Safe Work Australia’s performance is assessed with reference to the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth) functions (section 6), the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) 2019–20, the Safe Work Australia Corporate Plan 2019–2023 (corporate plan), the Safe Work Australia Operational Plan 2019–20 (operational plan) and the targets in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 (the Australian Strategy).
The 2019–20 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 were identified in the PBS and were developed with reference to the Safe Work Australia Act, the strategies in the corporate plan, the activities in the operational plan, and the Australian Strategy. These deliverables were:
- continue to implement the Members’ response to the findings of the mid-term review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 and coordinate and report on activities undertaken to assist in the achievement of the Strategy’s outcomes and targets
- implement the agreed recommendations of the review of the model WHS laws, and continue to develop policy to support the effective and efficient operation of the laws and improvements to safety outcomes
- develop policy proposals and supporting strategies to improve workers’ compensation arrangements, with a particular focus on return to work
- 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 and implement national education and communication strategies and initiatives to build awareness and knowledge of work health and safety and workers’ compensation and promote consistency in arrangements, and
- work with other national and international bodies to share data, information and/or knowledge, and represent Australia as appropriate, to improve Australian outcomes.
Safe Work Australia measured its performance against these deliverables for the year using 2 criteria1:
- 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:
- 70–80% of Members and the Chair are satisfied the activities in the operational plan are met.
- By 2022:
- reduce workplace fatalities due to injury by 20% or more
- reduce the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims by 30% or more, and
- reduce the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal claims by 30% or more.
These criteria and targets point to both the short-term and long-term performance of Safe Work Australia: short term being achievements against the operational plan (the reporting year), and long term being achievements against the Australian Strategy, which sets out a 10-year plan for reductions in the incidence of workplace death, injury, illness and workers’ compensation claims.
1 Safe Work Australia’s planned measures and targets for performance are listed in the Portfolio Budget Statements only. Section 27 of Safe Work Australia’s enabling legislation, the Safe Work Australia Act 2018 (Cth), provides that despite section 35 of the PGPA Act, Safe Work Australia’s Corporate Plan must only include the outcomes to be achieved by Safe Work Australia and the strategies that are to be followed to achieve those outcomes. Accordingly, performance and other information specified for inclusion in the Corporate Plan by the PGPA Rule 2014 (section 16E) does not apply.