Portfolio overview

Our ministers

At 30 June 2014 the minister and assistant minister responsible for the employment portfolio were:

  • Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment
  • the Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MP, Assistant Minister for Employment.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Attorney- General Senator George Brandis and Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz at the announcement of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Attorney- General Senator George Brandis and Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz at the announcement of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Minister for Employment Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz addresses departmental employees

Minister for Employment Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz addresses departmental employees.

Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, and Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson at the launch of the new helpline for small business cutting a cake together

Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, and Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson at the launch of the new helpline for small business.

Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz and Secretary for the Department of Employment, Renée Leon

Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz and Secretary for the Department of Employment, Renée Leon.

Portfolio agencies

The employment portfolio encompasses the department and the following agencies and statutory authorities.

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Chief Executive Officer: Peter Tighe

Outcome: Assist in the prevention of exposure to asbestos fibres and the elimination of asbestos-related disease in Australia through implementing the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management in Australia.

Comcare, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, and the Seafarers’ Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority

Chief Executive Officer: Paul O’Connor

Outcome 1: The protection of the health, safety and welfare at work of workers covered by the Comcare scheme through education, assurance and enforcement.

Outcome 2: An early and safe return to work and access to compensation for injured workers covered by the Comcare scheme through working in partnership with employers to create best practice in rehabilitation and quick and accurate management of workers’ compensation claims.

Outcome 3: Access to compensation for people with asbestos-related diseases where the Commonwealth has a liability, through management of claims.

Fair Work Commission

General Manager: Bernadette O’Neil

Outcome: Simple, fair and flexible workplace relations for employees and employers through the exercise of powers to set and vary minimum  wages and modern staff awards, facilitate collective bargaining, approve agreements and deal with disputes.

Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate

Director: Nigel Hadgkiss

Outcome:  Enforce workplace relations laws in the building and construction industry and ensure compliance with those laws by all participants in the building and construction industry through the provision of education, assistance and advice.

Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman

Ombudsman: Natalie James

Outcome: Compliance with workplace relations legislation by employees and employers through advice, education and, where necessary, enforcement.

Safe Work Australia

Acting Chief Executive Officer: Michelle Baxter

Outcome: Healthier, safer and more productive workplaces through improvements to Australian work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Director: Helen Conway

Outcome: Promote and improve gender equality in Australian workplaces including the provision of advice and assistance to employers and the assessment and measurement of workplace gender data.