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 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Safe
Work Australia, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority,
the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation and the
National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training 2009 are
discussed in this chapter.
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
The Secretary's overview emphasised the role the Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) played in the Government
response to the economic downturn in 2010–11, and mentioned the resilience
shown by the Department during its response to those affected by the natural
disasters that struck many parts of Australia.
The years 2010–11 saw the enaction of the Education and Care Services Law, the
implementation of the National School Reform Plan and the launch of the MySchool
DEEWR recorded a 30 per cent increase on job placements for Job Services
Australia, as well as a rise in job placement numbers for disadvantaged groups,
including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
DEEWR also saw its first departmental downsizing in over a decade. This
incorporated a reduction in staff of more than 500 people, as well as a
departmental review and restructure.
Staffing policies would still remain responsive to business needs, to ensure
that its business systems continue to drive further improvements and
efficiencies across DEEWR.
The first of 38 Children and Family Centres funded through the National
Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development was opened in
Belconnen in Canberra 2011.
This centre focuses particularly on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children from birth to the age of eight. It offers a range of services to
support children's health, learning and development and trained professionals
are made available to families at the centre. A total of $292.62 million in
funding is being provided to establish the total of 38 centres across
The Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership reward paid over $138
million to states and territories for improvement in raising educational
outcomes in schools. Queensland and South Australia were able to achieve 100
per cent of the available reward funding.
The Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program provided $56.4
million to assist universities to undertake strategies that improve access to
undergraduate courses for people from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The
funding also assists the implementation of plans to increase retention and completion
rates of this group.
The new Disability Employment Services (DES) model was supplied with
$1.7 billion to help increase the employment of people with a disability, as
well as creating sustainable employment. DES provides access to tailored and
personalised services to assist each individual in overcoming their own
specific barriers to employment.
DEEWR has had positive feedback from the impact of the Homeworkers Code
of Practice program. The Department received reports from workers on improvement
of working conditions, an increase in workers receiving superannuation and a
greater understanding of companies' obligations as well as employee legal
The Department also restated its commitment to reconciliation and noted
the announcement of the first Indigenous Rhodes Scholar in December 2010; Rebecca
Richards, who partook in multiple DEEWR programs in the past including the
Indigenous Youth Mobility Program, the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme
and the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program and the Indigenous Cadetship Scheme.
The committee considers DEEWR's 2009–10 annual report to be well
presented and in compliance with the reporting requirements of a Commonwealth department.
Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia was established as an independent statutory agency in
2009 to improve work health and safety (WHS) and workers' compensation
arrangements in Australia.
The report detailed a number of goals that Safe Work Australia achieved
in the 2010–11 period. These included the development of model WHS regulations
and Codes of Practice that were due to be implemented by the end of December
2011 and the formation of a new work health and safety strategy to replace the National
Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2011–2012. Safe Work Australia also
began the implementation of the National Workers' Compensation Action Plan
2010–2013 with work continuing into later years in order to achieve the four
objectives laid out in the plan.
Safe Work Australia Week celebrated its sixth year and was held between
24 and 30 October 2010. The event is held annually to raise awareness of
workplace safety. In order to promote the week, a variety of activities were
organised both inside and outside the agency.
This annual report is well presented and easily navigated and the
committee considers that this report has fulfilled all requirements. It is
noted that the report was received by the Minister on 17 October, but not
tabled until 9 November 2011.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)
was established in 2008 and is responsible for delivering a national
curriculum, a national assessment program, and national data collection and
performance reporting programs to improve the performance of school education.
ACARA announced that the first four learning areas of the Australian
Curriculum were endorsed by federal, state and education ministers in 2010. These
included English, Mathematics, Science and History. This represents a
curriculum that all young Australians will study from foundation to year 10
with educational resources common to all students and teachers, regardless of
The My School Website 2.0 was released in March 2011 and recorded
150 000 visitors within the first twenty four hours. The new website
helped parents and teachers access information on schools including the Index
of Socio–Educational Advantage and comparable data on recurrent income and
capital expenditure of schools.
In 2011, one million students across Australia partook in the NAPLAN
tests. ACARA succeeded in improving the reliability and consistency of the
administrative arrangements as well as testing accessibility options for
students with a disability.
ACARA has fulfilled all requirements necessary for its annual report and
is commended for its comprehensiveness. However, the committee encourages
timeliness in the presentation of annual reports and notes that this annual
report was tabled on 7 February 2012.
Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation
The Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation was
established in 1992 and provides reimbursement payments to employers providing
long service leave to workers in the black coal mining industry in New South
Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
While performing its role the corporation reviewed the investment
strategy of the Fund using a consulting asset consultant and reported its
confidence that the Fund would record modest and sustainable investment returns
in the following years. The reporting period saw a continued recovery in
financial markets which improved the financial standing of the Fund.
The committee notes this report does not include information on the
Corporation's environmental performance, disability strategy or occupational
health and safety strategy. In addition, to improve useability of the report,
the committee encourages the Corporation to include glossary, alphabetical and
compliances indices in future annual reports. It is also noted that this report
was tabled on 27 February 2012.
National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training, 2009
The National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training
was last tabled on 10 May 2011. This included the 2007 Annual Report and the
2008 Annual Report. The committee notes once again that the National Report to
Parliament on Indigenous Education and training has not been produced this year
and strongly encourages the tabling of the 2009 edition to take place as soon
as possible, 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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