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Monday, 20 June 2011
Page: 3359

Treasury: Staffing

(Question No. 612)


Senator Siewert asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 19 April 2011:

With reference to the department and the agencies within the Minister’s portfolio:

(1) What is the total number of staff currently employed.

(2) What is the total number of staff with a disability currently employed.

(3) What policies or programs are in place to encourage the recruitment of people with a disability.

(4) What retention strategies are in place for people with a disability.

(5) What career pathways or plans are on offer for people with a disability; if none, why.

(6) Are there any specific targets for recruitment and retention; if not, why not.

(7) What policies, programs or services are there to support staff with a disability.

(8) Can details be provided of any policies, programs, services or plans currently under development within the department and its agencies, concerning the employment of people with a disability.


Senator Wong: The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) As at 1 May 2011, there were 1022 staff (head count) employed at Treasury.

(2) Twenty-one of the above-mentioned staff have identified themselves as having a disability.

(3) The Treasury is committed to providing an organisational culture that embraces and actively promotes diversity. Treasury’s Disability Action Plan provides a mechanism for coordinating the department’s efforts to meet its responsibilities under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy regarding equity, inclusion, participation, access and, in particular, accountability. One of the main objectives outlined within Treasury’s Disability Action Plan is to attract and retain a diverse workforce which includes employees with disabilities. Strategies and actions in place to assist Treasury to meet this objective are outlined below.

Recruitment processes are merit based.

Gazette job advertisements explicitly encourage people with a disability to apply.

Recruitment agencies utilised by Treasury support and encourage the employment of people with a disability.

Utilisation of disability employment networks when recruiting new staff.

Ensure Treasury’s flexible working arrangements and employment conditions are promoted through the recruitment process.

Participation in the disability work experience program. This program allows people with a disability to gain administrative experience in the corporate areas, including IT, Finance and HR within Treasury. Work placements are unpaid and run for about 6 weeks, with people on this program working about 25 hours per week. Treasury currently offers 2-3 placements each year with a view to rolling these placements into the policy groups over the next couple of years. CRS Australia currently provide staff to fill these roles.

(4) Refer to question 3.

(5) Another main objective outlined within Treasury’s Disability Action Plan is to ensure that employees with disabilities have access to development opportunities and are encouraged to maximise their potential in the workforce. Strategies and actions in place to assist Treasury to meet this objective are outlined below.

Managers encourage staff with disabilities to develop appropriate skills.

Learning and development programs are designed to be inclusive of people with disabilities.

Ensure Performance Management System processes, including training, articulate Treasury’s commitment to workplace diversity.

(6) While it is Treasury’s aim to increase the recruitment and retention of staff who identify as having a disability, no formal target has been set.

(7) A range of assistance is provided to staff with a disability in the Treasury, including reasonable adjustment identified through work station assessments and the purchase of specialised equipment/software, such as teletypewriter (TTY) phones, specialised keyboards, headphones, voice recognition and magnification software. Case management and rehabilitation services are also made available, if required. This approach ensures employees with a disability, and their managers, feel supported in the workplace, thus creating a safe third-party that can be utilised by all staff for advice and guidance. The JobAccess service has also been utilised to assist staff with disabilities. The department endeavours to identify, wherever possible, the needs of staff with a disability before they commence work in the department. Induction paperwork for new staff captures category of disability to ensure appropriate and timely support is offered on commencement of employment and staff are regularly reminded to update their personal details in Aurion including identification of disability by type. Treasury also ensures that seminars on mental health issues are captured within its health and wellbeing programs to assist in educating staff and removing the stigma associated with mental illness.

Additional objectives outlined within Treasury’s Disability Action Plan are to encourage a culture of tolerance and respect in the workplace by reflecting Treasury values in the management systems and everyday work practises and ensuring that people with disabilities have access to Treasury premises and departmental information. Strategies and actions in place to assist Treasury to meet these objectives are outlined below.

Communicate the Disability Action Plan to all staff and ensure availability to all staff and the general public.

Workplace Diversity and Disability Action Plan information included in Annual report.

Training/awareness programs provided to managers and employees on disability and mental health issues.

Training/awareness programs offered to colleagues on specific needs of people with disability in their work area.

Develop Manager awareness of OH&S and rehabilitation services and support offered.

Trained Workplace Harassment Contact Officers.

Raise awareness of disability issues through celebration of International Day of People with Disability.

Ensure current departmental premises are accessible to people with disabilities.

Workstation adjustment monitored for staff with disabilities.

Provision made for staff with disabilities in emergency, evacuation and safety procedures.

Relevant information about Treasury and its business available on the internet and intranet in alternate formats.

(8)   Not applicable.

National Competition Council (NCC)

(1) Total of 13 staff currently employed.

(2) No staff identifying as having a disability are currently employed.

(3) The NCC has no recruitment policies or programs specifically directed to people with a disability. However the NCC values diversity, provides an accessible workplace and flexible and supportive working environment and supports the concept of reasonable adjustment: it is committed to action to reasonably accommodate the effects of any staff member’s disability.

(4) The NCC has no retention strategies directed to people with a disability. However the NCC values diversity, provides an accessible workplace and flexible and supportive working environment and supports the concept of reasonable adjustment: it is committed to action to reasonably accommodate the effects of any staff member’s disability.

(5) A career pathway would be available to any NCC staff member with a physical disability. The nature of the NCC’s work would generally not provide a career opportunity for a staff member with an intellectual disability.

(6) The NCC has no specific target: the small size of the NCC means that the employment of a staff member with a disability would represent a relatively large proportion of the NCC’s average staffing level.

(7) The NCC values diversity and has accessible premises and a supportive work environment. The NCC is committed to addressing the needs of any future staff member with a disability on a case by case basis.

(8) The NCC has no policies or plans currently under development.

Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB)

(1) 10 full time technical specialists, 1 graduate intern, 7 administrative staff, 4 part-time staff - Total 22.

(2) None now. Had one vision impaired person for long period.

(3) Fully encouraged to apply.

The AASB has a Workplace Diversity Program that is supported by more detailed plans for action in the Workplace Diversity Action Plan, Disability Action Plan and Indigenous Employment Plan.

(4) Individual staff development plans.

(5) No limitations on path.

(6) The AASB has a target but we have a very small specialised staff with quite low turnover.

(7) Provision of physical facilities (e.g. for visually impaired), good physical access, access to further training/education, flexible work-from-home arrangements, flexible hours to facilitate transport, late evening taxis if needed.

(8) Detailed programs and plans can be provided and are considered appropriate.

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC)

(1) 3.

(2) Nil.

(3) The work of CAMAC requires staff with highly specialised policy and administrative skills. Persons with those skills are not in great supply. When there is a vacancy, CAMAC encourages anyone with the relevant qualifications, whether or not with a disability, to apply.

(4) CAMAC ensures that staff are aware of the policy outlined in the response to question (6).

(5) CAMAC values the skills of all its employees and ensures that those employees are not prevented from furthering their career with CAMAC by reason of any disability that they may have.

(6) No - CAMAC is a small agency with a minimal budget (just over $1 million). It has not had occasion to recruit for some time and has no immediate plans to recruit additional staff.

(7) CAMAC makes it clear that the health of its employees is paramount. CAMAC has a policy of ensuring that employees with a disability are not unnecessarily disadvantaged in performing their duties, encouraging any employees with a disability to seek necessary medical attention and structuring CAMAC’s workflow to ensure that they have the opportunity to do so.

(8) Given its small size, CAMAC has no plans to develop further policies, programs, services or plans concerning the employment of people with a disability.

Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT)

(1) 7.

(2) Nil.

(3) The IGT applies the Treasury’s Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.

(4) The IGT applies the Treasury’s Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.

(5) The IGT applies the Treasury’s Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.

(6) The IGT applies the Treasury’s Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.

(7) The IGT applies the Treasury’s Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.

(8) The IGT applies the Treasury’s Disability Action Plan and will continue to consider options available to a small agency.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

(1) As at 30 April 2011, 619 including casual staff.

(2) Six.

(3) to (8) As an employer, APRA ensures that all employment policies, guidelines and processes meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and do not discriminate on the basis of disability. APRA’s commitment to the Disability Discrimination Act is included in its Human Resources Policy Manual and Code of Conduct. All staff and managers are responsible for supporting the principles of workplace diversity. APRA is a member of Diversity Council Australia, an independent, not-for-profit diversity adviser to business in Australia. APRA’s recruitment policy ensures that recruitment advertising does not dissuade people with disabilities who have the necessary experience, skills and qualifications from submitting applications for employment. The policy also ensures that selection processes take into account the special needs of applicants, so that those with disabilities are not disadvantaged.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

(1) As at 27 April 2011, ACCC headcount was 827 (includes 9 Public Office Holders).

(2) 13 employees reported having a disability.

(3) At the time of recruitment candidates can specify if they have a disability and if selected for interview whether assistance is required. Where assistance is required, this is provided by the ACCC.

(4) Guidance is provided to managers and staff through the Workplace Diversity Plan.

The ACCC provides reasonable adjustment for staff with disabilities, such as technical equipment for staff who are visually impaired. Employment terms and conditions provide for flexible hours of work, part-time work, home-based work and paid personal leave.

(5) Employees identifying disabilities participate in performance development planning which enables career plans to be tailored to their aspirations.

(6) There are no specific targets for recruitment or retention. Recruitment is based on the need to fill positions arising from new policy proposals and backfilling vacancies within the constraints of the agencies budget. Retention trends are monitored quarterly.

(7) Support is provided at the time of selection and throughout the employee’s employment. Such programs include acquisition of special equipment; flexible or part-time working hours, paid personal leave to attend medical therapy, individually tailored workstation assessments, and external counselling services. Assistance to staff with disabilities is usually tailored to their specific need.

(8) There are no policies, programs, services or plans currently under development.

Royal Australian Mint

(1) The total number of staff currently employed by the Royal Australian Mint is 185.

(2) The total number of staff who have declared a disability under the definition in section 4 is 7.

(3) The Mint is a bronze member of the Australian Network on Disability (AND) and we are currently working with them to develop reasonable adjustment policies, training and work experience and procedures for adopting a customer charter for people with disabilities. The Mint also uses AND’s logo in recruitment advertising.

(4) The Mint provides internal and external support to staff with a disability and staff who acquire a disability, enabling them to maintain or return to a role appropriate to their experience and abilities within the organisation. The Mint provides and updates tools and equipment to maintain and sustain capability. The Mint also ensures that staff with a disability have the same opportunities as others to develop their full potential within the Mint. The Mint ensure that specific steps are taken to ensure that the working environment does not prevent staff with a disability from taking up positions for which they are suitably qualified.

(5) There are currently no specific formal career pathways or plans on offer; every staff member is given the same opportunities. Staff with disabilities are offered the same training and development opportunities tailored to meet their career objectives taking into consideration their disability through the Performance Development System.

(6) There are currently no specific targets for recruitment and retention. However, we recognise the need and are working towards setting these targets with AND.

(7) AND is also working with the Mint to set in place a comprehensive set of policies, programs and services to support staff with a disability. This is under the umbrella of the Employment charter and the checklist on achieving the principles of the charter.

(8) As above.

Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM)

(1) 42.

(2) Nil.

(3) See the Treasury Disability Action Plan 2009-2012.

(4) None at AOFM as we have no such employees.

(5) None at AOFM as we have no such employees.

(6) No - targets are not appropriate given the size of the agency.

(7) See the Treasury Disability Action Plan 2009-2012.

(8) See the Treasury Disability Action Plan 2009-2012.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

(1) Total head count of ongoing staff is 2946.

(2) The number of ongoing staff currently employed who have identified as having a disability is 74. The rate of staff with a disability is 2.5%.

(3) Consistent with legislation, APS wide policy and the ABS Workplace Diversity Program, ABS recruitment guidelines provide that there are no barriers to people with disabilities applying for positions and there is no discrimination during selection. This includes:

ensuring selection criteria only reflect inherent requirements;

making reasonable adjustments during selection; and

addressing disability in training for delegates and panels.

(4)   Retention strategies that are in place for people with a disability include:

The ABS Workplace Diversity Program is implemented as per the ABS Enterprise Agreement to:

   a.   ensure that ABS’s corporate, business and human resource plans recognise and utilise the diversity of its employees;

   b.   provide a workplace that recognises and utilises the diversity of its employees;

   c.   uphold and promote equity and procedural fairness in decision making;

   d.   encourage and assist employees to balance work and individual needs;

   e.   prevent and eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin; and

   f.   foster an environment free of harassment, including bullying.

The current ABS Enterprise Agreement contains a number of provisions to assist line managers and employees to achieve an appropriate work/life balance including: flexible working arrangements; part time working arrangements; and working from home arrangements.

ABS Study Support program guidelines state that an employee with a disability may apply for additional support by submitting a statement outlining their special needs. An approved student may be granted up to a total of 10 hours per week paid Study Support by their Approving Supervisor in line with the objectives of the ABS Workplace Diversity program.

Reasonable Workplace Adjustment guidelines which provide guidance around recruitment process, workplace modification, job redesign, information sharing, provision of adaptive technologies, professional and career development, flexible workplace practices and time for adjustments.

Physical access to premises and to facilities adhere to Department of Finance and Deregulation planning guidelines, Building Codes of Australia and relevant State and Federal guidelines and standards.

(5) ABS provides career pathways and plans to all staff. These are made available to people with a disability through the application of reasonable adjustment principles, which help ensure staff with a disability can access and participate in learning and career development opportunities.

(6) The ABS currently does not have specific targets for recruitment and retention. The percentage of employees with a disability employed in the ABS has been at similar levels to the APS average (for at least 8 years) and there is no specific whole of government priority or target.

(7) ABS programs and guidelines available to support all staff including those with a disability include: performance management related guidelines; Harassment and Workplace Support networks; and Workplace Diversity advisers and internal complaint mechanisms that are used in conjunction with reasonable adjustment principles as per ABS Reasonable Workplace Adjustment guidelines. Expertise is also built into these programs through attendance at disability related forums and workshops, by HR practitioners including case managers and workplace diversity advisers.

(8) The ABS currently has a Workplace Diversity Plan and a new plan for 2011-15 will be implemented in July 2011. The 2011-15 Plan will incorporate disability strategies including the attraction and retention of people with disabilities.

Productivity Commission

(1) 200.

(2) 6.

(3) The Productivity Commission has an “Equity and Diversity Strategic Plan” and a “Disability Action Plan” to encourage the recruitment of people with a disability.

(4) The Productivity Commission does not have any retention strategies specific to staff with a disability.

(5) The Productivity Commission does not have any career pathway strategies specific to staff with a disability. Staff with a disability have access to the same career pathways as staff without a disability.

(6) The Productivity Commission does not have any recruitment targets specific to staff with a disability. As a small specialist agency where the majority of employment opportunities are for research economists, the field of qualified applicants is very limited.

(7) The Productivity Commission does not have any support programs specific to staff with a disability, but our general workplace health policy is to provide equipment and make any other reasonable adjustment required to support an individual in their employment needs.

(8) The Productivity Commission does not have any plan or program under development specific to staff with a disability.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

(1) 24,761 (head count) as at 27 April 2011.

(2) 495 (or 2%) have identified that they have a disability as at 27 April 2011.

(3) The ATO Recruitment and Selections policy (Corporate Management Practice Statement 2009/01).

All recruitment and selection Candidate Information Kits outline the ATO’s commitment to diversity and that the ATO encourages people from all backgrounds, including people with disability, to apply for positions in the ATO.

The ATO provides reasonable adjustment (the administrative, environmental or procedural alterations that are required to enable a person with disability to work effectively and enjoy equal opportunities with others) at all stages of the selection process. The ATO also follows up all successful applicants who have identified as having a disability to ensure that reasonable adjustments are in place in the workplace as soon as practicable. These actions help to ensure that people with disability have a positive experience throughout the recruitment process.

The ATO Access and Inclusion Plan includes a number of programs to support the employment of people with disability:

a school to work sponsorship program for secondary school students with disability, which is now in its third year. Sponsorship includes financial assistance, mentoring and work experience placements. The ATO has sponsored 18 secondary school students over the last three years.

participation in the ‘Stepping into Program’ as part of the ATO’s membership of the Australian Network on Disability. In 2010 the ATO provided paid work experience and mentoring for 12 students across the country.

a pilot program to provide people who are deaf or hard of hearing an opportunity to gain skills and experience that will assist them to participate in the workforce. The pilot program employed eight deaf or hard of hearing persons for a period of 12-18 months.

(4)   The ATO has a centralised process for managing requests for reasonable adjustment for employees with disability. This process provides a single point of entry for staff to request various services, equipment and aids associated with making reasonable adjustments in the workplace, thereby making it easier for people with disability to participate and remain in the workplace.

Whilst not targeted specifically at people with disability, the ATO agency agreements provides a broad range of flexible working arrangements such as part time work, home based work, job sharing, purchased leave, flexible working patterns and parental leave. People with disability are able to access these where appropriate.

(5) The ATO participates in the ‘Stepping into Program’ as part of being a member of the Australian Network on Disability. In 2010 the ATO provided paid work experience and mentoring to 12 students across the country, to increase their opportunity to participate in the ATO’s graduate and other entry level programs.

The ATO’s Debt business line has a Community Program which includes targeting people with disability to undertake a mix of work experience, and ongoing and non-ongoing work to assist them develop a career in the ATO.

People with disability, along with all other employees, are able to access career and development advice through the ATO’s performance development agreements and processes.

The ATO also ensures that people with disability are able to access face to face and online learning opportunities. All online learning products are designed to be accessible to all employees through adaptive technology support. In addition, reasonable adjustments are made for face to face learning to allow people with disability to participate fully in these opportunities.

(6) No. However, the ATO is currently considering the new Public Service Commissioner's Direction on employing people with disability, particularly in the context of large scale selection exercises where it may be appropriate to use the special measure provision to quarantine positions for people with disability. The ATO’s focus is on eliminating barriers to employment for people with disability to enable them to compete on merit.

(7) The ATO’s Access and Inclusion Plan contains actions to ensure people with disability are respected, valued, supported and engaged. It contains actions to ensure that ATO policies and practices are inclusive and accessible and includes provision for adaptive technology and the application of reasonable adjustment. In addition, the ATO has a National Disability Network for ATO employees with disability. The network contributes to and influences the development of initiatives and strategies to address issues in relation to people with disability. Approximately 60 employees are members of this network.

(8) The ATO is currently reviewing its Access and Inclusion Plan. The ATO is seeking to improve the programs on offer to provide people with disability with the skills and experience they need to enter the workforce.

The ATO is also actively involved in APS wide collaboration on the recruitment, retention and development of people with disability.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

(1) As at 27 May 2011, ASIC has 1,870 active employees.

(2) ASIC currently has no employees identifying themselves as disabled in our HR Management Information System, however we have 3 staff with disabilities (as defined Disability Discrimination Act) to whom we provide on-going support.

(3) ASIC has a Workplace Diversity Policy, underpinned by equal employment opportunity principles, to promote building and maintaining a diverse workforce. As part of our recruitment process, candidates have an opportunity to disclose if they have a disability to ensure any reasonable adjustments to process are made.

(4) ASIC has no specific retention strategies in place for people with a disability.

(5) ASIC has no specific career pathways specifically targeting people with a disability.

(6) ASIC has no specific targets for recruiting and retaining people with a disability.

(7) ASIC has a Workplace Diversity Policy and Health and Safety Management Arrangements, acting as a framework to provide ASIC employees with a disability with aid and appliances to assist with their day to day duties. With recent office refits, ASIC has conducted OHS assessments on affected staff members to ensure work areas and work stations suit individual needs.

(8) As part of the 2011/12 HR business plan, policies and programs will be reviewed to ensure our continued compliance with legislation and APS policy and look for opportunities where ASIC grow our commitment diversity.