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Corporate governance framework

Leadership, ethics and culture

All Safe Work Australia employees are required to uphold the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Employment Principles and the APS Code of Conduct in connection with their employment. Employees are required to undertake training each year in relation to their obligations under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth). The agency also commenced developing a Personal Accountability Framework to address the broad compliance framework in the APS, using simple language and a behaviourally informed approach to assist employees to meet their obligations. The framework has a flexible delivery method and can be used pre or post engagement. The new framework will be launched in the 2020–21 period.

During the 2019–20 period, no investigations into suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct were conducted.

Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

Although Safe Work Australia has limited interactions with children and young people, we are committed to providing an environment in which children and young people are safe, protected and respected. Our policies and procedures document how the agency is contributing to the protection of children and young people. For example:

  • our staff have completed training to ensure they have the skills, confidence and knowledge to safeguard children
  • our Social Media Policy now includes information on how to report online safety issues or breaches of ICT policies, and
  • child safety clauses are included in all contracts where the contract is for services to children, or for activities that will involve or may involve contact with children.

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 work plans, which detail specific projects and key business as usual activities that we will complete throughout the year.

With the agreement of Safe Work Australia Members, our work plans were modified in 2019–20 to allow us to respond to the unprecedented situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 an Annual Performance Statement, in accordance with the PGPA Act and our enabling legislation, that details our performance against our legislated outcome.

Business continuity management

We undertake business continuity planning to ensure we remain prepared to respond quickly and effectively to an emergency situation and maintain a functioning agency. In early 2020 we identified that, as with other entities, our business continuity planning did not specifically anticipate a pandemic scenario. Accordingly, we prepared a COVID-19 specific business continuity plan and successfully implemented it.

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.

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 2019–20.

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 15 requests under the FOI Act in 2019–20. 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 2019–20. No applications to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal were made in 2019–20 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 2019–20.

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 is outlined in our annual procurement plan, available on AusTender.


Safe Work Australia’s privacy framework is guided by its privacy policy, which sets out how we deal with personal information in respect of our functions and activities.

The Privacy Commissioner may consider a privacy issue, including breach notifications and complaints, and issue a report or determination. The Privacy Commissioner did not review any privacy complaints involving the agency in 2019–20.

Safe Work Australia has not reported any notifiable data breaches under the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Safe Work Australia prepared a privacy management plan under the Privacy (Australian Government Agencies) APP Code 2017 for the 2019–20 year. Under this plan, we have:

  • reviewed Safe Work Australia’s privacy notices under Australian Privacy Principle 5 and updated these notices where appropriate, and
  • improved privacy awareness through internal training and internal communications.

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.

Accountable Authority Instructions

To ensure internal conformance and accountability, Safe Work Australia has in place:

  • financial and human resource delegations
  • Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs), and
  • supporting policies, procedures and guidelines.

Safe Work Australia's AAI's were published in October 2018. They are based on the Department of Finance’s revised model published in July 2016.