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Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Introduction and overview

2. About Us

The Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio, in accordance with its three published outcome statements, contributes to the wellbeing of all Australians by assisting the Government to provide, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure across industry sectors, by fostering an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system, and by assisting regions and local government to develop and manage their futures.

Prior to the change of government in November 2007, the Department was known as the Department of Transport and Regional Services. In accordance with the priorities of the new government, the Department transferred responsibility for services to territories and natural disaster relief functions and associated administrative programs to the Attorney-General's Department and gained responsibility for major projects facilitation from the former Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. The Department also assumed responsibility for the new role of infrastructure planning and coordination. As a consequence, the Department now has a new outcome that addresses Infrastructure, and a revised set of outputs. Refer Appendix L which shows the Department's current and previous outcome and output structures.

Our Minister and Parliamentary Secretary

The Department is accountable to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia.

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP and the Hon Gary Gray AO MP were respectively appointed as Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia on 3 December 2007. During 2007 until the change of government, the Hon Mark Vaile MP was the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon Jim Lloyd MP was the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads and the Hon De-Anne Kelly MP was the Parliamentary Secretary.

About the portfolio

This annual report focuses on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. Information about other portfolio agencies can be obtained from their annual reports and websites. The main Commonwealth authorities and statutory advisory bodies in the portfolio as at 30 June 2008 are:

Other bodies and corporations in the portfolio include:

Three portfolio agencies, including the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, belong to the general government sector. Figure 2.1 illustrates how these agencies contribute to portfolio outcomes. A complete list of portfolio bodies, including agencies which are outside the general government sector, appear at Appendix J.

The major changes to the structure of the portfolio during 2007-08, aside from the restructuring and renaming of the Department, was the transfer of the National Captital Authority to the Attorney-General's portfolio following the Administrative Arrangements Order on 3 December 2008, and the establishment of the statutory advisory council Infrastructure Australia.

Figure 2.1 Relationship of portfolio agencies in the general government sector, as at 30 June 2008

Figure 2.1	Relationship of portfolio agencies in the general government sector, as at 30 June 2008

Notes: The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government also includes the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

General government-sector agencies provide public services that are mainly non-market in nature, are mainly for the collective consumption of the community, involve the transfer or redistribution of income or are financed mainly through taxes and other compulsory levies. For more information about this classification, which reflects standards issued by the International Monetary Fund, see the Australian Bureau of Statistics publication Australian system of government finance statistics: concepts, sources and methods, 2003 (Cat. No. 5514.0.55.001), available at www.abs.gov.au.

About the department

Who we are

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government provides a range of infrastructure, transport, regional and local government services and information to, and in partnership with, government, industry and the broader community.

The Department operates under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

What we do

We contribute to the wellbeing of all Australians through our three outcomes by:

  • assisting the Government to provide, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure across industry sectors;
  • fostering an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system; and
  • assisting regions and local government to develop and manage their futures.

How we make a difference

The services and funding provided by the Australian Government through the Department affect every Australian household. Our work bears on decisions on infrastructure investment, the quality of our roads, the efficiency, safety and security of our transport systems, and our access to goods and services from interstate and overseas.

The Department administers approximately $5.2 billion a year across a number of major business lines, as illustrated in Figure 2.2, noting that the Corporate Services Division and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics provide vital support to business divisions by delivering essential research and business services for all outputs. For more information about the results we have achieved in each area, see our report on performance (chapters 3, 4 and 5).

Changes in the organisation since the last report

Following the change of government in November 2007, the Department was reorganised to reflect the priorities of the new government. Additionally the Department transferred responsibility for the services to territories and natural disaster relief functions (the previous Outputs 2.2.1 and 2.2.3) and associated administered programs to the Attorney-General's Department. A revised outcome and output structure, which formalised these priorities, and included a new outcome focused on infrastructure, was published in the 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS).

The Financial Statements section of this report reflects the outcome and output structure that was published in the 2007-08 budget documents (PBS, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements [PAES] and Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates Statements [PSAES]). However, for consistency with the restructured organisation and the focus of the Department's work for the second half of 2007-08, the performance chapters of this report reflect the revised outcome and output structure as published in the 2008-09 PBS, with cross-references as necessary to the previous outcome and output structure (refer Figures 3.1, 4.1 and 5.1). Appendix L shows both the previous and current outcome and output structures, while Appendix M shows total resourcing by outcome and output mapped against both the current and previous outcome and output structures.

Figure 2.2 shows the alignment of our organisational structure with our Outcomes and Outputs. Figure 2.3 details our current organisational structure and the senior staff responsible for each area at 30 June 2008.

Figure 2.2 Current departmental outcome and output structure

Figure 2.2 Current departmental outcome and output structure

Figure 2.3 Organisational structure as at 30 June 2008

Thumbnail of Figure 2.3 Organisational structure as at 30 June 2008

(Click on the image to view the larger version)

Meet our executive team

Michael Taylor Michael Taylor AO
Secretary

Michael Taylor leads and manages departmental staff in their policy development, regulatory and program implementation work. He has specific responsibilities as Secretary, many of which are set out in legislation. Mr Taylor also chairs the National Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Development.
Susan Page Susan Page
Deputy Secretary

Susan Page is responsible for infrastructure investment, local government and regional development, and international and multilateral forums, such as those of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and chairs the Strategic Information Technology and Departmental Security committees.
Andrew Tongue Andrew Tongue
Deputy Secretary

Andrew Tongue oversees transport security investigation and safety issues including security regulation of the aviation and maritime sectors. He represents the Department on the National Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Australian Government Counter-Terrorism Policy Committee, and chairs the Transport Security Working Group with the states and territories and the Department's People Management and Audit committees, and the Departmental Consultative Committee.
Mike Mrdak Mike Mrdak
Deputy Secretary

Until his transfer to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 25 March 2008, Mike Mrdak was responsible for transport and climate change policy and research, along with aviation, airports, maritime and land transport. He also chaired the Department's Audit and People Management committees.

Our governance arrangements

How we do business

The Department employs 1,247 people who are located throughout Australia. In accordance with our Client Service Charter, we aspire to be:

  • results oriented;
  • honest, professional and accountable;
  • client and stakeholder focused;
  • committed to improving our skills; and
  • diverse, trusting and respectful of each other.

Governance framework and senior management committees

During 2007-08, senior management committees provided leadership in and coordination of the maintenance of sound governance standards in the Department. Supporting the Secretary in his role as agency head and decision maker, senior management committees focused on:

  • managing the Department efficiently, effectively and in accordance with Australian Public Service legislative requirements;
  • ensuring the Department's outputs were of a high quality, were timely and contributed to the achievement of the Australian Government's desired outcomes; and
  • supporting the Department to meet its obligation to be open and accountable to its stakeholders.

There are four high-level departmental groups which meet regularly and assist the Secretary and senior management in the organisation's decision-making process. These are the:

  • Secretary's Business Meeting;
  • Executive Management Team;
  • Senior Executive Service (SES) Management Team; and
  • SES Strategic Planning Forum.

There are also six supporting committees that focus on specific areas of organisational management and decision making. These are the:

  • Audit Committee;
  • Strategic IT Committee;
  • Departmental Consultative Committee;
  • Departmental Security Committee;
  • People Management Committee; and
  • Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

Additionally, a Financial Statements Sub-Committee of the Audit Committee meets to support the financial statements activity.

Figure 2.4 Governance committee framework in place during 2007-08

Figure 2.4 Governance committee framework in place during 2007-08

The most senior of the Department's committees is the Secretary's Business Meeting, comprised of the Secretary, Deputy Secretaries and the Chief Operating Officer. The meeting is held weekly to consider high-level policy and departmental resourcing and operational matters.

The Executive Management Team, which also meets weekly, is the key information-sharing forum. The team consists of the Secretary, Deputy Secretaries, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Directors (heads of the Department's nine business divisions). Other employees, including the Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Chief Information Officer, General Manager People and Planning, Director Communication Services, Director Ministerial and Parliamentary Services, and Director Governance Centre attend meetings in an advisory capacity. The Executive Management Team meets to:

  • receive briefings from Executive Directors on key issues for each business division;
  • consider proposals and receive updates on issues relevant to all areas of the Department, such as financial and human resource management;
  • receive advice from the Secretary's Business Meeting; and
  • provide the Secretary with an opportunity to communicate key messages to Executive Directors.

All Senior Executive Service employees are required to demonstrate leadership in departmental governance and planning through participation in quarterly strategic planning forums and monthly Senior Executive Service Management Team (SESMT) meetings.

Audit Committee

The objective of the Committee is to provide independent assurance and assistance to the Secretary on the Department's risk, control and compliance framework, and its external accountability responsibilities.

In accordance with its charter, the Audit Committee:

  • monitors the Department's risk management framework;
  • endorses the internal audit work program and monitors its implementation;
  • provides a forum for the Department and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to exchange views on external audit findings and associated recommendations;
  • oversees preparation of the Department's financial statements in conjunction with the Financial Statements Sub-Committee.

During 2007-08, the role of Chair of the Audit Committee changed from Deputy Secretary Mike Mrdak, who transferred from the Department in March 2008, to Deputy Secretary Andrew Tongue. Another change to the membership of the committee reflected the retirement of Jeremy Chandler as Chief Operating Officer and the subsequent appointment of David Banham in this role. Other members of the Committee include one Executive Director of the Department and three independent members (see Table 2.1).

Table 2.1 Audit Committee membership and meetings to 30 June 2008

Member Role Number of
meetings held
Number of
meetings attended
Mike Mrdak
(to 23 March 2008)
Chair 6 5
Andrew Tongue
(from 24 March 2008)
Chair 6 1
Leslie Riggs Member 6 5
Jeremy Chandler
(to 21 December 2007)
Member 6 3
David Banham
(from 22 December 2007)
Member 6 2
Johanna Barker Independent 6 6
Jenny Morison Independent 6 6
Paul McGrath Independent 6 6

The Audit Committee has a Financial Statements Sub-Committee whose primary role is to oversee financial statements reporting and processes on behalf of the Audit Committee. The committee membership consists of two independent members of the Audit Committee (one as chair), the Chief Financial Officer and one General Manager. Several other observers contribute to the sub-committee meetings, including representatives from the ANAO, the Governance Centre and various members of the Financial Services Branch.

Other committees

The following is a brief description of the roles of the other committees that underpin governance in the Department.

  • The Strategic Information Technology Committee develops a common vision for the Department's information technology requirements; determines the Department's data requirements and data collection priorities; and recommends information technology funding priorities to the Secretary within the budget allocated by the Executive.
  • The Departmental Consultative Committee provides a forum for consultation on matters arising out of the operation and implementation and ongoing application of the Department's Collective Agreement 2006-09.
  • The Departmental Security Committee provides a mechanism for an integrated agency approach to protective security and compliance with the Australian Government Protective Security Manual.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Committee considers occupational health and safety strategy, policy and performance matters with the aim of continually improving the Department's health and safety environment.
  • The People Management Committee considers high-level strategic people management issues and directions for the Department.

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