- The Department is continuing to focus its efforts on future policy developments in workplace relations and work health and safety, including assisting the Government in further developing its response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption and progressing reforms to the Comcare Scheme legislation.
- It will continue to provide financial assistance to retrenched workers under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee—including developing response strategies in periods of peak demand, such as a major corporate collapse or industry transition.
- The Department will continue recovery actions under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program, which is an ongoing program from 1 January 2017. Such actions aim to increase the amount available for distribution following the liquidation of employers and reduce the overall cost of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee.
- The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner will continue to promote awareness of the Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme and help more businesses gain and maintain the safety standards required for accreditation under the scheme. This will be supported through the public launch of the Agency Reporting Online database under development in 2016–17 and organising industry ‘road shows’ and other engagement activities.
- The Department will continue to research the effects of new technology, economic shifts and emerging business models and develop policy responses on the future of work.
- The Department will progress work on a data management strategy, which will position us to progress the Government’s Public Sector Data Agenda and any actions arising from the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Data Availability and Use.
- A number of projects will be progressed over the coming year under the Department’s forward research agenda. These include research into ways to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation outcomes, as well as employment supports for pre-release prisoners, migrant workers, Indigenous people and workers affected by the closure of the Australian automotive industry.
The Department will continue to work collaboratively with other agencies to provide to government policy advice on reviews of migration policy programs. It will also work with other government agencies to ensure that there is a fair workplace relations and workplace health and safety system, with a focus on temporary visa holders with a work right; this includes tackling workplace exploitation.
The Graduate Innovation Shark Tank: a case study
In 2016–17 the Department’s graduates embraced our Innovation Framework and made use of our innovation tools to create and present ideas to the Executive in our Shark Tank. Four teams of graduates presented their ideas during the Shark Tank event, held as part of Innovation Month 2016.
The Shark Tank offers our graduates a great opportunity to learn more about the Department and the practical application of its innovation process and tools. This experience is something the graduates can take back to their work area and build into work practices and other projects.
Two teams’ ‘pitches’ were approved to progress to the next stage of development. This approach is all part of our innovation process—putting ideas into practice. Once ideas are generated, they are quickly tested, trialled and prototyped, with feedback sought at each stage before progressing to the next stage of development.
One idea, implemented in June 2017, involves an innovative solution to enhancing the search function in the corporate directory. The Find and Connect Working Group created a ‘Team Keywords’ search function in the directory, allowing staff to easily find and connect with the team that is best placed to assist them. By searching for keywords that match a team’s description of their work, staff can better inform themselves about each team’s responsibilities; this then supports people in making better informed choices about which team to contact when seeking assistance.
The Working Group has worked with the IT Services Branch to incorporate the Team Keywords search function in the corporate directory as part of the launch of the Department’s new intranet.