Part 3

Report on Performance


Summary of financial performance

After two years of financial deficits, DPS received significant investment in the 2014–15 Budget that enabled the department to provide improved services in 2014–15 and to continue to improve these services over the next four years. Adjustments to DPS appropriations in 2014–15 included:


  • $15 million in departmental operating per annum to cover growth in contracts, employee cost growth and increased services to parliament
  • $2.6 million for voluntary redundancy funding
  • $6.8 million for additional security personnel (associated with the security upgrade budget measure)
  • $1.0 million for business continuity of existing functions impacted by the implementation of the security upgrade budget measure
  • removal of funding for payments to the AFP for guarding services due to the AFP receiving a direct appropriation.


  • $108.4 million for National Security – Australian Parliament House Security Upgrade project
  • $2.7 million for the operating costs associated with implementing the Australian Parliament House Security Upgrade Project
  • $1.7 million for the Parliament House maintenance and asset replacement – assessment and strategic review.

To utilise effectively the additional resources and improve the services provided, DPS has improved its financial and procurement policies and processes. This included the development, in the latter part of the financial year, of a new procurement framework, new Accountable Authority Instructions, an updated financial delegation manual, a new Capital Management Governance Framework, new financial reports to all executives and upgrades to the Enterprise Resource Management System.

These improvements address weaknesses identified in reviews of the department and will better position DPS to deliver sustainable services and a significant capital program over the next four years.

How DPS is funded

In 2014–15 DPS operating funds, including drawing rights, were $149.7 million. This was made up of:

Operating Funds


Appropriated Revenue


Own Source Revenues


Total Departmental Revenue


Electoral Office IT (drawing rights)


Former PMs’ expenses (drawing rights)


AUSPIC (drawing rights)


Administered operating appropriation


Total Operating Budget


How DPS spent the funding



Supplier expenses


Employee expenses


Total Departmental expenses


In 2014–15, total departmental operating expense was $117.4 million for employee and supplier costs (excluding Electorate Office IT, Former PMs’ expenses, AUSPIC and unfunded depreciation), compared with $120.8 million in 2013–14. The net result of this was a decrease in expenditure of $2.8 million, or 2 per cent.

In 2014–15, capital appropriations were made up of:

Capital Appropriations


Departmental Capital Budget


Prior years Departmental Capital roll over


Administered Capital Budget


Prior years Administered Capital roll over


Total Capital Budget


In 2014–15, the Capital purchases were:

Capital Purchases


Departmental Capital Purchases


Administered Capital Purchases


Total Capital Purchases


Total expenses for the key areas of the department’s operations are outlined in the graph following.

Figure 2: Departmental operating expenses by functional area 2014–15 ($m)

Figure 2 Departmental operating expenses by functional area 2014-15 ($m)

Due to the complexity of this image no alternative description has been provided. Please call the DPS Chief Operating Officer on 02 6277 5501 for an alternative description.

Operating result

In 2014–15, DPS recorded a departmental operating surplus of $10.9 million (excluding unfunded depreciation).

Causes of the surplus were:

  • flow-on effects of the savings measures implemented in 2013–14 to minimise the operating deficit. These measures included halting recruitment, delaying maintenance activities and the reduction of services. These reduced activities began to be reversed during 2014–15 after additional funding was allocated in the budget and at Additional Estimates. For example there was significant recruitment as DPS geared up for additional capital works. However, the lead time required for recruitment and other activities impacted on the 2014–15 result.
  • fewer voluntary redundancies than planned with 11 of the planned 24 completed during 2014–15
  • delays in the implementation the Australian Parliament House Security Upgrade Budget Measure

During 2014–15 DPS ceased payments to the AFP for their services at Parliament House. The AFP is now directly appropriated for its services to Parliament House and DPS returned $6.7 million in supplier funding to government. This significantly reduced the total 2014–15 supplier expense when compared with the 2013–14 result.

Agency resource statement 2014–15


Actual available appropriation
for 2014–15

Payments made 2014–15


Balance remaining 2014–15




(a) – (b)

Ordinary Annual Services1

Departmental appropriation2

Administered annual appropriation







Total Ordinary Annual Services





Administered non-operating

Administered Assets and Liabilities3





Total other services





Total net resourcing and payments for the Department of Parliamentary Services





1 Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act (No.1) 2013–14. This includes Prior Year departmental appropriation, capital and s.74 relevant agency receipts.
2 Includes an amount of $24.239M in 2014–15 for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes this amount has been designated as ‘contributions by owners’.
3 Includes Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act (No.1) 2013–14 and prior year appropriations.
4The balance remaining includes $104.4m for the APH Security Upgrade Project that has been approved to be moved into 2015–16 and 2016–17. The capital funding was originally all appropriated in 2014–15.

Budgeted and actual expenses and resources for Outcome

Outcome: Occupants of Parliament House are supported by integrated services and facilities, Parliament House functions effectively and its work and buildings are accessible to the public













(a) – (b)

Program 1: Parliamentary Services

Departmental expenses

Departmental appropriation1




Expenses not requiring appropriation in Budget year2




Total for Program 1: Parliamentary Services




Program 2: Parliament House Works Program

Annual Administered Appropriations




Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year2




Total for Program 2: Parliament House Works Program




Outcome 1: Totals by appropriation type

Annual Administered Appropriations




Departmental appropriation1




Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year2




Total expenses for Outcome 1




Average staffing level (number): 2014–15




1Departmental appropriation combines ‘Ordinary annual services (Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2014–15’ and ‘Revenue from independent sources (s74)’.
2Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year comprise Depreciation Expense, Amortisation Expense and Audit fees.

ICT Division

The ICT Division includes the ICT Strategy, Planning and Applications Branch and the ICT Infrastructure and Services Branch.

Divisional highlights

  • Parliamentarians’ offices received replacement ICT equipment, selected from a wider range under a new model that allows parliamentarians to customise their ICT equipment to meet their individual requirements.
  • Commdocs, senators and members Newspaper Clippings and Breaking News were able to be accessed for the first time on mobile devices, allowing parliamentarians and staff with DPS-provided mobile devices or devices enrolled under DPS’ bring-your-own-device scheme to access content previously only available via office computers.
  • ParlTV enhancements delivered in September 2014 now allow occupants of Parliament House to access the electronic program guide and radio via the in-house TV service.
  • New intranet sites were developed for the parliamentary departments, as well as Senate Connect, a new portal for senators which allows them to access their Questions on Notice, and House Connect, a new portal for members which allows them to access information about outgoing delegations.
  • Enhancements to the APH website now provide live streams and on demand historical footage of Parliament, improved search functionality and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG2.0) compliance to deliver parliamentarians and the public access to parliamentary proceedings anywhere, anytime on any capable smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • DPS is committed to improving accessibility for Parliament House occupants and visitors requiring hearing assistance. Upgraded assisted listening device coverage now includes the Great Hall, Federation Chamber and the majority of committee rooms.
  • Work was completed to install a new broadcasting master control system and video character generator to allow DPS to continue to capture, control and distribute parliamentary proceedings to the media, building occupants and provide audio-visual services to senators and members.

Information and communication technology

ICT is an essential business enabler for parliamentarians, their staff and the staff of the parliamentary departments, underpinning the execution of every aspect of the work of Parliament. Last financial year responsibility for the provision of ICT for the Parliament of Australia was consolidated under DPS following the recommendations of the Roche review. This review highlighted the need for a reduction in the fragmentation of responsibility in the delivery of ICT services to the Parliament. It concluded that a more consolidated ICT division would have the expertise, customer focus and scale to deliver more effective and efficient services to parliament and parliamentarians. The key internal business drivers for ICT in the parliamentary context as outlined in the Roche review are:

  • the specific business requirements of the chambers to enable Parliament to function effectively
  • the requirements of the parliamentary committees
  • facilities and support to enable individual parliamentarians to carry out their duties, and
  • corporate and administrative support required by parliamentarians and by the four parliamentary departments.

DPS now manages the infrastructure and delivery of ICT services to more than 5,400 registered users in Parliament House, Federal Electorate Offices and Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices. This includes service design, implementation and support in the form of a central help desk, training, the provision of software and hardware, and management of the department’s relationships with external ICT providers.

These services are underpinned by ICT standards and policies and are aligned to the Parliament of Australia ICT Strategic Plan to support the work of the Parliament. The peak body overseeing and guiding strategic elements of ICT service delivery is the Parliamentary ICT Advisory Board (PICTAB). PICTAB’s membership comprises members of each house of parliament, representatives from each parliamentary department and the Parliamentary Service Commissioner.

One of the key enablers of service improvement is ICT innovation. An ICT project making a notable contribution to the innovative ICT service improvements is the ParlWork project. Purposely built for parliamentarians, the ParlWork application will provide a consolidated electronic view of the parliament business information. This will enable parliamentarians to access information in the live chamber relating to the current item under discussion and all associated information (e.g. Bills). This system will be progressively delivered with the initial release planned for early 2016.

Replacement of end-of-life equipment

DPS replaced end-of-life ICT equipment in senators’ and members’ Electorate Offices in October 2014 and in senators’ and members’ Parliament House Suites in December 2014.

Details of the replacement activity for parliamentarians’ offices are shown in table 1 below:

Table 1: Replacement activity for parliamentarians' offices

Parliament House Offices

Electorate Offices







Mono Printers



Colour Printers



Multi-function Printers









DPS also replaced end-of-life ICT equipment for the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and DPS from November 2014 to June 2015.

The number of devices upgraded for the parliamentary departments1 is shown in table 2 below:

Table 2: Number of devices upgraded for parliamentary departments

Department of the Senate

Department of the House of Representatives

Department of Parliamentary Services













Printers & Multi-function devices




1Note: ICT replacement activity did not include the PBO. PBO ICT equipment was not due for replacement at the time.

Mobile devices

DPS’ customers expect ICT to be available anytime, anywhere. DPS continues to meet this expectation with 889 mobile devices (586 smartphones and 303 ipads) and 1,011 devices enrolled under DPS’ successful bring-your-own-device scheme.

Availability of core ICT systems

Stability of the core ICT systems improved in 2014–15 with email, Hansard, ParlInfo (searchable repository of all parliamentary data) and the chamber support systems each being available 100 per cent of the time.

Table 3: ICT critical system availability during scheduled service hours


Availability service standard




Core systems—email, Hansard, ParlInfo, chamber systems, mobile device management





Parliamentary Computing Network





Broadcast infrastructure





ICT security

The integrity and security of the PCN underpins the Parliament’s ability to work with confidence.

DPS is committed to ensuring a secure ICT environment and in 2014–15:

  • procured an identity access management solution through open tender for implementation in 2015–16 to enhance DPS’ capability to manage user identities and their access to ICT resources and deliver user self-service capabilities
  • procured a new web, email and endpoint protection solution through open tender (also to be implemented in 2015–16)
  • continued to provide security accreditation when commissioning new systems and security risk assessments for new software
  • continued to implement Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) recommendations to harden the PCN and DPS client devices against cyber intrusions, including the capability to ensure only authorised software operates on the PCN.

DPS faced a new challenge in 2014–15, with 63.1 million emails transmitted across the PCN compared to 26.5 million emails in 2013–14. The increase can be attributed to both increased use of email generally and to the large volume of emails received from targeted political campaigns.

DPS will work with parliamentarians’ offices to identify suitable ways to allow them to manage political mass email campaigns more effectively.

A further 102 million emails were blocked in 2014–15 either because they were classified as spam or because they contained malicious content. This compared to 50 million emails blocked in 2013–14.

ICT support services

Parliamentarians, their staff and the staff of the parliamentary departments require timely and dependable access to information delivered primarily through parliamentary ICT systems supported through the ‘2020 Support Desk’. DPS is pleased to note that efforts to improve dependability, customer satisfaction and timeliness have resulted in real service improvements for our clients.

Table 4: Client satisfaction and performance with DPS 2020 Support Desk and ICT support staff during 2014–15

Satisfaction 2020 Support Desk

Unsolicited emails received






Overall positive feedback



Incidents resolved within timeliness targets


Calls answered within 30 seconds


The nature of calls to the Support Desk are categorised as being an incident, a service request, or a request for information. Incidents relate primarily to desktop and laptop software bugs and printing service faults. Service requests were primarily for user access (password resets, unlocking user accounts), software installation requests and ‘requests for information’ calls primarily related to printing (how to connect to printer), user access (account modifications) and email (for example, adding additional mailboxes and mailbox access permissions).

The number of incidents is noticeably lower compared to previous years, while the proportion of service requests and information requests is higher. This is a positive trend indicating there are less ICT related work interrupting faults or bugs for DPS clients.

Table 5: Calls to 2020 Support Desk

Type of call




Incident reports




Service requests




Information requests








What our clients say: feedback to the DPS 2020 Support Desk

'Thank you. You are the BEST IT team!

A special thank you to Ben who was incredibly patient and helpful'.

‘I phoned this morning with a fairly complex issue (for me anyway!) and Greg was a wonderful help – he went away a number of times and dedicated a good deal of time and effort to ensure the information was correct and ultimately was able to get the issue resolved for me and my colleagues.

His assistance and manner in dealing with me was really appreciated.’

‘Thanks so much Penny.

You guys are ALWAYS so helpful and patient. I really appreciate everything you do for all of all of us.

2020 rocks!’

Assisted listening devices throughout Parliament House

At DPS, we are committed to improving disability access and providing services that assist all visitors and occupants in the building. Following from the installation of new upgraded assisted listening devices in the Great Hall, Marble Foyer and the Great Verandah the previous financial year, DPS completed the installation of assisted listening devices in all committee rooms with the exception of the main committee room, which was completed in July 2015.

The assisted listening system now provides full coverage of major public areas, including the public galleries; and has greatly improved the Parliament House experience for people with impaired hearing. The system provides a means of directly transmitting audio of proceedings to a hearing aid or other suitable receivers worn by the listener, eliminating background noise. The assisted listening system delivers exceptional audio quality for both voice and music transmission.

In 2015–16 we expect to install the upgraded system into the party rooms, the Cabinet Room, the executive press conference room and the Chambers.

Virtual visitors to Parliament House

With more than 3.979 million visitors during the year, the APH website remains a primary tool for the community to obtain information about and engage with Parliament. The APH website is currently ranked 16th 2 of all Australian Government websites in terms of visitation. Visitors to the site are able to access a large volume of information about Parliament, including parliamentary business, Hansard transcripts, educational material, senators’ and members’ pages and parliamentary and Library publications. On demand streaming of parliamentary proceedings and historical footage can be accessed anywhere, anytime on any capable smartphone, tablet or computer, through DPS’ innovative broadcast service ParlView.

DPS analytics reveal a significant trend in how public access information on the APH website, with a 52 per cent growth in traffic from smartphones and a 21 per cent growth in traffic from tablets in 2014–15, compared to 2013–14.

ICT projects

A range of new capabilities were delivered in support of the Parliament in 2014–15.

In September 2014 enhancements to existing systems improved client access to information. A new electronic program guide and digital radio service were delivered on DPS’ digital in-house TV system. The change was completed before Australian analogue TV signals ceased on 8 October 2014.

Changes were also introduced to allow parliamentarians to access the existing Commdocs, senators and members Newspaper Clippings and Breaking News services on their mobile devices.

Enhancements to the APH website were delivered, improving search functionality and compliance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG2.0) 3, to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

Clients can now access parliamentary proceedings and historical footage of parliament via DPS ParlView service anywhere, anytime on any capable smartphone, tablet or computer.

From November 2014, as part of Australian Signals Directorate recommended measures to improve the security of the PCN, DPS rolled out security enhancements designed to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions.

On behalf of the Department of Senate, DPS created a new senators’ portal to provide a single site that delivers access to resources and services for senators, including committee memberships and a database which will provide each senator’s office with its questions on notice.

Additionally, work has commenced to deliver a new members’ portal and new intranet site on behalf of the Department of the House of Representatives.

New intranet sites have been developed and were delivered in May 2015 on behalf of the Parliamentary Budget Office and the Department of the Senate. The sites support improved communication and easy access to online resources within each agency.

Some key projects have raised challenges for DPS and we anticipate delivery in 2015–16:

  • ParlWork project: the ParlWork project will deliver an application that will provide parliamentarians with the information they require in the chamber electronically on their mobile devices. DPS is working to resolve issues extracting the required information from legacy systems. Information will include motions, orders of the day, bills and bill-related material. This application will be delivered in 2016.
  • Video Conferencing project: a pilot of video conferencing facilities will be implemented in committee room 1R3 and 2S1. DPS is working with building heritage and moral rights specialists to select a suitable solution that meets the design intent of the building. DPS will work with suitable configurations to meet the needs of parliamentarians and the parliamentary departments.

What our clients said

‘I thank the IT service people; DPS; 2020; the International and Parliamentary Relations Office; the gardening, landscape, maintenance and art services; visitor services staff; our parliamentary house guides; the switchboard operators; and Hansard.’

The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, The House of Representatives, Parliamentary Representation, Thursday 4 December 2014, p.14242



In a first this year, DPS welcomed two ICT graduates under a program run by the University of Canberra. The graduate program is part of a Department of Finance Whole of Government initiative. The DPS ICT graduate program began in November 2014 and runs for 12 months.

Parliament is a unique environment for ICT graduates, because DPS ICT services and infrastructure are delivered under ‘one roof’. This gives graduates an end-to-end perspective of systems and processes and allows them to see their work come to fruition while also providing them with the opportunity to contribute to the operation of Parliament.

Adele, who has a Bachelor of Information Technology, and Khoa, who has a Bachelor of Science, both relocated to Canberra to be a part of the graduate program.

Both graduates have enjoyed their time in the program and remarked that colleagues and clients alike have been friendly and helpful. The two are looking forward to continuing to work for the department.

DPS new ICT graduates, Khoa (left) and Adele (right)

Above: DPS new ICT graduates, Khoa (left) and Adele (right)



Screenshot of the mobile view of a page displaying ParlView

Parliamentary proceedings and historical footage of parliament can now be accessed on demand via DPS ParlView, anywhere, anytime on any capable smartphone, tablet or computer.

Mobile devices have proven to be an efficient and effective platform to deliver information. The improved search function queues video to match the search terms. This helps clients find the right results faster.

Enhancements to the APH website have also been introduced to deliver access to parliamentary proceedings on any platform on a range of devices (e.g. PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone) to parliamentarians and the public alike, making Parliament more accessible than ever.

Above: Footage of the House of Representatives on the website.  


Building and Asset Management Division

The Building and Asset Management Division comprises the Asset Development and Maintenance Branch, the Strategic Asset Planning and Performance Branch, the Security Branch and the Program Delivery Branch, and provides maintenance, heritage, security and program delivery services which benefit parliamentarians and their staff, Parliament House employees and visitors.

The Parliament House complex occupies a 35-hectare site, comprises approximately 4,700 rooms across four levels, and has a total floor area of approximately 250,000 square metres. The building contains more than 100,000 maintainable assets including plant, fixtures, fittings and operating equipment all of which are maintained by the division. These assets include 44 lifts, 1,900 temperature zones, approximately 750,000 square metres of plaster board and more than 40,000 lights. To these are added bespoke furniture and furnishings.

Divisional highlights

  • Commencement of a significant capital works program related to the physical security of Australian Parliament House in early 2015 with completion of the hardening of several entry points.
  • Working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to provide an increased and enhanced guarding presence in and around the building, and implementation of more stringent building access provisions.
  • Completion of the Building Condition Assessment Report (BCAR) which examined all aspects of the building fabric and services.
  • Completion of the Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP) to guide future maintenance and capital work identified by the BCAR.
  • Substantial design and early works for major infrastructure and building fabric upgrades.

Maintaining Parliament House

Essential maintenance, conservation and enhancement of the parliamentary precinct will ensure that Australian Parliament House remains operational and functional for its planned 200-year life.

The experience and knowledge of DPS staff has been built over the life of the building, with several employees still maintaining plant and equipment they installed during the building’s construction, more than 27 years ago. Skilled craftsmen, such as joiners maintain bespoke elements, including parquetry flooring, suite furniture and visitor seating and amenities. Retention and transfer of these skills is important. The department is reviewing the structure of trade groups within the Asset Development and Maintenance Branch, to ensure that training and apprenticeship programs can be supported into the future.

Keeping Parliament House’s physical environment functioning optimally and maintaining its fabric and infrastructure requires a significant investment and constant maintenance. DPS is responsible for all repairs, maintenance and engineering services in Parliament House, including air conditioning, lifts, electrical, plumbing, hydraulic services, movement systems, building fabrics, furniture, signage, cleaning and waste disposal. Maintenance teams include:

  • Landscape Services – which maintains the 23 hectares of landscape, including 10 hectares of turf. This team also maintains indoor plants in the circulation areas of the building and external sporting facilities such as tennis courts, the netball/basketball court and the Senate oval
  • Building Fabric Services – which maintains the internal and external surfaces within the building, such as carpet, fabric, timber, door hardware, concrete, stone, ceramic tiling, glazing, painted surfaces, signage and the Parliament House Furniture Collection
  • Electrical Services – which maintains the high and low voltage electrical infrastructure and distribution system, internal and external lighting, emergency lighting, backup power systems for life support and critical systems, and the Building Management System
  • Mechanical Services – which maintains all the mechanical plant, steel structures, hydraulics, and the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and is also responsible for the maintenance of the swimming pool, spa and gymnasium equipment, ponds and water features, cool rooms and freezers, security bollards, flag pole, brass and metal fixtures, and the building’s environmental and thermal conditions
  • the Logistics section – which is responsible for receiving and delivering goods around Parliament House and also manages the waste management contracts for Parliament House.

Table 6: Building maintenance work in 2014–15

Building maintenance work in 2014–15

12,712 square metres of painting

90 items of status A (commissioned) and B (global) furniture refurbished

All external glazing cleaned

25,457 square metres of parquetry floor repolished

31 bathrooms or ensuites re-tiled

Building condition assessment report

In 2014–15, DPS engaged industry experts to undertake a Building Condition Assessment Report (BCAR). This report examined all aspects of the building fabric and services to determine their current condition and ascertained the amount and type of maintenance and capital works required to maintain or bring the condition of the building back to an acceptable standard. While the BCAR has found that overall, the building fabric and services are in good condition, significant work is required over the next 10 years to ensure that the building maintains this condition. The report identified areas where plant and equipment was at the end of its life and requires replacing, as well as areas where increased maintenance is required due to the age of the building. The report also considered work required to address issues which have arisen due to changes to disability access, the building code and Work Health and Safety legislation since the building was constructed.

The BCAR was completed in March 2015. The main findings were that additional investment was required to support ageing plant and equipment as well as providing increased workplace safety and enhanced access for people with a disability. The report recommended a 10-year asset replacement and refurbishment program.

In conjunction with the BCAR, the consultants also developed a Strategic Asset Management Plan (SMAP), which determined the funding required to undertake the works identified in the BCAR. This found that approximately $329 million in additional funding would be required over the next 10 years to address the issues identified in the BCAR. In the 25 June 2015 Presiding Officers’ report to the Parliament the Presiding Officers stated ‘We have considered the report and agree with its major findings. The essence of those findings is that the Parliament requires a ten-year program of replacement and refurbishment with the estimated current day value of the program being some $329 million. Annualised, this equates to 3.8 per cent of the capital replacement cost of the building per year, which is slightly higher than an average commercial premise. This higher cost can be accounted for due to the unique characteristics and very high quality of workmanship required for Parliament House. To put this in context, the original cost of building Parliament House is estimated to be $1 billion with the current estimated value of the building at $2.1 billion.’

A request for additional funding was approved in the 2015–16 Budget and DPS received an additional $98 million in administered funding across the Budget year ($23 million) and the forward estimates ($25 million a year).

DPS has developed a comprehensive capital works plan that will be rolled out from 2015–16.

The findings of the BCAR will continue to inform strategic direction and operational planning to ensure DPS is guided by comprehensive building assessments in planning maintenance works. Ensuring the health and safety of building occupants, and that design principles are considered, must be integral to all DPS’ work practices and the plans and reports described above will help ensure significant improvements in our approach to maintenance in the future.

Maintenance Work

The work performed by DPS maintenance teams is scheduled to minimise inconvenience to building occupants. This includes, where safe and practical, scheduling overnight or early-morning activities and carrying out the majority of the work during non-sitting periods. In addition to the works highlighted above, in 2014–15 DPS also:

  • resealed the House of Representatives chamber skylight
  • completed a range of minor projects such as room fitouts
  • replaced a number of glass panels which had cracked or delaminated.

To ensure prompt response and resolution of day-to-day building issues, the DPS Maintenance Help Desk manages building service requests, responds to alarms, assigns rapid response trade staff and provides a 24-hour system monitoring and response function.

The volume of requests to the Maintenance Help Desk shows an upward trend during 2014–15 (shown in Figure 3).

Figure 3: Number of calls to the DPS Maintenance Help Desk

Figure 3: Number of calls to the DPS Maintenance Help Desk 

Delivery of building upgrades and projects

DPS continued to deliver capital building projects to improve the performance of the building, including a fire detection and alarm system upgrade and a height safety project. DPS has upgraded its scaffolding equipment and staff from the Maintenance Services Section have been trained in the safe use of the equipment.

The introduction of pay parking in the Parliament House public carpark in December 2014 required the installation of equipment including pay stations, boom gates and ticket machines.

In 2014–15 DPS assisted with the refurbishment of Westpac’s Parliament House branch, and the relocation of FcM Travel within Parliament House.

Major projects which commenced this year and will be completed in 2015–16 include the Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System Replacement, a Passive Fire System audit and rectification, and the Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) Telephony Rooms Modification which will address overheating of IDF rooms.

Landscaping maintenance work

DPS maintains 23 hectares of landscape in the Parliamentary Precinct. This includes formal and native gardens, courtyards, 10 hectares of turf, water features and outdoor sporting facilities. The landscape forms an integral component of the precinct and of the original design and, as such, it is vital to maintain the grounds to a suitably high standard.

During 2014–15, DPS planted more than 7,000 annuals in the formal gardens for the summer and winter displays, replaced four trees and replanted a Buxus hedge at the House of Representatives Rose Garden. DPS also installed drainage improvements and undertook minor regeneration works.

What our clients said

‘I too want to thank the Clerk and the Clerk’s office, all of the Senate staff, the Hansard staff, the Comcar drivers and, in particular, the gardeners. I really enjoy the gardens in this building. As you walk around during the year, being out there is something that brings joy to our lives. I want to thank them particularly.’

Senator the Hon Christine Milne, Senate, Statements, Thursday 4 December 2014, p.10377

Assessing the condition of Australian Parliament House

The department conducts several activities to ensure regular and timely reporting on the asset custodianship measures.

The Building Condition Index (BCI) was designed for use at Parliament House in 1993. At that time, the Engineering Systems Condition Index (ESCI) and the Design Integrity Index (DII) were part of the BCI. In 2000, the building fabric, engineering and design integrity components were separated through the creation of the ESCI and the DII. This has allowed the department to distinguish building maintenance activities from the condition of the engineering systems and the design integrity.

The Design Integrity Index measures the current condition of the design integrity of Parliament House and the Parliamentary Precinct, expressed as a percentage of the original built form. The DII is prepared on an annual basis. Design forms part of the heritage values of Parliament House and the Parliamentary Precinct.

The Landscape Condition Index (LCI) was designed and structured to allow Landscape Services to measure the condition of the parliamentary landscape. The LCI provides for the landscape to be assessed in October every year and the results tabulated into a percentage rating. This percentage rating can then be tracked from year to year and trends, areas or individual elements can be evaluated.

The 2014–15 results for the asset custodianship indices are in the table below. While the BCI remained stable, there was slight improvement in the other three indices.

Table 7: Parliament House Works Program—Key Performance Indicators 2014–15

Asset custodianship




Target in PBS

2014–15 Result

Building condition index





Landscape condition index





Engineering systems condition index





Design integrity index





Reporting methodology

Reporting on the asset custodianship indices requires inspections throughout the precinct to assess the condition of a particular area. In many cases, the department engages external experts to assist with this process.

Building condition index

The Building Condition Index (BCI) measures the current condition of the building fabric of Parliament House, expressed as a percentage of the original condition. The BCI is determined by a visual inspection of the building and fabric surfaces for deterioration and damage caused by general wear and tear.

In 2014–15, over 750 inspections were conducted throughout the eight zones of the building. For each area 34 building elements (carpet, furniture, painted surfaces, leather, lights, etc.) were assessed and ratings are given based on their actual condition. These scores were then compiled in order to obtain the total BCI score.

The overall score for 2014–15 remained the same as 2013–14. During the year there was a reduction in the carpeting and painting programs due to earlier decisions to reduce activity to tackle the departmental deficit. While additional resources were subsequently made available, the lead-time for works meant that the volume of activity in some areas in 2014–15 was still affected by earlier savings measures. However the suite re-tiling program increased, with 31 bathrooms or ensuites re-tiled.

Table 8: Building Condition Index by area (target 89–92%)


BCI Score 2012–13

BCI Score 2013–14

BCI Score 2014–15

Public areas
















House of Representatives




Back of house




Plant rooms












Landscape condition index

The Landscape Condition Index (LCI) measures the current condition of the landscape surrounding Parliament House, expressed as a percentage of the optimum landscape condition. The LCI is measured in October each year, with the landscape divided into eight zones, as shown in Table 9.

The overall 2014–15 LCI increased by 1 per cent from the 2013–14 score. This is due to all ponds being reinstated in the courtyards as well as some replacement of shrubs in the courtyards.

Table 9: Landscape Condition Index by area (target 90%)


LCI Score  2012–13

LCI Score  2013–14

LCI Score 2014–15

Native peripheral gardens




Senate courtyards




House of Representatives courtyards




Ministerial courtyards




Eastern Formal Gardens




Western Formal Gardens








Front of building








In 2014–15 there was a decrease in the scores for the Eastern Formal Gardens (including the House of Representatives bank and entrance), the Western Formal Gardens (including the Senate bank and entrance) and the front of the building. The Eastern Formal Gardens had a decrease of 3 per cent from 2013–14 because the trees at the House of Representatives entrance have declined in appearance and general tree health and the calcium staining on the formal gardens viewing platform has increased. The Western Formal Gardens, which includes the sports oval and the Senate bank and entrance, had a three per cent decrease.

Conversely, the growth of some courtyard trees has exceeded expectations, due to their protected microclimate and the irrigation and fertilisation of surrounding turf.

Engineering systems condition index

The Engineering Systems Condition Index (ESCI) measures the current operation and condition of the engineering systems in Parliament House against the required operating condition (target 90 per cent). The ESCI rating process for 2014–15 was supported with data from the comprehensive BCAR. The overall result increased slightly compared to 2013–14. The improvement in this index was mainly due to the upgrading and replacement of fire safety and monitoring equipment.

Table 10: Engineering Systems Condition Index




Engineering Systems Condition Index (target: 90%)




Design Integrity Index

The Design Integrity Index (DII) measures the current condition of the design integrity and heritage values of Parliament House and the Parliamentary Precinct, expressed as a percentage of the original built form. In particular, it measures the extent to which change within the Parliament and the precinct impacts upon the original design.

For the purpose of measuring the DII, Parliament House and the precinct are divided into different zones. In each zone, the components of language, symbolism, design order, change and the overall impression are inspected and scored using a weighted set of criteria given a score from one to five against and agreed set of criteria. The outcomes for each component are added together to obtain a zone score. The zone scores are combined to obtain a building score. This score is then expressed as a percentage of the total possible score.

Each year a team of three assessors is assembled to undertake a building-wide assessment of all areas of the building and landscape. Due to the size of this task some spaces including parliamentarians’ suites, basement plant rooms, administrative office areas and the courtyards are not inspected in their entirety. Sample areas are chosen at random each year and inspected as a representative sample of these larger areas.

In 2014–15, the design integrity score increased by 0.56 percentage points from the previous year to 89.98 per cent. This reflects implementation of some like-for-like building fabric replacements, improvements in the presentation of four of the special suites inspected, and improved design integrity in the spaces managed by the chamber departments. Building-wide issues that continue to negatively affect the DII rating include the increasing use of non-standard furniture, wear and tear on the building (especially caused by the bump-in and bump-out of functions in the ceremonial spaces) and the blocked skylight in the Great Hall. DPS management is currently looking at how these issues can be addressed.

Table 11: Design Integrity Index by area


DII Score  2012–13

DII Score  2013–14

DII Score 2014–15

Public and ceremonial areas




House of Representatives wing




Senate wing




Ministerial wing




Committee rooms and library




Facilities areas and tenancies




Circulation and basement areas




Exterior: landscape and roadways




Total score




What our clients said

‘A number of routine maintenance matters have also been addressed. I am sure honourable members will agree that the chamber looks very sound and fresh. In closing, I would like to thank the staff of the office of the Serjeant-at-Arms and of the Department of Parliamentary Services for all their efforts in progressing this enhancement project. I am sure they will contribute to the continuing successful operation of this Federation Chamber. Many other parliaments around the world have now adopted the principle behind the Federation Chamber, which has now been successful for 20 years.’

The Hon BC Scott MP, Deputy Speaker, The House of Representatives, Statements, Monday 24 November 2014, p.12923



Photo of English Daisy (Bellis perennis) flowers in the Formal Gardens of Parliament House

Tours during the spring Floriade Festival were conducted again in 2014. The tours allowed visitors to explore 12 of the 17 private internal courtyards of Parliament House. Visitors saw wonderful spring flowering trees and shrubs such as the Mt Fuji weeping cherries, azaleas and flowering crab apples.

One-hour tours were conducted by DPS Visitor Services staff, and four two-hour tours were conducted by the Head Gardener and senior horticulturists from DPS Landscape Services. The tours were popular and sold out quickly.

Above: A magnificent display of English Daisy (Bellis perennis) in the Formal Gardens of Parliament House.  

Environmental management

Sustainability and environmental management

DPS continues to strive to maintain a best practice, environmentally sustainable operating environment. A comprehensive report on environmental management can be found at Appendix 1.

In 2014–15, energy consumed at Parliament House was 139,169 GJ, representing an increase of 1.5 per cent from the previous financial year. Electricity consumption increased by 3.3 per cent, natural gas consumption decreased by 1.5 per cent, diesel fuel energy (non-transport) increased by 5 per cent, and energy for DPS vehicles (gardening, maintenance services and logistics) decreased by 22 per cent compared with 2013–14. Energy used in 2014–15 was comparatively higher than 2013–14 due to the 2013 federal election, when building occupancy rates and associated energy use is typically lower.

Table 12: Energy consumed at Parliament House and by DPS transport


Energy consumption (GJ)




Parliament House building1




Transport–passenger vehicles




Other transport2




Total energy consumption




1Includes electricity, natural gas and diesel (non-transport).
2Includes LPG, diesel and petrol used for maintenance and loading dock vehicles.

Figure 4: Annual electricity and gas consumption from 2010–11 to 2014–15

 Figure 4: Bar graph if breakdown of annual electricity and gas consumption from 2010–11 to 2014–15

Alternative water supply for landscape irrigation

Landscape water consumption decreased from 114,587kL in 2013–14 to 99,269kL in 2014–15, representing a decrease of 13 per cent.

To minimise the amount of high quality potable (drinking) water used for irrigation, in 2014–15, DPS completed a feasibility study into abstracting water from Lake Burley Griffin for use in the landscape. The study confirmed that using lake water is a viable alternative to potable water and would provide a reliable, cost effective and long-term water source for Parliament House into the future.

An application for a Water Access Entitlement was successfully lodged with the ACT Government, which allows DPS to extract 115,000kL of water annually from the lake, and further work on the detailed design and documentation of an infrastructure solution will be completed in 2015–16.

Figure 5: Water usage since 2009-10

Figure 5: Water usage since 2009-10

Bogong moths

Each year at Parliament House, large numbers of Bogong moths appear during their seasonal migration. Being attracted to the lights, they inhabit many parts of the building and necessitate a significant clean-up operation.

Various strategies are used to deter the moths from accessing the building, such as reducing the illumination of external lights including the main flag pole light, sealing gaps around the building, and reminding occupants to turn off lights, close blinds and keep external doors closed. Moths can enter the building through minute openings and it can be very difficult to keep them out.

A new initiative trialled in 2014–15 was the installation of 425 ultraviolet (UV) filters on the in-ground up-lights of Parliament House. The UV filters, made of clear polycarbonate, are thought to reduce the attractiveness of the lights to moths without affecting the building’s illumination.

The results of the trial appear promising, with significantly lower numbers of moths observed in the building compared to previous years, and only a minimal clean-up operation required. However, further testing of the filters will be necessary to discount other external factors such as prevailing weather patterns, which can influence moth numbers at Parliament House.

Heritage and design integrity

In 2014 DPS commenced work on a five-year conservation management plan and a design principles document that sets out the key design philosophies of the principal architect, Mr Romaldo Giurgola AO to guide the continuing evolution of the building. An Expert Advisory Panel, chaired by the DPS Secretary, was established to guide and finalise these documents. The panel comprises five leading experts in the fields of architecture, landscape design and cultural heritage management: Mr Peter Watts AM; Mr Richard Thorp AM; Ms Oi Choong; Mr Keith Cottier AM; and Major-General Steve Gower AO (Mil Ret).

The plan will help deliver an integrated approach to the medium and long-term management and application of the design principles in Parliament House. It will set out the heritage and design integrity values for the building and its furnishings and establish supporting policies, strategies and monitoring and reporting regimes to ensure the building is managed appropriately to both sustain these design integrity values and to provide a functional environment which meets the evolving needs of a working Parliament.

Professor Richard Johnson AO MBE, the specialist consultant appointed in April 2014 as the primary author of the design principles document, has completed a second draft. The document, to be finalised in parallel with the plan, will become a permanent reference source for future work relating to the building, its contents and surrounds.

Both initiatives have been the subject of consultation with members of the original design team.

Heritage assessments

In 2014–15 DPS undertook a range of heritage assessments, including: heritage impact assessments on the works at Parliament House; heritage significance assessments on objects that may be subject to disposal; and other advice about potential impacts on heritage values arising from ad hoc requests.

Community engagement

Staff from the DPS heritage team conducted in-depth specialist heritage tours of Parliament House as part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. The ‘Valuing Heritage’ tours enabled the department to engage with visitors with a special interest in the tangible and intangible heritage of Parliament House. The tours were well subscribed and visitor feedback was positive.


A safe and secure environment is necessary to support the important work of Parliament.

In September 2014, the Prime Minister announced that the National Terrorism Public Alert Level had been raised from medium to high. This change, in conjunction with ongoing discussion with Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence community, resulted in changes to the security posture and governance in the Parliamentary Precinct, with the Presiding Officers giving the AFP responsibility for operational security within Parliament House.

In December 2014, DPS entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the AFP to ensure cooperation in the provision of security operations at Parliament House.

The Parliamentary Security Service (PSS) is DPS Security’s physical security guard force. PSS officers provide expert security services for the building and are often the first point of welcome for visitors to Parliament House.

The PSS and the AFP employ a range of measures including identity verification, access control and screening at entrances to Parliament House, static guarding and mobile patrolling throughout the parliamentary precinct, and robust procedures regarding the management of staff and visitors. DPS also operates an extensive range of security systems across the parliamentary precinct, and plays a key coordination role in supporting major events and managing emergency procedures and exercises.

The changing security environment has also resulted in a major enhancement of internal and perimeter physical security at Parliament House. This work began in 2014–15 and will continue until 2018, with a one-year rectification period.

Further to these works, a range of additional controls have also been employed including:

  • improved screening and detection systems
  • additional armed personnel patrolling the precinct, and
  • greater security awareness communications and exercises.

Security policy and governance

Contemporary and relevant security policies and procedures determine how security services are designed and delivered. Parliament House policies and procedures are specified in the Operational Policies and Procedures framework, guided by the Security Management Board (SMB). The SMB is a statutory board providing security advice and support to the Presiding Officers. The framework is issued under the authority of the Presiding Officers and gives comprehensive direction and guidance for the entire range of Parliament House security-related services and activities.

After the raising of the National Terrorism Public Alert Level, DPS was tasked, in consultation with stakeholders, with updating the framework, to ensure the policies and procedures were commensurate with the current security environment. DPS is responsible for applying security risk management to the development and delivery of all security services and activities to minimise potential impacts on the Parliament.

Building security projects

In October 2014, a multi-agency taskforce was established in response to the raising of the National Terrorism Public Alert Level from medium to high.

Part of the work of the taskforce was to recommend a series of improvements and enhancements to the security arrangements at Parliament House. The Presiding Officers assigned primary responsibility for improving the physical security at Parliament House to DPS. Funding for this work was provided in late 2014.

The security hardening project involves work inside the building as well as on the perimeter of the building.

To manage the security upgrade works the Program Delivery Branch was established in the Building and Asset Management Division in late 2014 and will remain in place while the works are being delivered. It consists of a mix of experienced senior staff seconded from other Commonwealth agencies.

The program of capital works was begun in 2014–15, with the suite of security-related works scheduled for completion in 2018, with a one-year rectification period.

In 2014–15 security upgrade works were completed on the first set of access points between the public and private areas of Australian Parliament House. Entrances off the Marble Foyer were opened by Budget night to accommodate the high volume of visitors to the House, with final works completed in June. Significant progress was made on works on perimeter security enhancements at the ministerial entrance. The proposal for a fence, gatehouse facility and additional vehicle bollards were approved by both Houses of Parliament on 26 March 2015. The works were also referred to the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee for inquiry. The committee reported in June 2015, noting that DPS would provide updates to the committee in relation to the works and indicating that the committee would maintain a watching brief on the works as part of its ongoing inquiry into DPS.

Security reviews

An independent review of the Parliament House Pass Policy was completed in 2014 with a number of recommendations provided for consideration by the SMB. The review by Directors Australia was completed in February 2014 and formed the basis of pass policy discussions at the SMB during 2014–15. Work is continuing in line with the anticipated delivery of a new Parliament House access control system, which is expected to provide additional access management capability and efficiencies.

Reviews of various policies and procedures to inform the Security Framework took into account the underlying threat environment and security risks to the Parliament, Parliament House and its occupants and were informed by consultation with appropriate policing and security agencies. By investing in the assessment of the security frameworks and ensuring compliance with Australian Government policy, DPS continues to reduce the risk exposure of Parliament House and increase the effective and efficient management of security in the precinct.

What our clients said

‘I want to personally thank the parliamentary security staff for their professional handling of the situation, and also take this opportunity to thank staff of both the Department of Parliamentary Services and the Department of House of Representatives for their diligent and conscientious work.’

The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, The House of Representatives, Statements, Thursday 28 August 2014, p.8973

Security training

In 2014–15 approximately 160 DPS Security personnel undertook 8,055 hours of training and development. Training is developed in accordance with Australian regulations for security, workplace health and safety and legal liability, which require all activities that protect the building and its occupants to be carried out by qualified personnel.

All training activities are mapped to competency levels and measured for impact. All PSS officers have to engage in Induction and Competency Maintenance Training, which includes:

  • senators and members recognition
  • advanced defensive tactics
  • first aid
  • powers and authorisations
  • patrols and searches.

For PSS officers working in the Parliamentary Security Operations Room, where CCTV systems are managed and viewed, privileges training is incorporated into Induction and Competency Maintenance Training. Other officers do not currently receive this training but additional training is expected to become part of a suite of online training to ensure annual awareness strategies.

DPS has developed and delivers a Parliament House-specific Certificate III in Security Operations, enabling the department to deliver key training in-house. The course has received accreditation from the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and is designed to provide developing DPS team leaders with the skills needed to perform the role. Eleven staff were enrolled in this qualification during 2014–15.

Security for functions and events

In 2014–15, DPS Security supported 37 official visits, including by the:

  • Prime Minister of Japan
  • Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • President of the People’s Republic of China
  • Prime Minister of India
  • President of France
  • Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
  • King and Queen of Norway
  • Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and
  • Governor-General of New Zealand.

Significant planning and resourcing, including the development of risk management plans and rostering of additional security officers and concierge services is required to ensure a balance is struck between the day-to-day operations of the Parliament, and the requirements of major events. All events were held without incident or undue impact on the day-to-day operations of the Parliament in 2014–15.

PSS role in medical assistance

DPS operates a Nurses Centre to provide First Aid services for all building occupants during sitting weeks. DPS’ security service, PSS, provides a first aid service at all other times. PSS Officers are all certified in first aid and refresh their qualifications annually. The Nurses Centre also offers an annual influenza vaccination program for building occupants. In 2014–15, there were 793 vaccinations administered, a 21.4 per cent increase on the previous year.

Chief Operating Officer Division

The Chief Operating Officer Division comprises the Finance and Procurement Branch, the People, Strategy and Governance Branch, the Parliamentary Experience Branch and the Enterprise Agreement Project Team. The division provides advice and services to DPS on governance, strategy, finance, procurement, human resources and records management. This ensures that DPS complies with its responsibilities under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and a range of other legislative obligations, including human resources-related legislation. It also provides visitor programs, licences and art services.

Divisional highlights

  • 2014–15 saw significant improvements in DPS’ financial and procurement policies and processes, including the release of a new Procurement Manual to assist DPS officials to meet Commonwealth requirements in relation to procurement and contract management.
  • New finance, payroll and HR systems were rolled out, including an e-recruitment system and standard SAP software. The department is undertaking a Corporate Systems Support project which has seen the implementation of a new Human Resources Management Information System in February 2015 that incorporates both the DPS payroll system and a new e-recruitment system.
  • Our on-time payment rate for small business is now 95.6 per cent, above the Government’s 90 per cent requirement, and up from 86.5 per cent last year.
  • The DPS Risk Management Framework was reviewed and reissued.
  • In 2014–15, DPS participated in the Parliamentary Graduate Program and ICT Graduate Program for the first time.
  • DPS also maintained SafetyMAP certification of the department’s Work Health & Safety Management System (WHSMS) to JAS-ANZ standards for the sixth year in a row. DPS is the only Commonwealth department with this level of certification for its entire WHSMS against the SafetyMAP audit tool.
  • The programs for Floriade and Enlighten were expanded to include new offerings, such as the ‘Spring Glory Courtyard Tour’, ‘Spring Tea’, and ‘Sunset on the Roof’. These events proved very popular and many sold out well in advance, with more than 900 people attending.
  • Initiatives to mark the Centenary of Anzac included the exhibition ‘First Landing to Last Post: contemporary perspectives on 100 years of service’, a range of public programs and tours, and increased cooperation with the Australian War Memorial.
  • Initiatives to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta included a reception in the Great Hall hosted by the Presiding Officers; the launch of a limited edition $5 silver rectangular collector’s coin created by the Royal Australian Mint; a special edition of the ABC program Q&A; a range of merchandise, and a Magna Carta family tour.
  • A number of significant acquisitions to the Parliament House Art Collection were made, including an artwork by Mavis Ngallametta which was unveiled during Reconciliation Week 2015.
  • Communities@Work commenced as the new provider at the Capital Hill Early Childhood Centre in January 2015. The new service has been very well received.

Chief Finance Officer

During 2014–15 recruitment in the Finance and Procurement Team replaced contracted staff with new, ongoing staff. Significant work was undertaken to review DPS’ financial and procurement documents. New delegations were issued, Accountable Authority Instructions were revised and a new Procurement Manual was released. Improvements were also made to internal budget planning and reporting.

More detailed information on the work of the Finance and Procurement Team is at Part 5.

People, Strategy and Governance

In the second half of 2014–15 the DPS SES leadership team met to develop an action plan in response to the range of reviews, including the ANAO report into management of assets and contracts, and the results of the 2014 DPS/APS employee census. Subsequent meetings of the SES and their senior staff worked to develop the 2015–19 Corporate Plan, and review DPS Enterprise Risks and how they are managed.

In April 2015 DPS commenced development of branch business plans, to bring together branch priorities, risks, business continuity, workforce planning, and budget into annual consolidated planning and activity documents. Branch business plans were developed for 2015–16 through a series of branch workshops and meetings, and are aligned to the 2015–19 Corporate Plan. They were finalised in early 2015–16.

DPS also continued to develop its reporting against KPIs and provided regular monthly reporting to the DPS Executive Committee from December 2014. DPS will make further enhancements to its performance reporting framework in 2015–16 to continue to improve transparency of the department’s operations.

Review of the DPS Fraud Control Policy, Fraud Risks and Fraud Risk Control Plan began in late 2014–15. All were finalised in early 2015–16. In addition to this review an assessment of the DPS Enterprise Risks against the new Corporate Plan commenced and was finalised in early 2015–16.

Details regarding governance information for DPS can be found in Part 5 Management and Accountability. This information includes details on:

  • corporate planning
  • internal audit
  • risk management
  • fraud prevention and control
  • reports on operations of the department.



During the latter part of 2014–15, DPS focused on implementing a robust governance framework. Promoting good governance through robust practices and evidence-based decision-making has framed the development of new procedures and guidelines.

Financial Delegations and Guidance Instructions

Fresh financial delegations were issued in December 2014, and minor updates were made in April 2015. The Accountable Authority Instructions were issued in December 2014 and updated for minor changes in April 2015.

Finance, contracts and procurement

The department has completely overhauled its procurement processes, with the adoption of new procurement and contract management policies, including a centralised procurement policy and the establishment of an advisory team. These new procurement and contract management policies and guides include risk and performance measures and monitoring to ensure compliance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), PGPA Rules and Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs).

A suite of new templates supporting the policies and guidelines was developed. The department will regularly review the procurement and contract management policies, guidelines and templates to ensure these accurately reflect legislative requirements, and provide workable guidance to the department in its day-to-day functioning.

Procurement and contract management foundation training has been delivered to staff with contract and procurement responsibilities. This training aims to develop a consistent skills base across the organisation, through detailed training about policy changes and the responsibilities of staff performing these functions. More complex training for senior practitioners is under development, and will be delivered quarterly.

A quarterly Contract and Procurement Practitioners’ forum was established and met in May. Led by the CFO, this forum will discuss ongoing learnings with all staff responsible for contracts and procurement, share learnings from recent experience and reinforce good practice and the use of the policies and guidelines.

Corporate Systems Program

The department has systematically implemented a Corporate Systems Program, with new finance, payroll and HR systems—including an e-recruitment system—implemented in 2014–15. Further work on the program will continue in 2015–16.

Corporate Planning

As 2014–15 drew to a close DPS was finalising the 2015–19 Corporate Plan, and the Business Plans 2015–16 for each branch. Staff at all levels from all sections of the department participated in workshops and meetings to contribute their ideas and perspectives, identify challenges and opportunities, and develop key themes to be used in the 2015–19 Corporate Plan, and branch plans for 2015–16. The 2015–19 Corporate Plan is based on the commitments the department has made in the Portfolio Budget Statements for 2015–16, including Key Performance Indicators, measures and targets. It is compliant with the requirements of the PGPA Act, and will be reviewed annually. Branch business plans will be reviewed bi-annually as part of our mid-cycle review, to report progress against operational measures and review risks.

Audit, Risk, Business Continuity and Fraud Control

During 2014–15, the department updated the enterprise risk framework, ensuring compliance with the PGPA Act. The DPS Risk Management Policy and Risk Management Toolkit were approved on 30 June 2015 and released to staff in early July. The department’s Audit Committee Charter was updated in February 2015, to ensure continued strong oversight by our Audit Committee, the membership of which was revised to ensure compliance with the PGPA Act. Work commenced on reviewing the Fraud Control Plan. This was completed in July 2015.


DPS has implemented new forums for regular planning and discussion across the senior executive, with weekly operational planning meetings and strategic discussions for all SES officers on issues as they arise.

DPS participated in the 2014 APS/DPS Employee Census, becoming the first parliamentary department to do so. In May and June 2015, DPS participated in the 2015 APS/DPS Employee Census. The census provides a valuable opportunity for staff to express their views and gives impartial information to DPS managers. The response to the 2014 census included more regular SES leadership meetings to focus on the key and emerging issues for the department.

Parliamentary Experience

Visitor services

Visitor services staff of DPS, through the tour program, engage visitors with the work, stories and collections of Parliament House. During 2014–15 DPS developed and offered visitors nine new tours. These included a new free ‘Welcome’ tour and eight paid tours that explored the collections, unique spaces and stories of Parliament House. The ‘Exploring Magna Carta’ family role play tour and ‘Magna Carta to modern day: the path to Australian Democracy’ tour were specifically developed to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Other new tours included ‘Parliament at War’ and ‘Discover Parliament House’.

DPS continued to strengthen its partnerships with other organisations including the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Capital Authority and the National Archives of Australia to stage a variety of events while also showcasing staff expertise and the richness of the collections. More than 900 people were attracted to five events developed in collaboration with the Canberra Theatre. This included panel discussions with the creative teams behind Black Diggers, The Magic Flute, Bell Shakespeare Company and The Magic Hour.

In 2014–15, DPS developed new behind-the-scenes tours and participated in Canberra’s three major festivals: Floriade, the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival and Enlighten. DPS also offered free ‘Welcome’ tours and three paid tours to visitors each day. The paid tours and festival events were conducted on a cost recovery basis and achieved an average participation rate of between 75 and 90 per cent.

Highlights of the 2014–15 visitor programs included the following:

Floriade courtyard and garden tours

DPS expanded its 2014 Floriade festival program, offering more tours and new events. Visitor Services Officer (VSO) led ‘Spring Glory’ tours of the private courtyards at Parliament House attracted 573 visitors. The ‘Head Gardener’ two-hour tours were led by DPS Landscape Services Officers who shared their extensive knowledge of the gardens and horticulture, concluding with a delicious morning or afternoon tea. For the first time, two ‘Spring Tea’ events were held under the trees in one of the courtyards. Feedback from the 116 people who enjoyed an afternoon tea buffet was overwhelmingly positive, ensuring that the events were offered again in 2015.

What our visitors said

‘Enjoyed immensely. Our guide was excellent. The building is absolutely beautiful and the courtyard gardens were exquisite.’ ‘Spring Glory’ tour participant, September 2014.


Enlighten 2015 heralded the beginning of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta celebrations at Parliament House. Two new illuminations were presented on the façade of the building during the festival. Aboriginal artist Mavis Ngallametta’s work Bushfire at Ngak-Pungarichan, 2013 and a Magna Carta 800th anniversary image were appropriate additions to the existing popular giant images.

DPS offered an expanded program of tours and new events during Enlighten. Most of the behind-the-scenes tours were sold out, with ‘Unconformity’, ‘Beneath the House’ and the ‘White Glove’ art tours attracting 351 people. The ‘Beneath the House’ tour, led by VSOs, took visitors to behind-the-scenes areas, culminating in a special viewing of the unconformity rock formation in the basement. Renowned geologist Wolf Meyer led the two hour ‘Unconformity’ tour that examined the stone and rock featured in and below the building. Led by the Director of Content, Art Collection and Exhibitions, the new ‘White Glove’ art tour offered visitors a rare opportunity to visit the art store to examine some special objects.

The ‘Dining in the House’ event in the Members’ and Guests’ Dining Room was again fully booked with 100 diners enjoying a special menu designed by InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) executive chef. The hottest festival ticket was held by the 200 people who attended the ‘Sunset on the Roof’ event. For two hours they sipped drinks and nibbled from mezze platters, with the best view in Canberra. DPS recorded a significant increase in visitation to Parliament House during the Festival, from 1,916 visitors in 2014 to 2,663 visitors in 2015. Families particularly enjoyed the season of free Robin Hood films and the Magna Carta family tour.

What our visitors said

‘The tour was thoroughly enjoyed by the four people I was with. The tour guide was most interesting and informative. Would thoroughly recommend it.’ ‘Beneath the House’ tour participant, February 2015

Heritage tours

The 2015 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival theme focussed on commemorating the centenary of Anzac and World War One. The popular tours from 2014, ‘Feel the Heritage’ and ‘Valuing Heritage’, were again offered in April 2015 and attracted 252 people. The ‘Valuing Heritage’ tours, led by DPS Heritage staff, offered a special opportunity to visit the Speaker’s and President’s suites.

What our visitors said

‘Best tour I have ever been on in all of the Capital Buildings I have visited world-wide.’ ‘Feel the Heritage ‘ tour participant, April 2015

Community events

Approximately 380 children from six choirs, plus their families, came to Parliament House to perform during the Christmas season.

On 8 December 2014 there was a special performance by the Kadavu Choir from Kadavu Island which is off the main island of Fiji.

During 2014–15 Parliament House also hosted school and community performance groups from remote and regional areas including:

  • the Divine Divas from Sunbury
  • Bendigo Youth Choir
  • Alstonville Public School Senior Band, and
  • Moorambilla Voices from remote western NSW.

Ceremonial events

Parliament House hosted three Guest of Government visits during November 2014:

  • the Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;
  • His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China; and
  • Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

The ceremonial welcomes on the forecourt attracted hundreds of people, especially from the Indian community, which turned out in force to welcome Prime Minister Modi.

Visitor numbers

During 2014–15, the number of visitors recorded through the main entry was 759,483, a significant increase on the 677,932 recorded in 2013–14. There was an increase of more than 9,200 school students in 2014–15 compared to the previous year.

Table 13: Visitor Numbers 2014-15




Number of visitors




Number of tour participants

General public tours




School tours1




Other tours




Total participants in tours




Number of virtual visitors (visitors to APH website)




1includes students, teachers and accompanying adults on the tour.


DPS advertised its events, programs and visitor experiences in Canberra through:

  • flyer distribution to tourism and community venues across Canberra
  • advertising in local press
  • email direct marketing to a visitor mailing list including building occupants, and
  • radio and print editorial.

Parliament House also participated in VisitCanberra’s 101 Humans social media campaign, targeting local community advocates.

The Parliament Shop

The Parliament Shop has continued to develop and offer new product lines that either reflect the exhibition program or feature the Parliament House collections or regional and nationally recognised artists and artisans. A new range of Parliament House products has been created featuring the 1297 Magna Carta, including a lens cloth and hand-printed tea towel.

Revenue from The Parliament Shop increased, from $841,486 in 2013–14 to $1,029,859 in 2014–15 (GST inclusive), due to the new, quality product lines as well as higher visitor numbers. The average spend per transaction was $19.77.


DPS, through its contracted caterers, delivers a wide range of catering services to meet the needs of Parliament House occupants, guests and visitors. Catering staff start cooking at 6.30am and catered functions can finish well after midnight. On Budget Day 2015, the coffee machines were turned on at 6.30am in Aussies Cafe and General Store, with two teams of three baristas working consecutive eight hour shifts, to meet demand. Another 140 catering staff were needed on Budget Day to meet food and beverage needs at events ranging from the Budget lock–up to formal functions in the Great Hall.

In 2014–15, emphasis has been placed on improving the quality and diversity of the food and beverage service at Parliament House. Feedback on inconsistent portion sizes has been addressed, with new serving processes in place. In response to feedback, the brand and mix of roasted coffee beans has been changed in all of the Parliament House caterer’s venues. DPS has also worked with the parliamentary caterer to refresh menus. The Queen’s Terrace Café has introduced a rolling quarterly change to its menu, while a new 2015 winter menu was introduced in the Staff Dining Room. These changes represent a concerted effort to improve choice, quality and consistency of product.

Demand for food and beverage services at Parliament House increased in 2014–15. The total number of covers1 served increased by 16.25 per cent on the 2013–14 figure, in part due to 2013–14 being an election year. Table 14 shows a breakdown of the covers by location.

Table 14: Total number of meals/beverages served at Parliament House in 2014–15




% increase on 2013–14





Room service




House services (catering service—morning and afternoon teas, light meals and hot and cold beverages)




Members’ Club




Members’ and Guests’ Dining Room




Staff Dining Room




Queen’s Terrace Café




Schools hospitality




Coffee cart








1A ‘cover’ equates to a sale (usually a single food or beverage serve), except for functions where the number equates to the number of people served which may involve multiple courses.

Many community, business and government organisations choose Parliament House as a prestige venue for their events.
In 2014–15, the scope of events ranged from university graduation ceremonies to state dinners with G20 attendees. In 2014–15, Parliament House hosted 800 functions. Large scale events in 2014–15 included the dinner for the Chinese President, His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, and the Press Gallery’s Mid-Winter Ball.

Main production kitchen

In September 2014, the Main Production Kitchen project received its certificate of practical completion. The Main Production Kitchen serves as the primary point of food preparation for the parliamentary caterer. The upgrade delivered the following benefits:

  • compliance with current Food Safety Standards and ACT Health requirements
  • a reduction in maintenance and cleaning costs
  • improved contractor safety and health outcomes, and
  • the implementation of a computerised quality system, which monitors food quality from preparation through to serving, using cook/chill technology.

In June 2015, the Great Hall Kitchen had cook/chill banqueting equipment installed to complement the cook/chill system in the Main Production Kitchen. This will enable the banquets prepared in the Main Production Kitchen to be reheated from a chilled state in the kitchen immediately adjacent to the Great Hall. This will reduce the time taken to deliver the meals from reheat to table, improving the quality of the meals served in the Great Hall. Commissioning and testing of the equipment is expected to be completed in August 2015.

Health and Recreation Centre

DPS manages the Health and Recreation Centre (HRC) at Parliament House. The HRC provides a variety of equipment, offers exercise classes and develops tailored individual fitness programs. In 2014–15, the HRC expanded the number of weekly classes to 20, delivering a mix of ‘Circuit’, ‘Boot Camp’, ‘Weight Circuit’, ‘Definition’, ‘Stretch’, ‘Boxing’, ‘Spin’, ‘Abdominal’, ‘Back’, ‘Core’ and ‘Yoga’ classes.

During the 2014–15 summer parliamentary recess, DPS undertook a major refurbishment of the HRC pool. The pool was fully drained, repairs were made to cracked tiling and the pool’s expansion joints were replaced. New waterproof lighting was installed.

As at 30 June 2015, the HRC had 560 members. Eighty-nine of the HRC members were senators or members. In addition, there were 2,055 casual visits to the HRC during 2014–15. In November 2014, DPS introduced a 10 visit pass to the HRC, which gives greater flexibility to non-Canberra-based pass holders and casual visitors.

Other services

In December 2014, DPS and the Westpac bank agreed to a new five-year licence for the Westpac branch at Parliament House. In April 2015, Westpac undertook a complete refurbishment of the Parliament House branch office and installed a current generation automatic teller machine and video conferencing equipment. This will allow Westpac to deliver a greater range of financial services to parliamentarians and pass holders.

In January 2015, Communities@Work commenced as the new childcare provider at Parliament House. A smooth transition from the previous childcare provider, Anglicare, took place with no interruption of services.

Beginning in January 2015, DPS has been renegotiating licences with the Press Gallery. Rates have been updated to reflect the 2014–15 Canberra commercial leasing market and the 2014–15 Parliament House operating costs.

Art Collection & Exhibitions

DPS is the custodian of a remarkable collection of Australian art, comprising more than 6,000 contemporary and historical artworks valued in excess of $80 million.

The collection was created specifically for Parliament House, as an essential element of the building’s architectural fabric. It comprises a number of stand-alone collections, including the:

  • Rotational Collection — consisting largely of contemporary Australian artworks. The primary purpose of the Rotational Collection is to enhance the general circulation spaces of the building, as well as the offices and suites of parliamentarians. The Rotational Collection is made available to these occupants as a free enhancement of daily life in the building and in recognition of the Parliament’s importance to the nation
  • Architectural Commissions — consisting of artworks commissioned as an integrated part of the architectural design of the building
  • Historic Memorials Collection — consisting of portraits of officeholders and paintings of significant parliamentary events since 1911. It is the longest continuous commissioning program in Australia
  • Official Gifts Collection — consisting of gifts presented to the Parliament since 1901
  • Constitutional Documents — a group of significant archival documents
  • Archival Collection — a range of historic and archival materials about Parliament, the art collection and the construction of Parliament House.

Works from the collection are made available for display in parliamentarians’ offices and public areas and are lent to other cultural institutions throughout Australia for exhibition. A small team of specialist DPS staff manages these assets—cataloguing, researching, digitising, conserving, preparing and presenting works of art to the highest possible museum standards


During 2014–2015, a number of artworks were lent to exhibitions across Australia, including a retrospective of the work of Vicki Varvaressos, at Maitland Gallery. A newly acquired still life by Margaret Olley was lent to the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Centre, and a Patsy Hely tea set was lent to the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery for an exhibition of Canberra ceramics. The two large Federal Capital Site paintings continued their journey around Australia as part of the National Gallery of Australia’s major travelling exhibition, Capital and Country. Several significant works from the Parliament House Art Collection continue to be on long-term loan to a number of institutions, including the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, the National Archives of Australia and the Museum of Australian Democracy, at Old Parliament House. At the request of the Presiding Officers, DPS began negotiations to facilitate the return of eight official prime ministerial portraits from the Museum of Australian Democracy for display within Parliament House.


DPS supported a varied program of high-quality public exhibitions and displays aimed at Parliament House visitors and building occupants, giving greater public access to the Parliament House Art Collection and highlighting the importance of the collection to the nation. The exhibition program included:

Another bunch of flowers: works from the Parliament House Art Collection

This exhibition featured a selection of artworks exploring the ways artists have been inspired by and celebrated Australia’s wonderful flora. It included works by some of Australia’s most significant and best-loved artists, including Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Preston, Charles Blackman, John Perceval, Margaret Olley and Tim Maguire.

Namatjira to Now: Five Generations of Watercolours from the Central Desert

Presented in conjunction with the Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre and Big hART, this exhibition presented spectacular landscapes of the Hermannsburg watercolour movement by Albert Namatjira, his descendants and members of the Hermannsburg community.

First Landing to Last Post: contemporary perspectives on 100 years of service

Featuring works from the Parliament House Art Collection, the Australian War Memorial and selected loans from artists, this exhibition included contemporary artworks depicting the work of Australian Defence Force personnel in conflict and peacekeeping operations over the past 100 years. This exhibition was a major contribution to Parliament’s commemoration of the Centenary of ANZAC.


DPS actively acquires works of art for the Parliament House Art Collection to ensure that:

  • the Rotational Collection continues to represent diverse aspects of contemporary Australian life and culture and showcases the very best in Australian art and craft
  • the Historic Memorials Collection continues its 104-year tradition of documenting the history of the Parliament and its officeholders
  • official gifts to the nation are recorded and preserved for future generations.

During 2014–15, a total of 28 works of art were acquired: 23 were added to the Rotational Collection and five to the Gifts Collection. Works added to the Rotational Collection included major Indigenous works by Mavis Ngallametta and Helen S. Tiernan, and works by a number of artists previously unrepresented in the collection, including John Kelly, Baden Pailthorpe, Erica Seccombe, Sophia Szilyagi and Nick Howson. Eighteen works were by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

A number of significant gifts were also accepted into the collection during the year. These included archival materials from Ms Kay Lawrence AM, which related to the creation of the Red Gorge tapestry, originally commissioned for the Prime Minister’s Dining Room. Other gifts included a limited edition print by Robert Juniper from former Senator Dr Alan Eggleston and an Esme Timbery shell work Sydney Harbour Bridge gifted by Mr Patrick Corrigan AM. Two official parliamentary gifts were accessioned into the Gifts Collection— a Steuben glass bowl from former US President George W. Bush, presented during a 2003 visit, and a crystal plaque received from current US President Barack Obama, during a visit in 2011.

There were no additions to the Historic Memorials Collection during 2014–15; however the portrait commissions for former Speakers Mr Peter Slipper and Ms Anna Burke MP are progressing and will be delivered in 2015–16 for approval by the Historic Memorials Committee. Discussions are continuing with the offices of former Prime Ministers, the Hon Kevin Rudd and the Hon Julia Gillard, regarding the final selection of an artist to undertake their respective portrait commissions.

A number of conservation projects were conducted during 2014–15, including major restoration work to the frame for the Historic Memorials portrait of The Hon Albert John Gould VD, the second President of the Senate. Following the completion of this work, this portrait was installed in the Senate Wing.

A number of minor preventative treatments were also undertaken during the year, including re-stretching of a number of Indigenous canvases and some minor repairs to damaged works.

During 2014–15 DPS also commenced planning for a three-year project to digitise the entire collection, implement radio frequency identification tracking for artworks, and undertake a comprehensive condition assessment and 100 per cent stocktake. As a result of this major project, DPS will create an online catalogue for the collection to enhance public accessibility.

Table 15: Artwork activity 2014-15




Extent to which the art collection is developed (number of new artworks acquired)




Cost of acquisitions

(art collection development)




Number of artworks receiving preservation




Cost of preservation






In June 2015, Parliament House was host to a range of activities to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

On 15 June in the Great Hall, the Presiding Officers hosted a reception to celebrate the anniversary. The Prime Minister launched a limited edition $5 silver rectangular collector’s coin inspired by the Parliament’s 1297 Magna Carta and created by the Royal Australian Mint. More than 250 guests attended the reception in the Great Hall, including 29 students from Boggabri Public School. Entertainment was provided by the Royal Military College Woodwind Quintet.

On 19 June Her Excellency Mrs Menna Rawlings CMG, British High Commissioner, presented a lecture on the Magna Carta as part of the Australian Senate Occasional Lecture Series in the Main Committee Room. This was followed on 24 June by the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, presenting the British High Commission Magna Carta Lecture in the Great Hall. Quality Magna Carta memorabilia was created for the Parliament Shop.

Photograph of staff from Building Fabric Services and Art Collection and Exhibitions installing the 1297 Magna Carta in the Great Hall

Above: Staff from Building Fabric Services and Art Collection and Exhibitions installing the 1297 Magna Carta in the Great Hall as part of the 800th anniversary celebration event.



TripAdvisor certificate of excellence

Above: Australian Parliament House's TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Australian Parliament House has been honoured with a Certificate of Excellence by the TripAdvisor website in 2015. TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. Collectively, TripAdvisor branded sites reach 315 million unique monthly visitors.

The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to accommodation providers, restaurants and attractions that consistently receive outstanding reviews on the TripAdvisor site. To be eligible for the certificate, businesses need to maintain a TripAdvisor rating of at least 4 out of 5. Parliament House has achieved an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 throughout the year.

Reviewers often comment on the professional and friendly service provided by Visitor Services Officers, the impressive building design, and the unique opportunity to see Parliament in session.

“One of the great world houses of democracy.”

“What struck us immediately was how accessible the various areas were and how welcome we were made to feel.”

“Loved the architecture, tours and displays.”,



Children enjoying the Enlighten Festival at Parliament House. Artwork by Electric Canvas

Above: Children enjoying the Enlighten Festival at Parliament House. Artwork by Electric Canvas

In 2014–15, DPS gave visitors new and unique opportunities to engage with the building through expanded programs for the Floriade and Enlighten festivals. In 2015 Parliament House offered five new events for the Enlighten Festival. The Beneath the House tour and the White Glove art tour almost sold out and the Exploring Magna Carta role-play tour and Robin Hood Film Festival were popular with families.

To supplement annual tours of the courtyards, DPS collaborated with catering partner IHG to host spring tea in the gardens over two Saturdays during Floriade. Visitors enjoyed a delicious range of sweet and savoury treats in the picturesque setting of the Parliament House gardens. Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and both the weather and resident magpies were well behaved!

“A wonderful afternoon, lovely food, excellent staff looking after us, great atmosphere.”

“Gorgeous setting, great food—what a treat! Great, friendly staff, wonderful weather.”

“A lovely way to see one of the gardens not open to [the] public.”

DPS continued its support of the annual Enlighten Festival in 2015. Sunset on the Roof was attended by 200 guests, who enjoyed spectacular views of Canberra as they mingled beneath the building’s iconic flag mast.

Parliamentary Recording and Reporting

The work of parliament and parliamentarians relies on access to records of proceedings, including Hansard—the official written record of what is said in the Senate, House of Representatives and Federation Chambers and in parliamentary committee hearings. In order to serve their purpose fully those records must be reliable, timely and readily available.

External audiences such as government bodies, the media, academics, interest groups, businesses and others also rely on broadcasts and transcripts of parliament to follow the debate of bills, Question Time, press conferences and parliamentary committee hearings. Availability of broadcasts and transcripts on the APH website are key features of parliament’s engagement with the community.

In 2014–15, the Parliamentary Audio Visual Services and Hansard teams recorded and transcribed 4,216 hours of chamber and parliamentary committee proceedings, an increase of 1,381 hours from 2013–14 (an election year) and 572 hours more than 2012–13.

1,381 extra hours equates to recording and transcription services for an additional 568 hours of chamber proceedings and an additional 813 hours of parliamentary committee proceedings, compared to 2013–14.

Table 16: Hours recorded and transcribed


Number of hours recorded and transcribed




Parliamentary proceedings in the Senate, House of Representatives and Federation Chambers




Parliament House committee hearings




Interstate committee hearings








Table 17: Hours of parliamentary committee hearings for the last quarter

Final quarter of financial year




Parliament House committees




Interstate committees









Hansard online

Hansard is available through the ParlInfo search database and as PDF documents on the APH website.

The average number of hits per month to access Senate and House of Representative Hansards on the ParlInfo database decreased from 444,646 in 2013–14 to 314,578 in 2014–15.

Table 18: Access to Hansard on the ParlInfo Search database

Average number of hits per month




Senate Hansard




House of Representatives Hansard








Table 19: Hansard—Accuracy


Type of transcription

Service standard

Error rate




Chamber proceedings

5 or fewer errors per 100 pages transcribed

4.4 errors

2.5 errors

1.75 errors

Committee hearings (Parliament House and interstate)

5 or fewer errors per 100 pages transcribed

9.3 errors

7.4 errors

6.36 errors

The levels of accuracy achieved for Hansard records of chamber and committee proceedings differ because the challenges of preparing an accurate record also differ markedly.

Chamber transcripts are often prepared with the benefit of speech notes provided by the relevant parliamentarian, who can assess the accuracy of the transcription of their speech after Hansard staff have edited it, to ensure it reflects the parliamentarian’s speech and meets the standard of a grammatically correct written document. In addition, certain elements of Chamber proceedings are more formulaic and therefore easier to transcribe.

In contrast, Hansards of committee hearings are transcribed verbatim. DPS staff strive to reproduce the speech and testimony of witnesses as accurately as possible but witness testimony is unable to be cross-checked against notes for clarity. Witnesses are given the opportunity to correct their evidence but may not add or delete information.

In 2014–15, DPS produced 55,872 pages of Hansard—17,592 pages more than in 2013–14. Of the 55,852 pages, 25,377 pages were chamber Hansards and 30,495 pages were committee Hansards. Accuracy, measured as the number of errors per 100 pages, continued to improve across both chamber and committee Hansards.

Hansard transcripts move through three stages:

  • draft
  • proof
  • official.

Draft Hansard transcripts are sent to senators and members within two hours of their delivering a chamber speech. This gives sufficient time to identify possible corrections for incorporation into the next stage, the proof Hansard.

Senators and members are able to work with and share their speech material as soon as the proof Hansard has been published, which occurs within three hours of the relevant chamber rising.

The proof Hansard is checked and made official within 15 non-sitting days following the last day of the sitting period.

Project timeliness

Table 20: Hansard—Timeliness – Chambers

Type of transcript

Service standard

Percentage delivered within service standards




Individual draft speeches—delivered within two hours of speech finishing





Electronic proof Hansard reports—delivered within three hours of the House rising





Electronic official Hansard—delivered within 15 non-sitting working days following the last sitting day in the week





*The key performance indicator for individual draft speeches for the parliamentary chambers has been changed from 95 per cent to 85 per cent. This is to reflect the effect of the scheduled delays in delivery of senators’ and members’ draft speeches on Monday and Wednesday mornings.

Of the 142 electronic proof Hansards produced during 2014–15, 134 were delivered within three hours of the House rising.

Of the remaining eight, there were seven instances where, due to extended sitting hours in the chamber, the proof Hansards were part-published and completed the following day and one instance where there was a technical issue with the Hansard Production System publishing function and the proof Hansard was not delivered within the expected timeframe.

There was a reduction of timeliness in relation to the delivery of electronic official Hansards being delivered within 15 non-sitting working days following the last sitting day.

Of the 77 House of Representatives Hansards, 12 proof Hansards were made official after the 15 non-sitting days period. Similarly, of the 65 Senate Hansards, 18 Senate proof Hansards were made official after the 15 non-sitting days period.

The processing of a proof Hansard before it becomes official is typically the focus of non-sitting periods. However, Hansard’s capacity to progress this work was impacted by the increased committee workload during 2014–15.

Table: 21: Hansard – Timeliness – committees

Committee-agreed timeframe

Service Standard

Percentage delivered within service standards




Delivery by next business day





Delivery within 1–3 business days





Delivery within 3–5 business days





Delivery targets for Hansard transcripts of parliamentary committee proceedings exceeded service standards. This was despite an increase of 813 hours in the number of committee hours over the previous year and an increase in committee meetings outside Canberra.

Consultation with senators and members

Consultation with senators and members regarding Hansard products and services commenced in April 2015. Hansard wrote to all senators and members seeking to meet and discuss their views on the current Hansard product and services.

As at 30 June 2015, 58 responses had been received. Of these, 12 senators and members elected to provide general feedback, without face-to-face meetings. During May and June, meetings were held with 39 senators, members or their staff, and further meetings were scheduled to take place during July and August.

To date, overall feedback has been positive with senators and members indicating a high level of satisfaction with the Hansard product and the services provided. Positive feedback was also received in relation to the ParlView video on demand service, with a high number of senators and members indicating that they regularly access the audio-visual footage.

The consultation process will continue for the remainder of 2015 and the feedback received will be used to inform future improvements.

What our clients said

‘I thank the attendants, the Hansard staff, the Parliamentary Library, everyone at Aussies, the COMCAR staff and the wonderful cleaners.’

The Hon Anthony Burke, Member of Parliament, The House of Representatives, Parliamentary Representation, Thursday 4 December 2014, p.14292

Parliamentary Audio Visual Services

DPS broadcasts all parliamentary activity through ‘ParlTV’, the Parliament House in-house television service, which connects senators, members, their staff, the media and the parliamentary departments with events in the chambers, public committees hearings, special events (such as heads-of-state visits) and some press conferences. Recording and broadcasting services are delivered in real time.

DPS also provides video-conferencing and phone-conferencing facilities to support the work of parliamentary committees. Using DPS studio and editing facilities, parliamentarians are also able to record pieces to camera, interviews and presentations. DPS also provides patches to the media—connections which allow a live feed to the press gallery or outside Parliament House, so Parliament can be seen and heard through public and commercial media outlets in Australia and around the world.

During 2014–15, in addition to providing audio-visual services for 4,216 hours of parliamentary proceedings, DPS provided 1,848 patches and 1,108 multimedia services, including requests for extracts of parliamentary broadcast material, 845 television and audio productions and managed 1,397 audio-visual services requests for a range of items such as data projectors, lecterns and PA systems.

Audio services were provided for 245 interstate committee hearings held in locations varying from capital cities to regional and remote centres including Christmas and Groote Islands, Geraldton, Mt Isa and Coober Pedy.

In 2014–15 DPS broadcast a number of major events, including parliamentary addresses by: the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China; and Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

ParlView: DPS’ online broadcast service

ParlView online broadcast services enable users to view, search and download broadcasts of senators and members at work in the chambers and parliamentary committees, with footage available just six minutes after live recording.

During 2014–15, there were 237,935 hits on the ParlView service—an average of 4,575 a week. This represents an increase of 128,697 hits to those made in 2013–14.

In time, ParlView will give access to more than 60,000 hours of archived parliamentary audio-visual records dating from 1991. The migration of this material has been occurring progressively since 2013 and is expected to be completed during 2015–16.



Parliamentary Audio Visual Services (ParlAV) provides support for federal parliamentary committee hearings throughout Australia and its territories, capturing the audio from these hearings for both transcription and transmission purposes. These hearings, termed ‘away committees’ are conducted in capital cities, country towns, rural and regional centres, as well as quite remote locations. ParlAV’s priority is to seamlessly support away committees — on time, every time.

Planning includes managing the bookings (which can be received within days of the committee hearing), organising a staff member to undertake the work, booking flights, accommodation, car hire, charter flights, organising venue access, liaising with committee secretariats regarding specific committee requirements and ensuring that all the audio equipment is functioning before leaving Canberra.

ParlAV has a range of specialist equipment and the total weight of the kit used to support away committees is about 70kg. The equipment is transported, set up and operated by one ParlAV operator. It includes an audio mixing desk, microphones and cables, digital recorders, a sound reinforcement system, a press split, a teleconferencing system and a codec to stream the audio back live to Parliament House (where possible) for distribution via HMS and webcast.

Some locations for parliamentary committee hearings are regularly used venues. For example, committee rooms in state parliaments are purpose-built and consequently have in place facilities that make it easier for staff to operate – known power, phone and internet points as well as in-house PA systems.

Other venues are less well-known and a ParlAV operator will need to conduct an assessment. Is there safe power available? Is there an active phone line available for teleconferences? Is there 3G mobile phone service coverage? Is the room available prior to the hearing so the ParlAV operator can set up the equipment, test it and do remote checks with ParlAv’s Master Control back in Canberra?

Some venues do not have walls – hearings have been held on open-air stages, in outdoor courtyards and in the desert under a tree. These venues have their own challenges. Will all the red dust get into the audio mixer? Is it going to rain and will the kit get wet?

If there are any problems on an away committee caused by, for instance, technology or the weather, the ParlAV officer is the first (and sometimes the only) line of defence. ParlAV operators must be able to resolve any problem that arises to ensure that the hearing is recorded so it can be transcribed at a later date. ParlAV is proud of its record of always bringing home the audio.

Key Performance Indicators

A summary of all results against all KPIs in the 2014–15 Parliamentary Budget Statement is set out below. Discussion about these results, including reasons for variations against the previous year or the target is set out in the preceding pages 37 to 41.

Table 22: Program 1: Parliamentary Services





Number of visitors

Number of visitors




Participants in general public tours




Participants in school tours




Participants in other tours




Total tour participants





Number of virtual visitors to Parliament House

Total virtual visitors





Number of functions and events held in Parliament House

Official visits













Visitor satisfaction (target­–85%)

Visitor services – tours and information, The Parliament Shop and visitor catering, building access and parking

Not surveyed




Not surveyed




Building Occupant satisfaction (target–85%)

IT services




Parliamentary Library





Not surveyed

Not surveyed



Not surveyed

Not surveyed



Not surveyed

Not surveyed


Building maintenance




Other services

Not surveyed

Not surveyed



Gardens and Landscaping


Art Services


Heritage Management



Timeliness targets met in service delivery

IT services–incident resolution




Help Desk calls (answered before 30 seconds)





Hansard uses several different indicators to measure timeliness. Full details are available at pages 66-69.

Library services (research services)




Maintenance services

Not surveyed

Not surveyed


1includes students, teachers and accompanying adults on the tour.

Table 23: Program 2: Parliament House Works Program





Design Integrity Index (target: 90%)





Building Condition Index (target: 89–92%)





Landscape Condition Index (target: 90%)





Engineering Systems Condition Index (target: 90%)




Building occupant satisfaction

DPS is responsible for the delivery of a broad range of services directly and through facilitated contract arrangements. To continue to improve our services, DPS values feedback from building occupants and continually looks to improve how we operate. DPS believes it is important to gauge building occupant satisfaction to assess the timeliness and quality of our services.

In previous years, DPS has conducted a client satisfaction survey once per Parliament. The survey of the 43rd Parliament took place in 2012. It was reported in last year’s annual report that the survey for the 44th Parliament would be conducted in 2014–15. In September 2014, the ANAO and DPS conducted a joint survey of all parliamentarians in relation to DPS’ services. This survey is discussed further below.

Table 24: Building occupant satisfaction results for the 2014–15 Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicator





Building occupant satisfaction: Target—85%

IT services

IT Help Desk





95%1 (ICT emails)

Parliamentary Library




93% (Library 2015 client evaluation survey)



Not surveyed2

Not surveyed2

97% (ANAO/DPS survey results)



Not surveyed2

Not surveyed2

87% (ANAO/DPS survey results)



Not surveyed2

Not surveyed2

91% (ANAO/DPS survey results)

Building maintenance




75% (ANAO/DPS survey results)

Other services

Not surveyed2

Not surveyed2

Cleaning – 87%

Gardens and Landscaping – 94%

Art Services – 75%

Heritage Management – 69% (ANAO/DPS survey results)

1ICT satisfaction in 2012–13, 2013–14 and 2014–15 was measured as a proportion of positive feedback received overall and did not distinguish between IT services and the 2020 Help Desk.
2Not surveyed as DPS’ past practice has been to conduct a client satisfaction survey once per Parliament.

Australian National Audit Office survey

In September 2014, the ANAO and DPS conducted a joint survey in relation to DPS services to both inform the ANAO performance audit and assist the department to improve the services it provides. All 226 parliamentarians were invited to participate in the survey and 33 responded. The survey indicated 73.4 per cent of respondents rated DPS as effective or highly effective in managing services at Parliament House.

Library 2015 client evaluation survey

The 2015 Parliamentary Library client service evaluation survey was very positive. Satisfaction among senators, members and their staff rated highly at 93 per cent, with 97 per cent of these respondents indicating they would recommend the Library’s services to a colleague. Both of these figures are consistent with the results from the 2012 client service evaluation survey.

Hansard consultation

In 2014–15, the department commenced a formal process of consultation with senators and members to seek feedback on Hansard activities. As at 30 June 2015, the department had received responses from 58 senators and members and had meetings scheduled and/or held with 46 senators, members and/or their staff. Feedback received to date has been positive with very little negative feedback provided. The consultation process will be finalised at the beginning of 2015–16. Once complete, recommendations will be provided to the DPS Executive to improve the ongoing delivery and quality of Hansard services into the future.

New feedback mechanisms in 2015–16

New feedback mechanisms will give the department the ability to better understand the changing needs of parliamentarians, their staff and other building occupants. More timely and regular engagement with building occupants will provide a mechanism for DPS to gauge its service delivery on an ongoing basis.

As such, in 2015–16 the department will develop a Client Feedback Policy and Service Charter that outlines what our clients, stakeholders and customers can expect from our service delivery and it will also outline how they interact with the department. In addition, the department is considering a new quarterly survey aimed at obtaining regular feedback from building occupants. The surveys could seek feedback about a number of services or activities including:

  • cleaning
  • building maintenance
  • parliamentary broadcasting and recording
  • management of the Parliament House Art Collection
  • garden and landscaping
  • parking
  • heritage
  • gym and sporting fields
  • security

* The Parliamentary Library will not be included in the new process as they will continue to conduct their own ‘client evaluation survey’ once per Parliament.


The Parliamentary Services Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2013–2015 outlines the commitment of the four parliamentary departments to be more actively involved in the journey to reconciliation.

Central to this effort is the need to build stronger relationships with, and promote enhanced respect between, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The RAP provides the foundation for building understanding and respect for the culture and histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and recognising their contribution to Australian life. In 2014–15, DPS was involved in a wide range of activities to support the RAP.


To mark the one-year anniversary of the Parliamentary Services RAP, DPS invited Dr Tom Calma AO, Co‑Chair of Reconciliation Australia, to share with us his people’s vision and aspirations for Reconciliation in Australia, in an all-staff presentation in the Parliament House Theatre on 11 September 2014.

Ngunnawal elder Aunty Agnes Shea OAM opened the event by performing a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’. In his presentation, Dr Calma focused particularly on the ‘recognise’ and the ‘Close the Gap’ campaigns as important stepping stones on the path to reconciliation. He spoke about the importance of RAP documents leading to action, and how we can all contribute to reconciliation in our day-to-day lives.


In May 2015, the Parliamentary Library presented its National Reconciliation Week Lecture Aboriginal Advantage: An insider look at an Aboriginal community. The lecture was presented by Dr Lawrence Bamblett, Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and author of Our stories are our survival. Mr Bamblett is a Wiradjuri man and Adjunct Research Fellow at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University. His research interests include the ways that representations of identity affect engagement between Indigenous communities and mainstream institutions and services. Feedback from attendees at the lecture was that Mr Bamblett was inspirational in his description of his upbringing and how he viewed Aboriginal advantage.


The Parliament House Art Collection is a significant public collection of Australian art and DPS is committed to applying best practice policies and procedures in all aspects of its dealings with Indigenous artists and their works of art. DPS has become a member of the Indigenous Art Code, which promotes industry best practice in upholding
76 Department of Parliamentary Services Indigenous Australian artists’ rights. DPS has also adopted the Charter of Principles for Publicly Funded Collecting Institutions in managing the Parliament House Art Collection. The charter promotes professional best practice in the acquisition and management of artworks by Indigenous artists.
In October 2014, DPS Art Collection and Exhibitions staff conducted a special tour of Parliament House for participants in the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership program, hosted by the National Gallery of Australia. The program helps Indigenous people who work or want to work in the visual arts industry explore the diversity of careers available and build networks.


From November 2014 to February 2015, the Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area hosted the exhibition Namatjira to Now: Five Generations of Watercolours from the Central Desert, an exhibition of works by Albert Namatjira and successive generations of watercolour artists. The exhibition was presented in conjunction with the Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre and Big hART. Five senior artists from the Hermannsburg school and three younger artists from the Ntaria school travelled from the Northern Territory to Canberra to attend the launch of the exhibition. DPS Art Collection & Exhibitions staff facilitated the exhibition, which included works on loan from the Parliament House Art Collection.

During Reconciliation Week 2015, DPS announced a major Indigenous art acquisition for the Parliament House Art Collection—a painting by Mavis Ngallametta, Bushfire at Ngak-Pungarichan, 2013. The painting was unveiled on 3 June by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Ken Wyatt AM MP and Mr Warren Entsch MP. The painting is displayed in the public area of Parliament House.


Throughout the year DPS offered a program of free community events on Sunday afternoons, with several featuring the theatre productions of Indigenous performing artists, directors, writers and researchers. These included panel discussions for the plays: The Magic Hour, addressing the different forms of Indigenous and non-Indigenous story-telling; Black Diggers, which tells the moving stories of Aboriginal Diggers’ contribution to the First World War effort, and Coranderrk—we will show the country, a powerful play on the evidence given by the Aboriginal people of Coranderrk to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry in 1881.


DPS recognises the value of having a staff profile which reflects the community at large, and the benefits this provides both to its operations and supporting mutual engagement between the community and the Parliament. DPS commenced the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategy and accompanying action plan. The Share our Pride online learning module, developed by Reconciliation Australia, was made available to all DPS staff as the first step towards cultural awareness training.