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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 8219


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Bernardi ) (16:47): I present documents listed on today's Order of Business at item 12 which were presented to the President, Deputy President and temporary chairs of committees after the Senate adjourned on 11 October 2012.

The list read as follows—

Committee reports

1. Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform--Report, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee--Prevention and treatment of problem gambling (received 12 October 2012)

2. Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee--Report--Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2012 [Provisions] (received 23 October 2012)

Government responses to parliamentary committee reports

1. Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee--Report--Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011 (received 15 October 2012)

2. Environment and Communications References Committee--Report--Recent ABC programming decisions (received 16 October 2012)

3. Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee--Report--Procurement procedures for Defence capital projects (received 16 October 2012)

4. Select Committee on Men's Health--Report (received 24 October 2012)

Government documents

1. Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)--

Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

Addendum (received 15 October 2012)

2. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

3. Australian Information Commissioner--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

4. Department of Immigration and Citizenship--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

5. Health Workforce Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

6. Migration Agents Registration Authority--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

7. Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

8. Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and Comcare--Report for 2011 12 (received 12 October 2012)

9. Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare)--Report for 2011 12 (received 12 October 2012)

10. Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (SBS)--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

11. Australian Electoral Commission--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

12. Australian Federal Police--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

13. Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)--Report for 2011 12 (received 12 October 2012)

14. Crimes Act 1914--Authorisations for the acquisition and use of assumed identities--Australian Federal Police (received 12 October 2012)

15. CrimTrac Agency--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

16. Department of Finance and Deregulation--Report for 2011-12 (received 12 October 2012)

17. Productivity Commission--Report No. 60--Default superannuation funds in modern awards (received 12 October 2012)

18. Witness Protection Act 1994--Report for 2011-12 on the operation of the National Witness Protection Program (received 12 October 2012)

19. Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)--Report for 2011-12 (received 15 October 2012)

20. National Health Reform Act 2011--Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care--Report for 2011-12 (received 15 October 2012)

21. Australian Law Reform Commission--Report for 2011-12 (received 15 October 2012)

22. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)--Report for 2011-12, including report of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) (received 16 October 2012)

23. Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALB)--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

24. Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC)--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

25. Department of Human Services--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

26. Inspector-General of Taxation--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

27. National Competition Council--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

28. Professional Services Review--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

29. Fair Work Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 16 October 2012)

30. Australian Human Rights Commission--Report No. 55--BZ and AD v Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) (received 17 October 2012)

31. Family Law Council--Report for 2011-12 (received 17 October 2012)

32. Federal Magistrates Court of Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 17 October 2012)

33. NBN Co Limited--Report for 2011-12 (received 19 October 2012)

34. Australia Council for the Arts (Australia Council)--Report for 2011-12 (received 19 October 2012)

35. National Gallery of Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 22 October 2012)

36. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service--Report for 2011-12 (received 23 October 2012)

37. ComSuper--Report for 2011-12 (received 23 October 2012)

38. Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Limited--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

39. Australia Business Arts Foundation Ltd--Financial statements for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

40. Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS)--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

41. Australian Landcare Council--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

42. Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism--Report for 2011-12, including report of Geoscience Australia (received 24 October 2012)

43. Australian Government Solicitor--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

44. Family Court of Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

45. Federal Court of Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

46. Screen Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

47. Wine Australia Corporation--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

48. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

49. National Blood Authority--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

50. Supervising Scientist--Report for 2011-12 (received 24 October 2012)

51. Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General--Report for 2011-12 (received 25 October 2012)

52. Skills Australia--Report for 2011-12 (received 25 October 2012)

53. Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC)--Report for 2011-12 (received 25 October 2012)

54. Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity--Report of the Integrity Commissioner for 2011-12 (received 25 October 2012)

55. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade--Report for 2011-12 (received 26 October 2012)

56. Public Lending Right Committee--Report for 2011-12 (received 26 October 2012)

Report of the Auditor-General

Report no. 8 of 2012-13--Australian Government Coordination Arrangements for Indigenous Programs: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (received 24 October 2012)

Letters of advice relating to Senate orders

1. Letters of advice relating to lists of departmental and agency appointments and vacancies:

   Veterans' Affairs portfolio (received 15 October 2012)

   Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (received 19 October 2012)

2. Letters of advice relating to lists of departmental and agency grants:

   Department of Foreign Affairs (received 12 October 2012)

   Department of Veterans' Affairs (received 15 October 2012)

   Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio (received 19 October 2012)

   Australian Organ and Tissue Authority (received 22 October 2012)

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: In accordance with the usual practice and with the concurrence of the Senate I ask that the government response be incorporated in the Hansard.

The responses read as follows—

Government response to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report

Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011

Introduction

On 3 November 2011, the Senate referred the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011 (the Bill) to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (the Committee), for inquiry and report.

The Committee held a public hearing on 11 November 2011, and released its report on 21 November 2011, with four recommendations:

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill be revised and reissued to explicitly articulate the exceptional circumstances necessary for the introduction of the Bill, its retrospective application and its application to current legal proceedings.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the

Attorney-General's Department, review the operation of the people smuggling offences in the Migration Act 1958 to ensure these offences continue to effectively deter people smuggling.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the Australian Government examine the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Legislation Handbook and the Attorney-General's Department's Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers to ensure that the articulation of policy is clear in relation to the introduction of retrospective legislation and legislation relevant to ongoing legal proceedings, with an emphasis on ensuring that the principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers within Australia's system of government are respected.

Recommendation 4

Subject to recommendation 1, the committee recommends that the Senate pass the Bill.

A response has not been provided to the Committee about the Government's position in relation to the recommendations. This document forms the Government's response.

Government response to Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill be revised and reissued to explicitly articulate the exceptional circumstances necessary for the introduction of Bill, its retrospective application and its application to current legal proceedings.

The Explanatory Memorandum was revised prior to the Bill being passed.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the Attorney-General's Department, review the operation of the people smuggling offences in the Migration Act 1958 to ensure these offences continue to effectively deter people smuggling.

The Australian Government regularly reviews the effectiveness of offences in Commonwealth legislation. The Government is also currently considering the report of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the

Migration Amendment (Removal of Mandatory Minimum Penalties) Bill 2012.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government examine the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Legislation Handbook and the Attorney-General's Department's Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers to ensure that the articulation of policy is clear in relation to the introduction of retrospective legislation and legislation relevant to ongoing legal proceedings, with an emphasis on ensuring that the principles of the rule of law and the separation rye powers within Australia's system of government are respected.

The Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers (the Guide) was last reviewed by the Attorney-General's Department in 2011 in consultation with key stakeholders including the Australian Federal Police, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The Guide makes it clear that offences should only be given retrospective effect in rare circumstances and where there is strong justification. Similarly, the Legislation Handbook makes it clear that legislative provisions with a retrospective operation adversely affecting rights or imposing liabilities are to be included only in exceptional circumstances (paragraph 6.18 refers).

Recommendation 4

Subject to recommendation 1, the committee recommends that the Senate pass the Bill.

The Bill was passed by the Senate on 25 November 2011, and the

Deterring People Smuggling Act 2011 received Royal Assent on 29 November 2011.

 

Senate Committee on Environment and Communications

Inquiry into recent ABC programming decisions

Australian Government Response to the Committee's Report

Introduction

The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee conducted an inquiry in 2011 into the recent programming decisions made by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The Senate referred the matter of recent programming decisions by the ABC to the Senate Committee on 17 August 2011. The terms of reference for the inquiry were:

The decision by the television management of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to significantly cut the number and amount of ABC-produced programs, jobs (including through forced redundancies) and potentially affect resources, as announced on 2 August 2011, with particular reference to:

(a)   the implications of this decision on the ABC's ability to create, produce and own its television content, particularly in the capital cities of Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart;

(b)   the implications of this decision on Australian film and television production in general and potential impact on quality and diversity of programs;

(c)   whether a reduction in ABC-produced programs is contrary to the aims of the National Regional Program Initiative;

(d)   the implications of these cuts on content ownership and intellectual property;

(e)   the impact of the ABC's decision to end internal production of Bananas in Pyjamas and to outsource the making of a 'Bananas in Pyjamas' animation series to Southern Star Endemol Proprietary Limited;

(f)   the future potential implications of these cuts on ABC television's capacity to broadcast state league football and rugby; and

(g)   any other related matters.

The Committee received 336 submissions and two form letters from a wide range of interested individuals and organisations. A public hearing was held on 26 September 2011 in Canberra. On 13 October 2011 the Committee tabled its report to the President of the Senate. The Committee's report makes 10 recommendations. The Government's response to each of these recommendations is set out below.

The Australian Greens and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon have also made a number of recommendations. The Government's response to each of these is also set out below.

Background

The 2011-12 financial year represents the final year of the current ABC triennial funding agreement with the Government. In the 2009-10 Budget, the Government provided the ABC with an additional $165.3 million in new funding over the 2009-10 to 2011-12 triennium. This is the biggest funding increase to the ABC since its incorporation in 1983.

The new funding also fulfilled the government's 2007 election commitment to allow the ABC to increase the level of Australian drama that it produces to 90 hours per year, similar to that of the commercial broadcasters. As a result, the ABC is well placed to produce more quality programs. This increase in funding to the ABC also provided an important economic stimulus to the Australian production sector.

While the Government provides an overall level of funding for the ABC, it has no power to direct the ABC in relation to programming matters. Parliament has guaranteed this independence to ensure that what is broadcast is free of political interference. Internal ABC programming decisions are the responsibility of the ABC Board and Executive.

Recommendations of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee

Recommendation 1

3.50 The committee recommends that the ABC ensure that it maintains an effective capacity to internally produce quality programming across the regions in addition to news, sport and current affairs. The committee notes that the increasing use of external producers has the capacity to diminish the ABC's independence and skill base.

Australian Government Response:

The ABC is committed to maintaining a significant capacity to internally produce quality programming across the regions in addition to news, sport and current affairs. The ABC makes television, including news and current affairs, in every state and territory. In other parts of the country it makes programs, including current affairs, for national broadcast. The ABC has stated that it remains committed to retaining a regional presence through internal programming, for example:

the continuation of factual initiatives in South Australia and Western Australia;

additional funding for Q&A to ensure it can broadcast from every capital city and some regional areas;

Anzac Day coverage will continue to be produced internally in each state and territory;

news and current affairs will be the mainstay in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland;

South Australia will continue as a production hub via an ongoing prime time series, for example, Poh's Kitchen; and

an internal production team will be maintained in Hobart for Auction Room. Subsequent program commissioning in Tasmania will depend upon audience response to the Auction Room series.

The ABC Charter states that the ABC is required to broadcast programs of wide appeal and specialised broadcasting programs. It currently runs a national slate with some local news and some local affairs. The ABC is in the process of determining the best way to manage the system to the maximum benefit for Australians and will adjust its programming accordingly.

The Government does not consider the mixed production model diminishes the ABC's independence or skills base. The mixed production model harnesses the skills and experience of both the independent and ABC production teams, and ensures viewers benefit from seeing more quality Australian productions.

The ABC has advised that internal production can be more cost efficient on a per episode basis due to the volume of content created, and for some program formats and genres (for example, studio based magazine style programs). However, the ABC has further advised that external production is able to deliver efficiencies where the total budgets are relatively high (for example, drama production) and where the ABC could not afford to fund them itself without significantly reducing broadcasting hours. External partnerships also allow the ABC to access (and foster) ideas and talent from outside the ABC. External productions therefore play an important role in ensuring the ABC is able to meet its Charter obligation to broadcast programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community.

3.51 The committee calls on the ABC and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to identify and implement processes which ensure value for money, transparency and skill retention. In the context of the need to maintain the ABC's skills base, the committee calls on ABC management to immediately reassess the implications of any employment decision on its capacity to deliver quality programming across the network.

Australian Government Response:

Achieving value for money is an important consideration in all Australian Government budget and triennial funding decisions for the ABC. The government does not support the imposition of additional reporting requirements or accountability measures in relation to the ABC's programming strategy. The ABC is accountable for the funding it receives through a comprehensive governance and reporting regime which ensures that it remains transparent and provides value for money. The ABC is subject to a range of existing accountability mechanisms, including its annual report, various forms of parliamentary scrutiny including Senate Estimates, independent audits and triennial cost and performance reports.

The ABC has advised that it has a thorough commissioning framework which has been established over a considerable time. Editorial managers, genre heads, commission editors and channel controllers develop proposals in liaison with executive producers. All programming decisions are then based on the merit of the individual program. This ensures value for money while enhancing ABC TV's capacity to deliver quality programming.

The process of project development requires proposals to go through a number of 'gates'. These include Budget Review, Resources Assessment and Proposal Review. Projects are also assessed for OH&S and insurance risk. Following development, genre heads propose projects to the Television Content Executive, which is chaired by the Director of Television and comprises the Controllers of ABC1, ABC2, ABC Children's, ABC Multiplatform, Head of Business and Operations, Head of Marketing and Head of Strategy and Governance. ABC's Content Executive then assesses projects against a range of criteria including financial, scheduling, editorial policy compliance and compliance with the Television Strategic Plan and the ABC Charter.

If a project is approved, it proceeds to the formal Commissioning Body. The Commissioning Body is chaired by the Head of Business Operations and comprises of representatives from Director of Television, Head of Strategy and Governance TV, Head of Business and Operations TV, Director of ABC Resources, Head of Business Affairs, Team Leader (Acquisitions and Production) ABC Legal, and Head of Financial Control. Other attendees may include a Group Audit Representative, Commissioning and Project Manager TV.

The ABC has advised that the highest levels of scrutiny are applied through the process to ensure transparency. In terms of the transparency of editorial decisions, the ABC's Editorial Policies have been reviewed and updated a number of times, most recently in 2011. Section 13 of the Editorial Policies deal with external funding and includes safeguards to protect the independence and integrity of the ABC. In particular, high levels of scrutiny and assessment are applied to all commissioning proposals. Decision-makers are required to apply detailed criteria, to know the source of external funds before arrangements are formalised, and to keep appropriate records.

The Government notes that employment decisions are a matter for the ABC Board and Executive.

Recommendation 2

3.69 The committee recommends that ABC management sets out in detail where it sees its future as a broadcaster and a content producer, and particularly with reference to the ABC Charter responsibilities of balancing programs of wide appeal and specialist interest as well as how ABC programming reflects the cultural and regional diversity of the Australian community.

Australian Government Response:

The ABC Board is responsible for compliance with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (the ABC Act), which includes the ABC Charter. The Charter stipulates that the responsibilities of the ABC are to provide programming that reflects the cultural diversity of the Australian community as well as balance programs of wide appeal and specialist interest.

The ABC Board must also prepare corporate plans for the ABC, including a Strategic Plan which addresses how they will meet their obligations under the ABC Act. The Strategic Plan states that the ABC will offer a wide choice of popular and niche content, including content that is uniquely Australian, it will deliver content that recognises the diverse needs and interests of audiences in different parts of Australia and around the world, and it will embrace diversity.

The ABC's Charter, Corporate and Strategic Plan are available at: www.abc.net.au/corp/pubs/documents.htm

The Australian Government does not support the imposition of additional reporting requirements in relation to the ABC's programming strategy. As previously stated, internal ABC programming decisions are the responsibility of the ABC Board and Executive.

Recommendation 3

3.74 The committee recommends that ABC management release a draft television production strategy for staff, community and private sector consultation, prior to its finalisation.

Australian Government Response:

The ABC has publicly released its Television Production Strategy 2011-2013, having earlier provided the strategy paper internally to ABC staff in December 2011. The development of its television production strategy is a matter for the ABC Board and Executive.

Recommendation 4

3.75 The committee recommends that the ABC consult with stakeholders prior to making significant changes to either internal creative and production structures or state-based activities.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government considers that it is a matter for the ABC Board and Executive as to how they choose to manage change within their organisation. The ABC has advised that it is committed to consulting with stakeholders within the agreed consultation framework when considering production changes.

The ABC Enterprise Bargaining Agreement 2010-2013 (the Agreement) outlines the process for consultation with staff, when the ABC has made a formal proposal to introduce a major change to production, program, organisation, structure or technology, and where this is likely to have a

significant effect on the employees. This involves the ABC formally notifying all staff and unions covered by the Agreement and discussing how it will impact on them and the organisation. The ABC must give prompt and genuine consideration to matters raised about major workplace change.

In addition, the government is committed to restoring the position of a staff-elected director on the ABC Board. This position will enhance the ABC's corporate governance by providing a mechanism through which staffing issues and perspectives can be formally brought to the attention of the ABC Board. In the case of the ABC management consulting with stakeholders prior to making significant changes to either internal creative and production structures, the staff-elected director will be well placed to ensure that relevant input from staff on these issues can be effectively communicated to the Board. An amendment restoring the staff elected position to the ABC Board is included in the National Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 which is due to be debated in the Senate.

Recommendation 5

3.76 The committee draws the attention of ABC management to the ABC Charter obligations to 'encourage and promote arts, including musical, dramatic and other performing arts' and calls on ABC management to urgently publish a strategy outlining how it can meet this obligation given the planned disbanding of the ABC arts unit.

Australian Government Response:

The ABC Board is responsible for compliance with ABC Act, which includes the ABC Charter. The Board must also prepare corporate plans for the ABC, including a Strategic Plan which addresses how they will meet their obligations under the ABC Act. Given the existing reporting arrangements that are in place, the government considers that it is not necessary that the ABC publish a separate strategy outlining how it can meet this obligation.

The ABC advises it will continue to promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia as is required under its Charter.

The ABC must continually review its programming to ensure it keeps pace with audience tastes and viewing habits and to ensure appropriate engagement with relevant issues in each genre, including the arts.

ABC Television advises it is committed to maintaining its position as the premier commissioner and distributor of innovative and engaging arts content for the widest range of Australian audiences on the widest variety of platforms.

The ABC has advised that the major areas of the arts with which ABC Television Arts will engage are:

performing arts including ballet, opera and theatre;

literature—fiction, non-fiction and poetry;

film and television including animation;

digital and transmedia arts practice;

design and architecture;

contemporary and classical music; and

visual arts and photography.

Recommendation 6

3.87 The committee recommends that wherever appropriate the ABC include free archival use clauses in all future co-production contracts.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government supports this recommendation as far as practicable by the ABC.

The ABC has advised that it currently archives final copies of internal, fully funded co-produced and mixed funded co-produced television programs. Clauses requiring that a copy of these programs be made available to the ABC for archiving purposes are already included in contracts with independent producers.

The ABC has also advised that pre purchased and acquired content is not generally archived by the ABC as these programs are not made by the ABC. However, Screen Australia requires that copies of pre-purchased Australian programs that it funds are lodged with the National Film and Sound Archive.

In addition, ancillary material that forms part of a co-production is not necessarily passed on to the ABC. The ABC needs to assess on a case-by-case basis its resourcing capacity to hold such items and the value of keeping them to the ABC and the Australian community.

The ABC has further advised that items archived by the ABC, depending on rights, are available upon request, however, a cost (and appropriate rights clearances) may be associated with access to archived material. The ABC has a policy of contributing archival material it owns to independent ABC productions or co-productions on a non-cash basis. That is, the value of the archive material forms part of the ABC's overall contribution to the production and may be counted as either part licence fee or equity.

Recommendation 7

3.99 The committee recommends that the ABC publish annual targets of regional content on ABC television against which it reports in order to meet its Charter obligation to 'reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community' and to promote ongoing internal program production in the BAPH states and regional Australia.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government does not support this recommendation as it may interfere with the ABC's editorial independence and would not allow it flexibility in programming decisions.

Setting and reporting against targets for 'regional content' will not necessarily promote regional program production, as the production locale does not necessarily reflect the nature of the content. In addition, the fluid nature of television production does not lend itself to hard targets for 'regional content' and may produce inefficient outcomes.

As previously stated, the ABC is committed to maintaining internal production in regional areas, including the BAPH states, to provide local content including news, sport and current affairs. It is also committed to maintaining external program production through initiatives such as the factual agreements in Western Australia and South Australia.

The ABC Board is responsible for compliance with the ABC Act, which includes the ABC Charter. The Board must also prepare corporate plans for the ABC, including a Strategic Plan which addresses how they will meet their obligations under the ABC Act. Given the existing reporting arrangements

that are in place, the government considers that it is not necessary that the ABC publish annual targets of regional content on ABC television.

Recommendation 8

3.132 The committee recommends that the ABC actively manage its production facility

infrastructure, particularly in the BAPH states, so that it is utilised as effectively as possible.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government considers that the management of production facility infrastructure is a matter for the ABC Board and Executive.

The ABC has advised that it actively manages its production infrastructure through comprehensive internal processes across Divisions to promote the most effective utilisation of its production assets as possible.

The ABC is accountable for the funding it receives through a comprehensive governance and reporting regime which ensures that it remains transparent and provides value for money.

Recommendation 9

3.133 The committee recommends that the government take into account the findings of the Convergence Review about the structure of the media market and investment in Australian content by all broadcasters when considering the ABC's funding needs in the forthcoming triennial funding round.

Australian Government Response:

The Convergence Review committee published its final report on 30 April 2012. The Government delayed consideration of the triennium funding process by one year so that the outcomes of the Convergence Review could be taken into consideration in this process. The Government will assess the recommendations of the Convergence Review and how they may affect the national broadcasters in preparing its response to that review.

Recommendation 10

3.148 The committee recommends that as part of the triennial funding round, the government consider the ABC's capacity to maintain a critical mass of staff, skills, infrastructure and production in regional areas.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government notes this recommendation. Funding requirements for the ABC will be considered in the context of the next triennial funding round.

As part of the next triennial funding round, the ABC is required to complete a review into the efficiency and effectiveness of the previous triennial funding agreement. The Government will use this review to assess how well the ABC has utilised its resources to deliver services in line with its Charter.

Recommendations of the Australian Greens

Recommendation 1

2.11 The Australian Greens recommend that the ABC engage an external provider to conduct a performance and financial audit of the Television division's production commissioning model and to recommend ways to improve the transparency of the ABC's commissioning decisions, including an articulation of the willingness of ABC management to consider internal staff proposals for programming ideas.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government considers this to be a matter for the ABC Board and Executive.

The ABC has advised that it will revise its current strategy for receiving and assessing projects put forward by ABC staff. Guidelines will be placed on the intranet, there will be a six-week response on submissions and a quarterly report will be provided to the Managing Director.

The ABC also notes that consistent with the ABC's commissioning framework, it assesses each idea for new programs submitted by team members on its merits. For example, the idea for the new program Auction Room was generated from within the Collectors production team.

Recommendation 2

3.5    The Australian Greens recommend that ABC management reconsider its decision to axe its only TV arts magazine program and disband the television arts unit, and instead retain a team of specialist arts programmers for the creation and commissioning of quality arts content including critical, review type programming.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government considers that programming decisions are a matter for the ABC Board and Executive.

As noted previously, the government provides an overall level of funding for the ABC, but has no power to direct the ABC in relation to programming matters. Parliament has guaranteed this independence to ensure that what is broadcast is free of political interference.

The ABC has advised that it is committed to fulfilling its responsibility as set out in the Charter to encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia. The ABC is currently reviewing the arts unit, and will retain a smaller production team as a result. This production team will consist of an Executive Producer, a Production Manager, a Production Assistant, a Gateway Editor and a Creative Shooter/Editor.

These individuals will form a team to curate all the arts material from across the ABC, foster and manage the flow of incoming content from major stakeholders including galleries, individuals, ABC Open and ABC Regional. They will also be responsible for covering major events, festivals and creating a level of unique content for the Gateway. There will also be an additional Creative Shooter/Editor position in Sydney created to further cover the major art centres. These individuals will work full time on Arts.

Recommendation 3

3.6    The Australian Greens recommends that the ABC adopt a mandated proportion of regional content on ABC television in order to meet its Charter obligation to 'reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community'.

Australian Government Response:

The Government considers that it would be inappropriate to mandate a proportion of regional content on ABC television, as it would encroach on the integrity and independence of the ABC. Forcing a mandated proportion of regional content could inhibit the ABC Board when making decisions about meeting its obligations as set out in the ABC Charter. The ABC Board is responsible for ensuring that the programming mix is effective and delivered efficiently.

The ABC has advised that it has employed specialist staff to work with internal staff and the independent production sector to determine an appropriate program mix. These specialists will ensure that the ABC is well placed to respond flexibly to a dynamic and competitive environment. The ABC has further advised that forcing the ABC to have a certain percentage of regional content may result in the ABC missing valuable opportunities in other areas, and a reduction in the overall quality of programming on the ABC.

Recommendations of Independent Senator Nick Xenophon

Recommendation 1

1.30 The August 2, 2011 announcement of forced redundancies to be reversed and the level of ABC internal program production be restored and maintained at least at 2010 levels on an ongoing basis.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government considers that staffing and programming decisions are a matter for the ABC Board and Executive.

This recommendation is, in part, addressed in the response to Recommendation 1 of the main report.

Recommendation 2

1.31 The ABC engage an independent external provider to conduct a performance and financial audit of the Television division's production commissioning model and to recommend ways to improve the transparency of the ABC's commissioning decisions, including reference to the recent SAFC FACTory initiative and Screen West outsourcing arrangements.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government does not support the imposition of additional reporting requirements or accountability measures in relation to the ABC's programming strategy. The ABC is accountable for the funding it receives through a comprehensive governance and reporting regime which ensures that it remains transparent and provides value for money. The ABC is subject to a range of existing accountability mechanisms, including its annual report, various forms of parliamentary scrutiny including Senate Estimates, independent audits and triennial cost and performance reports.

The ABC has advised that it has a thorough commissioning framework which has been established over a considerable time. Editorial managers, genre heads, commission editors and channel controllers develop proposals in liaison with executive producers. All programming decisions are then made based on the merit of the individual program. This ensures value for money while enhancing ABC TV's capacity to deliver quality programming.

Recommendation 3

1.32 The committee recommends the Minister for Communications stipulates that as part of the ABC's next triennial funding allocation, the ABC quarantine funding for the National Interest Initiative (Nil) and the Regional and Local Program Initiative (RLP) to promote ongoing internal program production in the BAPH states.

Australian Government Response:

The Australian Government does not agree with this recommendation.

The government made the decision in the 2009-10 Budget that the funds for the National Interest Initiative (NII), also known as Regional and Local Programming (RLP) initiatives, be incorporated into the ABC's ongoing base funding in order to provide a greater level of certainty for the level of services achieved with this funding.

The ABC has advised that it continues to apply these funds to programming activities in line with the purpose for which they were originally provided. For example, in 2011-12, ABC TV committed $7.25 million to the regional/rural programs through the National Interest Initiative funding, including:

Croc College; Croker Island; Country Town Rescue; Baymawarranga; Coniston; Edge of Nowhere; Homeward Bound, The Strange Calls; and Chateau Chunder.

the following programs are currently in development: Under The Flight Path; Dream House; GR8; Jo B G Raft Bubble Bath Bay; and Little Lunch.

 

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE REFERENCES COMMITTEE'S FINAL REPORT:

PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES FOR DEFENCE CAPITAL PROJECTS

Executive summary

1. The Government welcomes the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee's final report Procurement procedures for Defence capital projects. Government understands the importance of reform to Defence's capability procurement. This is why Government has already initiated action on a number of procurement reforms, including:

a. project management accountability;

h. progress with the Projects of Concern process;

c. reforms to Support Ship Repair and Management Practices (the Rizzo Report);

d. capability and procurement reforms; and

e. reforms in the sustainment of Australia's Collins Class submarines (the Coles Review).

2. This is also why the lessons learnt from the Coles Review will also play an important role in the development of the Future Submarine Project, including the need to take a long term view of maintenance and sustainment of the Future Submarine from the outset of the project.

3. The Government remains committed to progressing further capability development and procurement reforms that will enhance the delivery of Defence capability projects, strengthen Australian Defence industry and improve accountability. In this light, Government has carefully examined this 334 page report to see what further insights might be offered. From this review, of the report's 28 recommendations, the Government has:

a. agreed in full to 13 recommendations;

b. agreed in principle to four recommendations (Recommendations 5, 10, 11 and 19);

c. agreed in part to seven recommendations (Recommendations 2, 3, 4, 6, 15, 16 and 26).

4. The Government notes the report's emphasis on increasing the role of the Capability Managers, which is why the Government has also agreed Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 in part. These recommendations relate broadly to increasing and enhancing the role of Capability Managers in capability acquisition, and Defence supports this intent. In this respect, Defence has already undertaken a range of initiatives to strengthen the role of Capability Manager's in this process. However, Defence does not agree to the aspects of these recommendations that suggest transferring financial resources for acquisition to Capability Managers. Funding following government approval is provided to Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) to improve DMO's authority and accountability for outcomes (that is, the delivery of the materiel equipment elements of a project).

5. Apart from agreeing to these 24 recommendations, for the remaining four recommendations, these were not agreed as follows:

a. Recommendation 9 (DMO's independence). The Committee's recommendation is inconsistent the Government's previous public advice. The DMO will continue as it is, as a prescribed agency. Both the Kinnaird and Mortimer reports have previously recommended DMO become an executive agency. However, governments of both political persuasions have not accepted these recommendations.

b. Recommendation 13 (Capability Managers have sole responsibility for acquisition projects). Having the Capability Managers with sole responsibility for acquisition projects is contrary to the current business model approved by Government following the Kinnaird Review. A recent review undertaken by Independent Project Analysis Inc., an independent international benchmarking organisation, made the observation the current organisational structure with materiel equipment acquisition centralised in DMO is consistent with best practice. Nevertheless, cognisant of the intent of this recommendation, Defence will examine Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 to ensure the primacy of the Capability Managers is maintained in the acquisition process.

c. Recommendation 17 (Respond publicly to the Committee's criticisms about lessons not learnt and current planning on submarines). As SEA 1000 is still pre-first pass, it is premature to respond to criticisms raised by the Committee. The project will be brought through the normal first and second pass process to ensure appropriate lessons are applied and the necessary contestability is applied to affirm this.

d. Recommendation 20 (Publish as an addendum to its portfolio budget statements). The reporting requirements proposed by this recommendation would mix data from pre-second pass activities, when option sets are being developed, against costs detailed in an acquisition contract versus the evolving costs for the sustainment of a capability as it matures and ages. The existing Portfolio Budget Statement reporting enables data to be appropriately compared via the extant reporting mechanisms and avoids creating significant overheads with little obvious benefit.

Overview of report

1. The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee's final report Procurement procedures for Defence capital projects was reviewed based on the eight specific areas and 28 recommendations contained in the report. Table l summarises the report's structure and the Government's response to each recommendation.

Table 1: Summary of Recommendations

Recommendation Category Realignment of responsibilities

Recommendation No

 

Response Agree

Recommendation I

Recommendation 2

Recommendation 3

Recommendation 4

Agree (in part)

Contestability and independence

Recommendation 5

Agree (in principle)

Recommendation 6

Agree (in part)

Recommendation 7

Agree

Recommendation 8 Recommendation 9

Agree

Disagree

Agree (in principle)

Recommendation 10

Recommendation 11

Agree (in principle)

Skilling Defence

Recommendation 12 Recommendation 13

Agree

Disagree

Agree

Recommendation 14

Recommendation 15

Agreed (in part)

Future submarines SEA 1000

Recommendation 16

Recommendation 17

Recommendation 18

Agreed (in part)

Disagree

Agree

AIR 8000 Phase 2 (Battlefield Airlift - Caribou replacement)

Capability development and public information

Recommendation 19 Recommendation 20

Agree in principle

Disagree

Agree

T&E - building capability

Recommendation 21

Recommendation 22

Agree

Recommendation 23

Agree

Recommendation 24

Agree

Recommendation 25

Agree

Defence industry

Recommendation 26

Agreed (in part)

Recommendation 27

Agree

Recommendation 28

Agree

 

Analysis of report's findings

2. The report suggests there is a growing disconnect between strategic guidance and capability development, confused accountabilities, poor appreciation of risk, and a need for structural reform in Defence procurement. Government supports the thrust of the report's findings and Defence is already implementing a number of initiatives which will address some of the Committee's concerns.

3. In particular, Government has already initiated action on a number of procurement reforms, including:

a. project management accountability;

b. progress with the Projects of Concern process;

c. reforms to Support Ship Repair and Management Practices (the Rizzo Report);

d. capability and procurement reforms; and

e. reforms in the sustainment of Australia's Collins Class submarines (the Coles Review).

4. This is also why the lessons learnt from the Coles Review will also play an important role in the development of the Future Submarine Project, including the need to take a long term view of maintenance and sustainment of the Future Submarine from the outset of the project.

5. Nevertheless, Government will draw upon the advice in the Committee's report and integrate this advice into existing reforms. Within Defence, the Capability Development and Materiel Reform Committee will progress such matters.

Areas of agreement

6. The following are areas where there is broad agreement with the report:

a. The need for continuous improvement, as evidenced already with a range of capability development and acquisition reforms.

b. Providing personnel with the right skilling to perform their duties.

c. Recognising there are critical skills (e.g. engineers) where Defence needs to attract these skilled personnel.

d. Where possible, encouraging longer tenures.

e. As per the Black Review, Defence agrees there is a need for an alignment of accountability and responsibility.

f. While risk management policies and procedures are in place, further training in the application of these may be worth exploring.

g. Building an improved test and evaluation (T&E) capability, including the development of an equal stakeholder relationship between the Services T&E organisations and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), enabling the early engagement (pre-first pass) of T&E activities for the identification and mitigation of risks.

7. The rationale for agreeing in principle to these four recommendations is as follows:

a. Recommendation 5 (Mandatory gate reviews). Recommendation 5 reflects current practice as defined in Gate Review policy documentation. However, Gate Reviews have not been held for `DCP Entry' as there is currently no clear milestone for this event and at that point there is often little for the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) to review. The first clear and useful milestone is Project Initiation and Review Board (PIRB) and corresponding Project Initiation and Options Definition Gate Reviews have been instituted.

b. Recommendation 10 (DSTO's independent advice). While, there is no precedent for a Ministerial Directive to a Defence group head, the Chief Defence Scientist (CDS) is currently required by government to advise on technical risks for all major capability submissions. This was confirmed in the government's response to the Mortimer Report. Defence's existing processes ensure that DSTO advice is both independent and available without modification and CDS's advice on technical risks is included verbatim in the submission to Cabinet.

c. Recommendation 11 (DSTO and risk assessments). Defence agrees to strengthen the role of the Technical Risk Assessment (TRA) in test and evaluation (T&E) by ensuring the TRA addresses the potential for T&E. Defence is of the view that the TRA is best conducted by technical experts in DSTO and should remain as independent advice. All submissions currently presented to Government on major capital projects include advice on technical risks that are provided directly by the Chief Defence Scientist. To ensure that the risks are appropriately described and presented, DSTO provides training in technical risk assessment and has implemented a review group to ensure the quality of TRAs.

d. Recommendation 19 (2013 White Paper). Recommendation 19 contends that, in developing the 2013 White Paper, Defence should ensure that all procurement proposals are costed and scheduled realistically, and that industry should be comprehensively consulted prior to the inclusion of procurement proposals. Defence notes that the approach taken in the development of this White Paper is somewhat different to that used to develop the 2009 White Paper, and that procurement proposals will continue to be developed and considered through the current two-pass capability development process. Defence also considers that the way in which in the 2013 White Paper is developed, the inclusion of capability proposals and the consultation processes are properly decisions for Government.

8. The seven recommendations agreed in part are as follows:

a. Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 (Capability Managers, DMO and Capability Development Group (CDG)). Both Kinnaird and Mortimer recommended that service chiefs should be accountable for service specific procurements in the context of a stronger assurance role to ensure that there is appropriate oversight and coordination of all elements necessary to introduce a capability. For example, Kinnaird stated that "Capability managers will be accountable for monitoring and reporting to Government for the whole of capability from the point where government approves a particular capability option, that is at second pass approval, through to the time that the capability is retired from service. During the acquisition phase, the capability manager monitors the development of all capability elements, including equipment delivery by the DMO. This responsibility does not imply any authority to directly instruct the DMO on any aspect of its function as the manager of equipment acquisition." In addition, a recent review undertaken by Independent Project Analysis, an independent international benchmarking organisation, made the observation that the current organisational structure with materiel equipment acquisition centralised in DMO is consistent with best practice. However, Defence does not agree to the aspects of these recommendations that suggest transferring financial resources for acquisition to Capability Managers. Funding following government approval is provided to DMO to improve DMO's authority and accountability for outcomes (that is, the delivery of the materiel equipment elements of a project). This approach has previously been weed by Government following the Kinnaird review and reinforced by the Mortimer review.

b. Recommendation 6 (Relocation of Independent Project Performance Office). The Independent Project Performance Office (IPPO) was specifically formed in the DMO following the Mortimer Review to improve DMO's project management performance through the provision of expert analysis, advice and assistance to DMO projects. This ensures the necessary commercial, engineering and project management expertise is readily available and brought to bear in an environment of management ownership, accountability and follow through. The relocation of the IPPO outside of DMO would diminish the effectiveness of this arrangement. The remainder of Recommendation 6 is agreed.

c. Recommendation 15 (streamlining and consolidation of skills). Defence does not agree to adopt in full the recommended organisational changes specified in Recommendation 13. However, Defence agrees that Strategic Policy Division and CDG should have more strategic analytical skills. Defence agrees that DMO has the resources and support to build on the efforts already under way to develop its multi-discipline skills base.

Following from the recommendations of the Black review, further work is currently being undertaken to build the skills base of CDG and DMO, including optimising the utilisation of the Capability and Technology Management College to provide better and more focused support to CDG and DMO. The Australian Public Service (APS) Job Families and business skilling initiatives will drive skill development of the military as well as the APS Strategy workforce.

d. Recommendation 16 (Chief of Navy to manage SEA 1000). As you announced on 6 September this year, Mr David Gould has been appointed as General Manager Submarines and he has been given responsibility for the oversight of the maintenance of the current Collins Class fleet and the Future Submarine Project. Hence, the intent of this recommendation has been met, but management of SEA 1000 will be overseen by Mr Gould rather than Chief of Navy. The remainder of Recommendation 16 is agreed.

e. Recommendation 26 (Planning for investment). Defence recognises the importance of certainty to industry and continues to improve the planning for the Public Defence Capability Plan within the inherent limitations of the project development environment. The Public DCP is intended to provide as much information as is known within the four year Forward Estimates period. The DCP and Defence Capability Guide seek to provide as much information as possible, noting that an increasing level of uncertainty is inevitable in the outer years. The Department will engage with industry to address the level of information that can be generated and published about projects plans at early stages of their development. Although Defence regards continuity as an important aspect of maintaining the supply chain, the timely delivery of required military capabilities must remain the key feature of capability planning. Defence agrees that to the extent permissible to protect sensitive information, data on the reasoning and analysis underlying Defence's demand can be published. Defence agrees to publish information based on the most reliable cost estimates it is able to generate, noting again the inherent uncertainty for projects in the outer years.

9. Notably, Defence has agreed to Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 in part. These recommendations relate broadly to increasing and enhancing the role of Capability Managers in capability acquisition, and Defence supports this intent. In this respect, Defence has already undertaken a range of initiatives to strengthen the role of Capability Manager's in this process, as outlined in paragraphs 14 to 16 below.

Aspects of report not agreed

10. Defence has not agreed to four recommendations on the basis that some activities are no longer undertaken for very sound reasons or that, even reflecting the Committee's considered views, there are sound reasons to adopt an alternative approach in some cases.

11. The four recommendations not agreed are as follows:

a. Recommendation 9 - DMO becoming a statutorily independent agency. The Government has previously considered whether DMO should be an executive agency, as has past governments. In each case, the decision has been made after careful consideration to have DMO as a prescribed agency.

b. Recommendation 13 - Service Chiefs as sole client with the contracted suppliers. The report envisages the accountability for all service specific procurement items should be exclusively transferred with budgets to Service Chiefs, who should be responsible for all procurement and sustainment of their materiel. The Committee also envisages the movement of individuals between DMO and the Capability Manager at varying times in the project phases. This recommendation is quite contrary to the current business model approved by Government following the Kinnaird Review. A recent review undertaken by Independent Project Analysis Inc., an independent international benchmarking organisation, made the observation the current organisational structure with materiel equipment acquisition centralised in DMO is consistent with best practice. Whilst not agreeing to Recommendation 13, Defence will examine Recommendations 2, 3, 4 and 13 to ensure the primacy of the Capability Managers' role is maintained. Defence's Capability Development and Materiel Reform Committee will progress this matter.

c. Recommendation 17 - Respond publicly to the Committee's criticisms about lessons not learnt and current planning on submarines. As SEA 1000 is still pre-first pass, it is premature to respond to criticisms raised by the Committee. The project will be brought through the normal first and second pass process to ensure appropriate lessons are applied and the necessary contestability is applied to affirm this.

d. Recommendation 20 - Additional PBS reporting. The reporting requirements proposed by this recommendation would mix data from pre-second pass activities, when option sets are being developed, against costs detailed in an acquisition contract versus the evolving costs for the sustainment of a capability as it matures and ages. The existing Portfolio Budget Statement reporting enables data to be appropriately compared via the extant reporting mechanisms and avoids creating significant overheads with little obvious benefit.

Clarifications

12. Report contradictions. Defence considers that the report contains some internal contradictions which means that accepting one recommendation would have an adverse impact on another of the report's recommendations. For example. the recommendations to empower the Capability Managers (Recommendations 2, 3 and 13) are contrary to ensuring DMO's independence, with adequate resources (Recommendations 9 and 14). The Government understands the intent of the report and intends to take a holistic perspective to both the report's recommendations and extant reform measures. Thus, for example, Defence is already updating the Memorandum of Arrangements (MOA) between Defence and DMO. This MOA will be used to ensure the relationship between the Capability Managers and DMO is adequately described and agreed.

13. Capability Manager roles and joint capabilities. The report identifies that "capability managers have been sidelined with CDG and DMO assuming key positions during the acquisition phase" and "capability managers require the authority that now resides with CDG as departmental coordinator and centre of power" (both quotes from para 15.39 of the report).

14. Defence has recognised that there is room for improvement in this areas and has made a number of changes to its practices over the past six months to address these issues, including:

a. providing authority to Capability Managers through including them as a signatory, together with CDG and DMO, on Materiel Acquisition Agreements (MAAs); and

b. the implementation of Capability Manager Steering Groups to assist Capability Managers to review, monitor and control the process and progress for their post-second pass projects as these projects progress through the acquisition process.

15. The report's discussion on Capability Managers focuses on each of their capability areas. In this context, Defence is also taking a number of steps to better integrate capability to support Joint Force Operations and the Joint Force-in-Being. It is also important to recognise that while the Service Chiefs and Deputy Secretary Intelligence and Security have clear and easily identifiable responsibilities for the delivery of capabilities and materiel that will be operated in the maritime, land, air and intelligence environments, there are some joint capabilities that do not fit neatly within any one of their areas of responsibility alone.

16. This is particularly the case for joint command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and ICT-dependent operational capabilities. Under Defence's Capability Coordination Model, a Capability Coordinator is designated to ensure delivery of a cohesive joint capability that will meet the needs of the Capability Managers and Chief of Joint Operations. Where this model is invoked, the Capability Coordinator is required to engage closely with the Services and Groups to ensure their requirements are understood, and that all parties are kept informed of any issues and the status of the capability. The Vice Chief of Defence Force, as the Joint Capability Authority, is responsible for:

a. ensuring that new and extant capabilities are developed in accordance with joint concepts and doctrine;

b. appointing Capability Coordinators to be responsible for the delivery of joint capabilities that service the ADF and Defence; and

c. providing the conceptual basis for the future joint force and integration of its component capabilities.

17. Recommendation 18 - AIR 8000 Phase 2 Statement of Operational Requirement (SOR). This recommendation implies Air Force did not intend to conduct T&E against the approved SOR. This is not correct. As part of the acquisition process, T&E results from the United States Air Force (USAF) for the capability will be reviewed and the Aerospace Operational Support Group will conduct T&E against key requirements to provide early identification of potential issues with the AIR 8000 Phase 2 project that could delay introduction into service. Whilst formal T&E against the SOR was not conducted prior to second pass, evaluation of the capability against the requirements was completed using evidence available from both the manufacturer and USAF to further mitigate risk of any non-compliance with the SOR.

18. Paragraph 8.54 — DSTO moral hazards and conflicts of interest. Paragraph 8.54 of the report states -there is another matter of concern with potential conflicts of interest or moral hazard in that the opportunities for collaborative activities and funding have in the past driven DSTO to recommend a course of action that may not be in Defence's best interest", without any

reference or further details to validate this statement. Defence refutes this statement. As both a developer and an adviser on technology to Defence, DSTO recognises the potential conflict of interest and has established an independent Probity Board to advise the Chief Defence Scientist on how to manage any potential conflicts, including through independent review of DSTO's advice.

Way ahead

19. There are aspects of this report where its advice can be incorporated into existing reform activities. The governance and oversight of all these activities will be provided by the Capability Development and Materiel Reform Committee, which is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer Defence Materiel Organisation. Such an approach avoids creating unnecessary, duplicative reporting mechanisms.

 

Australian Government Response to th e Report of the Senate Select Committee on Men's Health

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

ALSMH Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health

ALSWH Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health

FMA Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FSP Family Support Program

MBS Medicare Benefits schedule

MSOAP Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program

MSOAP- ICD Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program - Indigenous Chronic Disease

NPA IPHS National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services

NPA HHWR National Partnership Agreement on Hospital and Health Workforce Reform

NPAPH National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health

NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council

PBS Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

PCFA Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

RPHS Rural Primary Health Services

ASGC-RA Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area

SFSF Strong Fathers Strong Families

ATTACHMENTS

ATTACHMENT A National Male Health Policy

ATTACHMENT B National Male Health Policy Supporting Documents

INTRODUCTION

1. The Australian Government welcomes the report of the Senate Select Committee on Men's Health and the opportunity to respond to its recommendations. The Australian Government is committed to improving the health of Australian males and has achieved significant milestones in the area of male health in the context of a broad health reform agenda to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

2. The overarching policy initiative to address male health was the release in May 2010 of the National Male Health Policy (the Policy; Attachment A). The Policy, a 2007 election commitment, is only the second male health policy to be released worldwide and places Australia at the forefront in addressing male health issues. The overarching aim of the Policy is to provide a framework for improving the health of all males across Australia and achieving equal health outcomes for population groups of males at risk of poor health.

3. The assumptions underpinning the Policy, drawn from the consultation process and an extensive review of the literature conducted during its development, are:

The health of Australian males is important.

There are health inequities between males and females.

Not all male population groups have the same health outcomes.

Health is holistic.

4. The Policy sets six key priority areas for action.

5. Priority 1: Optimal health outcomes for males - Develop and deliver health-related initiatives and services taking into account the needs of Australian males and ways of promoting optimal health outcomes for males.

Increase recognition at all levels of the valuable roles males play.

Encourage programs and policies to take account of the needs of males compared to females and differential impacts on groups of males.

Develop and modify programs and courses to develop workforce capacity in male health.

6. Priority 2: Health equity between population groups of males - Develop and deliver health-related initiatives and services taking into account the needs of different population groups of Australian males and ways of promoting health equity between different groups of males.

Encourage priority to be given to males that are most disadvantaged.

Encourage tailored health promotion programs and services that are readily accessible for groups of males.

Encourage priority of funding for services that promote positive, family-oriented approaches in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male health.

7. Priority 3: Improved health for males at different life stages - Develop and deliver health-related initiatives and services taking into account the needs of Australian males and different population groups of males, in different age groups and during key transition points in the life course.

Actively promote and value the role of males as fathers.

Explicitly recognise the positive roles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in their traditional roles.

Encourage health service providers to make use of transition points in male lives for positive health promotion opportunities.

8. Priority 4: A focus on preventive health - Develop and deliver health-related initiatives and services taking into account the needs of Australian males and different population groups of males at risk of poor health outcomes.

Encourage employers to collaborate with key health organisations to deliver workplace health programs.

Develop preventive health and health promotion activities that focus on males with the poorest health outcomes.

Continue strengthening health awareness raising actions especially addressing mental health and wellbeing, preventing chronic disease, improving sexual and reproductive health, and reducing risky behaviours.

Encourage collaborations to deliver consistent and evidence-based health promotion messages and programs.

Continue to encourage safe work practices and improve the health of males in the workplace.

9. Priority 5: Building a strong evidence base on male health - Build the evidence base, particularly in relation to population groups of males at risk of poor health; widely disseminate evidence; and use it to inform the development of policies, programs and initiatives.

Give attention to research addressing the social determinants of health, and particular groups of males such as those from rural and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, and involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in partnership arrangements in research.

Regularly collect and report data on sex, geographic location, sexual orientation and other demographic factors.

Routinely build evaluation of health outcomes into health programs and services, and widely disseminate the outcomes, including to males.

Explore the potential for surveys such as the Australian Health Survey to collect male data especially for marginalised groups.

Monitor scientific developments to inform evidence-based approaches to preventive health.

10. Priority 6: Improved access to health care for males - Tailor health care services and initiatives to facilitate access by males, particularly in relation to population groups of males at risk of poor health.

Encourage health service providers to deliver services in ways that are responsive to male needs including extending opening hours and programs such as the Father's Day Health Checks.

Encourage health services targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males to work in partnership with Indigenous males and provide culturally appropriate services.

Encourage health care services to recognise that some groups of males feel marginalised and put in measures to counteract this, for example, providing males or staff from diverse backgrounds where possible, and ensuring a variety of literature in the waiting room.

Encourage general practice to take up incentives for evidence-based chronic disease health checks.

11. To accompany the release of the Policy, the Australian Government has committed $16.7 million to support male health programs. This includes:

$6.9 million over four years for Australia's first national longitudinal study on male health.

$6 million over three years to promote the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men as fathers and partners, grandfathers and uncles, and encourage them to participate in their children's and families' lives, especially in the antenatal period and early childhood years (the Strong Fathers Strong Families Initiative).

$3 million over four years to support Men's Sheds across Australia through the Australian Men's Shed Association.

$400,000 over four years for regular statistical bulletins on male health.

$350,000 over four years for the development of a range of health promotion materials targeting males.

12. In August 2010, following the release of the Policy, the Minister's Male Health Reference Group (the Group) was established to advise on progress in addressing male health policy challenges and to ensure an ongoing focus on male health. The Group was established by the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister of the Centenary of Anzac, and Minister for Indigenous Health, who also has responsibility for male health. Comprised of eminent researchers, practitioners and key stakeholders, the Group provides expert advice on the implementation of male health programs that support the Policy and on broader male health priorities and future directions in addressing male health.

13. In addition, the Policy is being implemented in the context of the significant broader health care reforms and cross-government initiatives that impact on men's lives and this will enable major gains in health for Australian men into the future.

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government give due consideration to the findings of this committee and to the evidence gathered by it in the course of this inquiry in developing the National Men's Health Policy.

Response

14. The development of the National Male Health Policy (the Policy) was informed by a wide range of sources including a thorough review of male health literature and extensive consultation with male health stakeholders, including experts, consumers and policy and program stakeholders. Broad ranging Policy Consultation Forums were conducted across Australia during 2009, with more than 1300 people participating in 26 public forums held in regional and metropolitan locations in each State and Territory. Individuals and organisations also made more than 90 submissions which were considered in the development of the Policy. The Policy therefore reflects the views of males, male health experts, policy makers and program deliverers across Australia.

15. The evidence gathered in the course of the Senate Inquiry contributed to the development of the Policy and the six priority areas noted for action. For example: the specific health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and gay males highlighted in the Inquiry, contributed to the development of Priority 2 'Health equity between population groups of males' in the Policy. Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and those who are gay, bisexual, transgender, or from intersex groups, are identified as those at risk of poor health outcomes.

16. Similarly, the Inquiry's recognition of the need for education and awareness raising in regard to men's health and the specific factors that impact on men's health outcomes contributed to the development of Priority 5 'Building a strong evidence base on male health' and Priority 6 'Improved access to health care for males'.

17. The Policy is further supported by nine supporting documents (Attachment B) that provide a comprehensive assessment of the evidence relevant to male health, current actions and potential future actions for key areas addressed in the Policy. The supporting documents are:

Social Determinants and Key Actions Supporting Male Health

Healthy Minds

Healthy Routines

Healthy Reproductive Behaviours

Healthy Limits

Healthy Workers

Access to Health Services

Action Males can take Now

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Males Health Framework Revised Guiding Principles

18. The broad range of sources that contributed to the development of the Policy has ensured a document that recognises the significant strengths of males in Australia as well as highlighting the challenges in male health and possible policy and program responses.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that legislative drafting instructions and administrative procedures applying in all Commonwealth Government departments and agencies include a mandatory requirement that they consider the impact of legislation and policies on men as well as women.

Response

19. The Australian Government is committed to ensuring all people are able to participate in society and receive the protection of the law, regardless of their sex or gender. The

Sex Discrimination Act 1984 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in a range of public activities including work, accommodation, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, the activities of clubs and the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs.

20. Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation is located in four separate and distinct laws: the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and the Age Discrimination Act 2004. The Australian Government is seeking to consolidate the federal anti-discrimination laws and provide the opportunity to explore opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the legislation to provide equality of opportunity to participate and contribute to the social, economic and cultural life of our community. A single Act will address current inconsistencies and make the system more user-friendly by clarifying relevant rights and obligations. Importantly, there will be no diminution of existing protections currently available at the federal level.

21. The impact of gender on health outcomes and the experience of the health system are widely acknowledged. Gender issues are routinely considered by the Australian Government in policy planning, research, implementation and evaluation to ensure that gender inequities are not perpetuated and national resources and knowledge are distributed appropriately. The importance of gender equity is one of the foundation principles of both the National Male Health Policy and the National Women's Health Policy 2010.

22. The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has a significant role in considering the impact of legislation and policy on men and women. This is pursued through avenues such as reviewing submissions of portfolios from across government, prior to consideration by Cabinet, advising on and making recommendations that will achieve gender-equitable outcomes.

23. A range of other initiatives to promote and support the consideration of the impact of legislation and policies on men and women are being implemented. For example, the establishment of a Gender Panel, a procurement panel of gender experts, by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs was announced in March 2011. The Gender Panel provides opportunities for Government departments and agencies to draw on the expertise of panel members to enhance their capacity to support the integration of gender equity for men and women into policy, programs and research.

24. The Department of Families, Housing, Community Servicer and Indigenous Affairs is also continuing to support the COAG Select Council on Women's Issues in developing a framework for considering gender equality of outcomes between women and men.

25. The Australian Government will continue to observe its international human rights obligations in the course of developing and implementing policies, programs and legislation. This includes ensuring that these activities do not result in gender inequality and provide, so far as practicable, equal opportunity for males and females.

Recommendation 3

The Committee strongly recommends that a Longitudinal Study of Men's Health building on the work already undertaken by Andrology Australia and other stakeholders be established and funded by the Commonwealth Government.

Response

26. Under the National Male Health Policy (the Policy) the Australian Government has committed $6.9 million over four years for the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health (ALSMH). The ALSMH will provide longitudinal and population-based research into the health of Australian males by examining the social, economic, environmental and behavioural factors that affect the length and quality of life. The primary objective of the ALSMH is to provide a national research resource of current and valid information on male health that is relevant to the development of male health and wellbeing policies and service provision.

27. The scope of the ASLMH was informed by a number of sources, including the work undertaken by Andrology Australia and advice from the Minister's Male Health Reference Group. The ALSMH is being undertaken by the University of Melbourne. The establishment and pilot phase of the ALSMH commenced in June 2011.

28. The ALSMH will complement significant existing studies including the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, the Australian Health Survey and the Longitudinal Study on Australian Children.

29. Under the Policy $400,000 over four years is also provided for the development and publication of a suite of regular male health bulletins to provide up-to-date data and information for health professionals, academics, policy makers and the general public. The first male health bulletin - The health of Australian males - prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, was released in June 2011. The bulletin provides a summary of the health and wellbeing of the Australian male population by outlining the lifestyle factors influencing male health, the health status of Australian males and access to health services.

30. The Australian Government is also currently providing significant funding for male health related research, as outlined in response to Recommendation 12.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government investigate the feasibility of introducing a structured, comprehensive annual health check for men. The proposed health check should be designed to be carried out in a range of contexts - general practice, the workplace and through community health programs. Consideration should also be given to providing a specific Medicare item which provides adequate time for consideration and minimises the costs to the patient.

Response

31. The Australian Government is committed to ensuring access to health care for all males, particularly those at risk of poor health. Priority Area 6 under the National Male Health Policy is 'Improved access to health care for males'. This priority action area recognises the role of health services in being responsive to male health needs and addressing barriers that men may face in effectively accessing health care.

32. Existing Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) health assessments, available for males and females, primarily target specific critical life stages or medical conditions and are supported by four time-based health MBS assessment items. Rather than creating new health assessment items for men, the Australian Government considers that effort should be directed towards clarifying for both patients and doctors, that existing Medicare items are available to support regular, clinically relevant health assessments.

33. The current set of MBS health assessment items are of direct benefit to men. The health assessment items include services for:

Older people (aged 75 and older);

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

Pre-school children about to enter the school system;

Refugees and humanitarian entrants;

People at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes;

People with an intellectually disability; and

People aged between 45 and 49 years old (inclusive) who are at risk of developing a chronic disease.

34. For example, the 45 Year Old Assessment helps to ensure that men aged 45 to 49 years old who are at risk of developing a chronic disease receive a health check that assesses a range of risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol use, high cholesterol and family history of chronic disease.

35. Existing support through Medicare, which covers a very wide range of medical, nursing and allied health services, provides a very broad scope for doctors to assess men's health and generally to meet their chronic and acute health care needs.

36. The Australian Government, through the Healthy Workers Initiative under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, also provides up to $289.2 million for the States and Territories to fund healthy living programs in workplaces. Funding commenced in July 2011. Programs will be introduced to a wide range of workplaces, including those with a high percentage of male workers, and target obesity, nutrition, alcohol abuse and smoking.

37. The National Male Health Policy (the Policy) also recognises the important role of men in taking responsibility for their health needs and in being aware and informed in relation to health issues. Under the Policy funding is provided for the development and distribution of a range of health promotion materials for males. The first phase of this activity focuses on providing health promotion materials to all Men's Sheds across Australia through the DIY Health Toolbox. Funding is also provided to Andrology Australia, the Australian Centre of Excellence in Male Reproductive Health, to distribute Men's Health GP Summary Guidelines to interested General Practitioners across Australia and undertake training of General Practitioners in the use of these Guidelines in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the feasibility of offering incentives to nurses to undertake training as men's nurse practitioners be investigated by the Commonwealth Government.

Response

38. From 1 November 2010, eligible nurse practitioners and midwives have had access to the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This access is provided under the Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Act 2010 and reflects the Australian Government's broader health reform agenda, supporting improved access to primary health care services and promoting multidisciplinary team-based approaches to health care. This initiative will facilitate more effective use of this workforce, particularly in primary health care and rural settings, including eligible nurse practitioners treating men's health issues.

39. The Australian Government also funds the Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme to assist students to enter the workforce, nurses to re-enter the nursing workforce and existing nurses to up-skill or undertake other continuing professional development activities. This assistance includes nurse practitioner scholarships. These programs will increase the capacity of the health workforce and will benefit the overall population.

40. The Australian Government is also building the health workforce through a range of scholarships for registered and enrolled nursing students under the Nursing and Allied Scholarship and Support Scheme and Aged Care Nursing Scholarships, including for nurse practitioners. Registered nurses working in the areas of men's health may apply for these scholarships, administered on behalf of the Australian Government by the Royal College of Nursing Australia, for courses that enable them to be registered as a nurse practitioner.

41. In recognition of the significant burden of disease associated with mental illness and to assist in the treatment of mental disorders, the Australian Government funds the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program. This program assists health care practices to engage mental health nurses to provide both men and women with serious mental health issues with better coordinated treatment and care.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government initiate discussions with its State and Territory counterparts with the object of introducing, as appropriate, programs that encourage boys to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

Response

42. The Australian Government has recognised the importance of the health and wellbeing of boys. One of the six priority areas for action of the National Male Health Policy is 'Improved health for males at different life stages', which recognises the importance of boys' early years in establishing patterns of behaviour which may have long term consequences for health and the opportunities for supporting health that early life-course transitions present.

43. The Healthy Children Initiative under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health provides up to $325.5 million to States and Territories to fund healthy living programs for children and young people aged from birth to 16 years. Funding commenced in July 2011. Programs will be delivered in a range of settings such as schools, early childhood education and care environments, and focus on physical activity and nutrition programs. While programs target the general population of children and young people, young males can be reached through these settings and help in establishing health nutrition and physical activity habits.

44. The Australian Government is also undertaking a wide range of activities which address the social and emotional wellbeing of boys and youth. Under the National Male Health Policy $6 million is provided for the Strong Fathers Strong Families (SFSF) Initiative which aims to promote the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men within the family, as fathers and partners, grandfathers and uncles, and encourages them to participate in their children's and families' lives, especially in the antenatal period and early childhood years. SFSF promotes a clear message that positive male role models are important in the life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

45. The National Suicide Prevention Program promotes activities across the Australian population, as well as for specific at-risk groups, such as boys and young males. For example, the Yiriman Project in Western Australia focuses on youth activities with support from senior Aboriginal men and links with local agencies such as cultural activities and camps that build strong relationships, self-identity and confidence in young people in the Fitzroy Valley. Similarly, the Wesley Mission Expanding Horizons project in Queensland is aimed at young people aged between 13 to 17 years who are engaging in self-harming behaviours or who have expressed suicidal ideation.

46. Programs that encourage boys to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing in general fall under the Health and Ageing portfolio. However, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs also fund a number of initiatives which connect with the Department of Health and Ageing's agenda under the National Male Health Policy.

47. The Family Support Program (FSP) funds services to support families and children to improve family functioning, safety and child development. The FSP recognises that helping men develop and maintain strong family relationships has a positive benefit on overall health outcomes of men and boys, particularly in reducing the risks of depression and associated problems including self-harm and suicide. A number of FSP service providers are providing family and relationship services with a particular focus on services to men and their families to help them improve and better manage their relationships, raise their awareness of family relationship issues, develop their parenting skills and increase their skills and participation. The Government also provides funding for Mensline Australia, a 24 hour-a-day, seven days a week, confidential telephone counselling information and referral service. Mensline is a national service funded to increase men's access to a range of support services. Funding to Mensline also provides for a website which targets youth and younger men.

48. The Australian Government recognises that student wellbeing and safety are essential for academic development. All students should be able to learn and develop in safe, supportive and respectful environments. As part of a national approach to supporting schools to build safe school communities, the Australian Government collaborated with State and Territory education authorities to review and revise the National Safe Schools Framework (the Framework). The Framework was endorsed by all ministers for education through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs in December 2010.

49. In addition, while the Australian Government plays a leadership role and provides funding for areas of national educational significance, schooling in Australia is the responsibility of the State and Territory government and non-government education authorities. This includes the provision of learning programs that encourage boys to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

50. The KidsMatter Primary school initiative is the national primary school mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative developed in collaboration with beyondblue, the Australian Psychological Society and Principals Australia. As part of the 2010 election, the Australian Government announced it would expand the KidsMatter Primary School initiative to an additional 1,700 schools by 2014 with funding of $18.4 million from the start of 2011.

51. The Australian Government remains committed to supporting boys within the family, schools, communities and more broadly and to developing boys' capacity to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

52. All Australian government have established the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to develop an Australian Curriculum from Foundation to Year 12. Education ministers have agreed to the prioritization of Health and Physical Education (HPE) within phase three of the development of the Australian Curriculum and to make HPE a course learning requirement for all Australian students from Foundation to Year 10.

53. The development of an Australian Curriculum in HPE is currently underway, with ACARA initially preparing a curriculum "shape paper". ACARA is consulting extensively with the education community in developing the curriculum.

54. The Australian Curriculum for HPE may provide Australian students with the opportunity to learn about male health and wellbeing issues.

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government take the initiative in conjunction with the States and Territories in examining strategies for improving trauma treatment in Central Australia.

Response

55. On 2 August 2011, a new National Health Reform Agreement was signed by all governments. The Agreement sets out the intention of the Australian Government and State and Territory governments to work in partnership to improve health outcomes for all Australians. This agreement outlines a revised range of initiatives to be implemented under the National Health Reform Agreement. As part of these reforms, the Commonwealth is providing additional funding to the Northern Territory through the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services (NPA IPHS) and National Partnership Agreement on Hospital and Health Workforce Reform (NPA HHWR). Investments in improving emergency department services form part of the new national strategy for Australia's health and hospital system.

56. Through the NPA IPHS, the Australian Government has committed $3.4 billion to the States and Territories including $750 million over five years to improve access to timely and safe health services for emergency departments. This is through the National Emergency Access Target (NEAT), where 90% of patients presenting to a public hospital emergency department will be admitted, referred for treatment, or discharged within four hours. Funding of $48.8 million has been allocated to the Northern Territory from which Darwin Hospital Emergency Department will receive $5.6 million in facilitation funding and $5.9 million towards capital development. Alice Springs Hospital Emergency Department will receive $0.7 million in facilitation funding and $1.6 million towards capital development.

57. Through the NPA HHWR, the Australian Government has committed $1.5 billion to the States and Territories including $750 million to take pressure off public hospital emergency departments and reduce waiting times for treatment. Funding of $9.8 million has been allocated to the Northern Territory from which Darwin Hospital Emergency Department will receive $5.9 million and Alice Springs Hospital Emergency Department will receive $2.35 million.

58. Initiatives such as these and others under the National Health Reform Agreement are enhancing trauma treatment across Central Australia through building the capacity of the Royal Darwin Hospital, which incorporates the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, and Alice Springs Hospital.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government take the initiative, in cooperation with the States and Territories, to reduce complexity and simplify the application process for health related grants.

Response

59. On 1 July 2009, the Australian Government introduced the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines (the Guidelines) that provide a whole-of-government policy framework grants administration. The Guidelines apply to all agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA) and are intended to improve the transparency and accountability of grants administration. The Australian Government has mandated transparent and accountable decision-making processes for grants and timely public reporting through agency websites.

60. The Guidelines also recognise the importance of adopting processes that are in proportion to the scale and risk profile of grant activities, and the need to work collaboratively and in partnership with grant recipients, including voluntary and 'not-for-profit' organisations.

61. All grants processes undertaken from 1 July 2009 will take into account both the mandatory and sound practice elements of the Guidelines. This includes grants processes that involve State governments where they are covered under Regulation 3A (1) and not otherwise exempted under 3A (2) of the FMA Regulations. Accordingly, the issue of proportionality in relation to application processes will be considered in the context of the scale and risk of the requisite program.

62. In 2010, the Australian Government commissioned a review of the administrative arrangements in the Health and Ageing portfolio. The purpose of this review was to examine the alignment of resources within the portfolio to ensure it is best placed to implement and manage the Government's key health and ageing priorities and programs, including the National Health Reform agenda, as well as position the portfolio to respond to emerging health and ageing challenges over the medium and longer term.

63. The review of the portfolio has resulted in the establishment of larger, flexible funding pools from 1 July 2011. These funding pools will simplify and streamline grant funding processes for stakeholders. In addition, over time, many grant recipients currently maintaining and reporting against multiple funding agreements will move to an arrangement where they operate under one single agreement with the Department. This will reduce the administrative burden for grant recipients, leaving them more time to focus on their core business.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that the integration of health service provision to recognise the interconnectedness of men's health issues be made a central part of the forthcoming national men's health policy.

Response

64. The National Male Health Policy (the Policy) recognises and addresses the interconnectedness of male health issues and the wide range of social determinants that influence male health. The Policy recommends that this be taken into account in the development and delivery of policies and services that impact on male health. The Policy provides a framework for improving male health across Australia, with a focus on taking action on multiple fronts and recognising the social determinants of health.

65. The interconnectedness of men's health issues is recognised in the range of programs funded under the Policy. For example, $3 million over four years is provided to support Men's Sheds across Australia. This program recognises the role of Men's Sheds as meeting places where men, particularly marginalised and isolated men, can find social support and camaraderie and the significant contribution to male health and wellbeing that such support can have. Support for men's sheds with a high veteran concentration is also offered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs through its Veteran and Community Grants Program.

66. Similarly, the first ever Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health is based on a social determinants model of male health and is designed to provide information on the social, economic, environmental and behavioural factors that affect the health of men and boys in Australia. This information will assist in developing policy and program responses across the range of Australian Government portfolios that impact on male health.

67. A key role of the Minister's Male Health Reference Group is to draw attention to the interconnections in male health and wellbeing and provide advice in relation to relevant policy and program responses.

68. The Policy is being implemented in the context of broader health care reforms and cross-government initiatives that impact on men's lives and will allow major gains in health for Australian men into the future. To ensure the health system is more responsive to the needs of individuals and local communities, Medicare Locals are being established as a coordinated network of primary health care organisations. Medicare Locals are critical to supporting and driving improvements in primary health care for both patients and health care providers and will provide both males and females with increased access to information about services available in their local areas as well as making it easier to navigate their local health care system.

69. Medicare Locals will also support primary health care professionals and organisations to identify and address local health care needs and improve the delivery of integrated primary health care. As they develop, each Medicare Local will develop plans for their particular population and its health needs, including preventive health activities.

70. The interconnectedness of male health issues is recognised across the range of Australian Government portfolio areas. The majority of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs programs, including mental health programs, are targeted to the broader population, and impact both males and females and may include specific sub-activities targeted at males. For example, while the Communities for Children initiative targets the whole community, when a need is identified, specific strategies focus on particular target groups such as Aboriginal fathers.

71. In a targeted manner, the Department of Veterans' Affairs delivers Men's Health Peer Education with the specific aim of raising awareness about men's health issues by encouraging all members of the veteran and ex-service community to share the responsibility for managing their own health and well-being.

72. The Australian Government will continue to address the interconnectedness of male health issues through activities under the National Male Health Policy and more broadly.

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government investigate standardised service models for mental health to facilitate a uniform standard of care throughout Australia.

Response

73. The Fourth National Mental Health Plan - An agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014 (the Fourth Plan), endorsed by all Health Ministers in September 2009, identifies for action the development of a national service planning framework that establishes targets for the mix and level for the full range of mental health services.

74. The development of the national service planning framework will draw upon established models of mental health service planning that have been developed using Australian epidemiological data as a foundation. This will enable a nationally agreed population- based model that will inform governments and service coordinators how to best meet the mental health service needs of their populations, including the necessary resources.

75. The revised National Standards for Mental Health Services (the Standards) were endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers' Conference in September 2010. The Standards provide a blueprint for new and existing services to guide quality improvement and service enhancement activities. Consumers and carers are able to use the Standards as a checklist for service quality and as a guide about what to expect from mental health services.

76. There is a strong values base in the Standards relating to human rights, dignity and privacy which has been guided by the principles contained in the National Mental Health Policy 2008, the United Nations' Principles on the Protection of People with a Mental Illness and the Australian Health Ministers' Mental Health Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

77. The Fourth Plan also commits governments to better target services and address service gaps through cooperative and innovative service models for the delivery of primary mental health care. Through the Fourth Plan governments are also committed to a review of the Mental Health Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and ensuring accreditation and reporting systems in health and community sectors incorporate the Standards.

78. The National Suicide Prevention Program (the Program) promotes suicide prevention activities across the Australian population, as well as for specific at-risk groups, such as young males. The Program has men as a priority target group for funding and 13.6% of the national Suicide Prevention Program has been committed to target this priority group specifically form 2011-12 to 2012-13.

79. Recognising the social determinants that increase the risk of suicidality for men, and that men are least likely to seek help, the Government is providing $23.2 million over four year to provide more support and services for men as part of the Mental health: Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package. These measures will increase the capacity of the beyondblue helpline to assist up to 30,000 more each year, expand the beyondblue National Workplace Program to increase coverage to specific sectors and to subsidise participation by small businesses, and deliver targeted awareness campaigns to encourage men in high risk groups to seek assistance for depression and mental illness. A National Stigma Summit, held in October 2011, brought together leading experts in research, media, consumer and carers to assist in the development of these targeted awareness campaigns.

80. Further investment of $22.6 million is also being provided through other elements of the Mental health: Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package for community prevention activities for high risk groups, including men.

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government ensure that the Australian Prostate Cancer BioResource is provided with sustainable funding at a level that would enable it to complete its tissue collection and carry out the necessary work in support of prostate cancer research outlined in chapter 4.

Response

81. The Australian Government recognises the importance of strategies that aim to prevent conditions that have adverse impacts on male health, including prostate cancer. The Australian Government is committed to supporting research into the causes, diagnosis, and effective treatment of prostate cancer, and to providing quality care and support for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, and their families and carers.

82. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will provide close to $5 million from 2004 to 2015 to the Australian Prostate Cancer BioResource through the nationally competitive Enabling Grants Scheme.

83. The Australian Prostate Cancer BioResource facility was reviewed by the NHMRC in 2009 and it was agreed to extend funding to early 2015 in recognition that prostate cancer was a National Health Priority Area, and that the facility was operating at a high international standard with strong in-kind support from its host institutions.

84. In addition, the 2008-09 Budget committed $15 million over five years from 2008-09 for the establishment of two dedicated prostate cancer research centres, located in Victoria and Queensland, to develop improved diagnostic tests, screening tools and treatments for prostate cancer. The establishment of the dedicated prostate cancer research centres aims to enhance collaboration, boost research efforts in the field, and encourage additional, complementary research groups to focus on this disease.

Recommendation 12

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government provide funding to the Prostate Cancer Foundation to ensure that the Prostate Cancer Information Pack program proceeds.

Response

85. The Australian Government remains committed to ensuring the availability of quality information for people diagnosed with cancer. The Australian Government acknowledges the valuable work undertaken by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) in supporting men with prostate cancer, including the piloting of a National Prostate Cancer Information Pack.

86. The Australian Government, through Cancer Australia, is providing a total of $3.97 million over 3 years, to 30 June 2014, to the PCFA to develop resources for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, their families and carers, and for the establishment of up to 90 peer support groups for men with prostate cancer, particularly in rural and regional Australia.

87. Through Cancer Australia, the Australian Government is also working to improve the coordination and quality of cancer care nationally. A total of $4.4 million is being provided, to 30 June 2013, to fund a range of organisations through the Building Cancer Support Networks Grants program (the Program). To date 66 projects have been funded under the Program. Through the Program, Cancer Australia works with the community and organisational partners to identify and respond to the support needs of people affected by cancer, in order to facilitate increased access to cancer support in each State and Territory.

88. Under Round 1 of the Program, PCFA was funded to provide information and increase support to existing groups, and to establish new groups in Queensland, Northern New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Funding was also provided to the Association of Prostate Cancer Support Groups South Australia, to provide support and information to patients and their families and carers. Under Round 4 of the program, Cancer Australia is partnering with the PCFA to fund a range of face-to-face and online training to be delivered to prostate cancer support group conveners and peer group facilitators.

Recommendation 13

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government expedite funding for the provision of specialist prostate cancer nurses, particularly in rural and regional Australia.

Response

89. The Australian Government funds the Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme to assist students to enter the workforce, nurses to re-enter the nursing workforce and existing students to up-skill or undertake other continuing professional development in many areas, which may include prostate cancer. This assistance includes scholarships for nurses to undertake study/professional development and while these programs are not aimed at men's health directly, increasing the capacity of the health workforce will benefit the overall population.

90. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is piloting the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Program. Under this national 3-year pilot program selected area health services will host a cancer specialist nurse. The PCFA will evaluate the pilot and bring the results of the evaluation to the Australian Government for consideration.

91. A wide range of primary and allied health care services are provided to rural and remote areas through a variety of programs. The Rural Primary Health Services (RPHS) program funds a range of organisations - State and local government entities, Aboriginal Medical Services, Medicare Locals and other non-government organisations to provide additional primary and allied health care services in rural and remote communities. The actual service delivered, including mental health, community nursing, nursing in a specialist role, podiatry, physiotherapy, community health education and promotion services, depend on identified needs of the target communities. Service providers are able to determine which mix of services and health professionals best suit the needs of their communities and the availability of health professionals.

92. The program is directed at rural populations located in Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) categories 2 (Inner Regional) to 5 (Very Remote) with priority given to small rural communities and communities located in ASGC-RA 3 to 5.

93. The Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (MSOAP) was established in 2000 to improve the access of rural and remote communities to medical specialist outreach services. MSOAP aims to complement medical specialist services provided by the State and Northern Territory governments and private providers by encouraging specialists to deliver outreach services to targeted areas of need in rural and remote Australia. This is achieved by meeting costs associated with delivering outreach services such as travel, accommodation and venue hire.

94. MSOAP service delivery is determined in consultation with an Advisory Forum in each jurisdiction to ensure that specialist services are directed towards the priority health needs of local communities. MSOAP has been highly effective in increasing access to medical specialists' services for people living and working in rural and remote Australia. Over 100 speciality disciplines and sub-specialities are supported under MSOAP, including oncology specialist services, which specifically relates to men's health. In the current year MSOAP plans to deliver 24 surgical urology services and 10 oncology services in regional and remote locations throughout Australia.

95. The Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program - Indigenous Chronic Disease (MSOAP- ICD) aims to increase access to a range of health services provided to people in rural and remote Indigenous communities for the treatment and management of chronic disease. The focus of the program is on the provision of services by multidisciplinary teams, which may include specialist nurses.

96. The program commenced in April 2010 as part of the Australian Government's contribution to the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes.

Attachments A & B

The National Male Health Policy 2010 and supporting documents is available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/male-policy

Hard copies of the publications can be obtained by contacting National Mailing and Marketing on:

Phone: (02) 6269 1000

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