and conducts an annual asset stocktake. Assets are regularly reviewed for any impairment or fair value adjustments.

Purchases of property, plant and equipment are initially recognised at cost in the statement of financial position, except for purchases less than $2,000, which are fully expensed in the year of purchase.

Safe Work Australia’s major asset is leasehold improvement, which is recognised at fair value based on an independent valuation.

Exempt contracts

There were no contracts in excess of $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or standing offers that were exempt from the requirement to publish on AusTender during 2018–19.

Australian National Audit Office access clause

All contracts over $100,000 entered into during the reporting period contained an ANAO ‘access to premises’ clause.


When undertaking procurement activities, Safe Work Australia makes reasonable enquiries to satisfy itself that the procurement:

  • achieves value for money
  • encourages competition and is non-discriminatory
  • uses public resources in an efficient, effective, economical and ethical manner that is not inconsistent with the policies of the Commonwealth
  • facilitates accountable and transparent decision making
  • encourages appropriate engagement with risk, and
  • is commensurate with the scale and scope of the business requirement.

The Finance and Procurement section in Safe Work Australia is responsible for
co-ordinating key procurements for the agency, developing and maintaining procurement policies, procedures, templates and forms, and providing advice and support for staff undertaking procurements. To promote best practice, the Finance and Procurement section has undertaken a wholesale review of the agency’s procurement practices and is currently reviewing and updating procurement procedures, templates and guidance material for staff.

Compliance reporting

Safe Work Australia monitors compliance with the Commonwealth Resource Management Framework and finance law, and reports regularly to senior management. There were no instances of significant non-compliance during 2018–19.

Safe Work Australia’s support of Indigenous businesses and small and medium enterprises

Safe Work Australia’s implementation of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy is designed to increase opportunities for businesses owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The agency works in partnership with Supply Nation in applying the policies.

Safe Work Australia is committed to supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by paying providers for goods and services in required timeframes, and engaging in ongoing monitoring and improvement to our procurement and contracting practices. The agency has simplified and streamlined its procurement processes by using the Department of Finance’s Commonwealth Contracting Suite Plus, as required, and for other low-risk procurements. This has significantly reduced the length and complexity of most tender processes and contracts by using a set of terms and conditions that are consistent with other agencies that SMEs would be familiar with. Small and medium-sized enterprise and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website at www.finance.gov.au/procurement/statistics-on-commonwealth-purchasing-contracts/.

Safe Work Australia continues to monitor developments in Commonwealth procurement practices and liaises with the Department of Finance and other agencies to ensure its practices are commensurate with the risks involved and as simple as possible.


Safe Work Australia uses GrantConnect, the new whole-of-government information system for Commonwealth grants, to advertise grant opportunities and report all grants awarded.

Heading costs

Information required by the Legal Services Directions 2017 on Safe Work Australia’s legal services purchasing for 2018–19 will be made available on our website at www.swa.gov.au/collection/legal-services-expenditure-reports by 30 October 2019.

Consultancy contracts

During 2018–19, nine new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $0.392 million (GST inclusive). In addition, six ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $0.569 million (GST inclusive).

Safe Work Australia engages consultants when specialist expertise or independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined reviews, evaluations or data collection for research; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in Safe Work Australia’s decision making. Prior to engaging consultants, Safe Work Australia takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is guided by the requirements of the finance law, the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and associated Guides.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on AusTender.