Review of annual reports
This chapter examines selected annual reports in greater detail, and
provides the Senate with information that may be of particular interest. The
reports of the Australian National University, the Office of the Building and
Construction Commission, the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman, Fair Work
Australia and the National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and
Training 2008 are discussed in this chapter.
Australian National University
The Australian National University (ANU) recorded a series of strong
results in its 2010 annual report. The university was ranked 43rd in
the Times Higher Education's world university rankings, and was the top
Australian university in the Shanghai Jiao Tong world university rankings. Staff
of ANU won over $96 million in research grants and consultancies, and five were
admitted into the national academies joining the 271 current members from ANU.
The university recorded a surplus of $142 million in 2010.
On 8 May 2010 ANU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the
The MoU recognises that ANU holds a special place as a
strategic endowment for the nation and the unique place of ANU in the national
education system. A key element of this strategic relationship is the role of
ANU in providing education and research to enhance public policy expertise and
knowledge transfer at a national level. The Commonwealth has provided funding
to ANU for the establishment of three major centres: the Australian National
Institute for Public Policy, the Australian Centre on China in the World and
the National Security College, where researchers and students are engaged in
innovative thinking around the broad variety of critical public policy
challenges and building the creative capacities of Australian public servants
and public policy academics.
The ANU has continued to undertake significant infrastructure
developments to meet future student accommodation needs and ensure that the
university is equipped with the necessary facilities to remain a world-class
Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
The Office of the Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) is
responsible for ensuring that building and construction work is carried out for
the benefit of all building industry participants and for the benefit of the
Australian economy as a whole. The annual report is of a satisfactory standard,
reporting major developments and providing information about the operations of
the ABCC on the public record.
The report detailed a number of operational changes that would improve
its capacity to meet its statutory goals. On 1 March 2011 it assumed full
responsibility for investigating wage and entitlement claims in the industry.
Previously, all wage and entitlement claims were forwarded to the Fair Work
Ombudsman for investigation. In April 2011 a MoU was signed between ABCC and
the Department of Immigration and Citizenship facilitating the exchange of
information for the monitoring of labour agreements and the use subclass s. 457
The report also includes information regarding ABCC's performance bonus
system that provides high-performing staff with the possibility of earning a
bonus of up to 20 per cent of their base salary. In 2010–11, $1 459 550
was paid to 136 employees in performance bonuses. As at 30 June 2011, 151 staff
were employed by ABCC.
Fair Work Ombudsman
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an independent statutory agency
promoting harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations and ensuring
compliance with Australia's workplace laws.
One of the key goals of FWO is the provision of education and advice to
stakeholders. In 2010–11 FWO assistance through Live Help (an online 'chat'
service) increased by 55 per cent to 54 743 sessions. Email and postal requests
for assistance also increased significantly, rising 61 per cent. In addition,
825 218 calls for assistance and advice were answered by the Fair Work
Infoline. FWO also completed 22 013 educational visits and provided 32 053
education packs to employers.
FWO's report notes a particular need to support vulnerable employees and
to educate them about their rights. To this end, Fair Work Advisors and
Inspectors attended 19 universities during Orientation Week activities to
answer questions and provide advice to young people. An information campaign
using emails and postcards was instigated to advise international students of
their work rights.
The report shows a significant increase in the number of employer
campaign audits finalised for 2010–11. The number of audits finalised in 2010–11
was more than 84 per cent higher than in 2009–10. These campaign audits provide
information and education followed by a period of auditing during which time
employers are encouraged to improve their business practices and rectify any
shortcomings. In 2010–11, national and regional campaigns resulted in 6 779
audits being finalised and more than $4.7 million recovered for 7 613
The report from FWO highlights a 38 per cent reduction in external legal
fees in 2010–11. This reduction was attributed to the significant amount
of legal work being undertaken by FWO's in-house legal team, and it was
estimated that the cost of litigation in the Federal Magistrates Court can be
halved by using in-house legal staff.
Since 18 August 2008 FWO has been authorised to use in-house lawyers to
conduct underpayment litigation, and since 27 June 2011 it has been authorised
to use in-house lawyers to cover civil-penalty litigation matters including
sham contracting, discrimination and general protection matters.
Fair Work Australia
Fair Work Australia (FWA) is Australia's national workplace relations
tribunal. It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of
functions including, but not limited to, establishing minimum wages, making
enterprise agreements, regulating industrial action, and resolving a range of
collective and individual workplace disputes.
On 3 June 2011 the Minimum Wage Panel of Fair Work Australia handed down
its decision to increase all modern award minimum weekly wages and most
transitional instrument wages by 3.4 per cent. The national minimum wage for
award/agreement-free employees was set at $589.30 per week. The casual loading
for employees not covered by an award or agreement was set at 22 per cent.
The annual report lists significant cases that were considered during
the reporting period. Among others, the Equal Remuneration Case (ERC)
was discussed, which concerns an application for an 'equal remuneration order'
to address alleged pay discrimination against women in social, community and
disability services throughout Australia (the SACS industry). The Full Bench
found that there is not equal remuneration for men and women workers for work
of equal or comparable value in the SACS industry by comparison with workers in
state and local government employment and that this disparity was partly gender
Three members departed during the 2010–11 financial year: Senior Deputy
President Cartwright; Commissioner Foggo; and Commissioner Larkin.
National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training, 2008
The National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training
2008 was tabled on 10 May 2011 along with the National Report to Parliament on
Indigenous Education and Training 2007. The National Report to Parliament on
Indigenous Education and Training had not been produced since the 2006 edition
was published in 2008. The report contains quantitative information on
indigenous education and how it measures against relevant established
benchmarks. The report is in compliance with reporting requirements established
in section 17A of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000.
The committee strongly encourages the timely tabling of future reports on
indigenous education to provide Parliament with the information necessary to
properly assess indigenous education programs and progress.
Comments made in the Senate
The committee is obliged, under Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d), to
consider any remarks made about these reports in the Senate. The committee is
satisfied that there were no comments to consider for these reports.
Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate
The committee is required to report to the Senate each year on whether
there are any bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate which should.
The committee is satisfied that there are no such bodies at this time.
Senator Gavin Marshall
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