Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 2007
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
As required under the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987, the Reserve Bank reports to the Australian Parliament each year on its EEO Program. The Equity & Diversity Report 2006 was tabled on 10 October 2006 and incorporated initiatives for staff with disabilities consistent with the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.
A prime focus of the EEO Program in 2006 was an Assistive Technology Survey, the purpose of which was to investigate whether staff with disabilities would benefit from using any assistive software, electro‑mechanical, electronic, computer or other device to help them carry out their work. The Reserve Bank’s System Accessibility Technical Group established a facility to test a range of technologies that might assist staff who have a permanent or temporary disability. The responses from the survey were used to help select the technologies to be installed in the test facility.
Health and Safety, Compensation and Rehabilitation
The Reserve Bank is required, in terms of section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OH&S Act) and the conditions of its licence as a Licensed Authority under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, to report each year on matters of health and safety, workers’ compensation and rehabilitation as they affect the Reserve Bank.
The Reserve Bank’s licence to self-insure and manage claims for workers’ compensation, which was due to expire on 30 June 2007, was extended by the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission on 25 June for a four-year term until 30 June 2011. The Bank also renewed, for a similar term, its Agreement with Australia Post to undertake reconsiderations of determinations issued by Reserve Bank delegates.
The Reserve Bank is committed to the health and safety of its staff, contractors and visitors. It has a comprehensive OH&S Management System developed in consultation with staff and unions, which aims to ensure that its workplaces are free from work-related death, injury and disease. During 2006/07, prevention remained a key focus and included initiatives to improve the capacity of all staff to effectively manage OH&S, expand the Bank’s suite of well‑being programs and develop critical-incident training for higher-risk groups. Preparations were also underway to implement recent changes to the OH&S Act for more direct staff consultation/representation arrangements on OH&S matters. Seventy-two incidents were reported during the period, which resulted in 24 claims for workers’ compensation: 67 per cent of these occurred away from the workplace. There were no dangerous occurrences requiring notification to Comcare.
The Reserve Bank has a strong performance record, confirmed by external audits during the year in each of the three functions of OH&S, Claims Management and Rehabilitation. The audits found the Bank to be materially compliant with relevant legislation and its Conditions of Licence, with high achievement in each function. The Bank has set further targets for 2007/08 progressively to reduce the potential for work-related injuries and disease.
Freedom of Information
Section 8 statement
Organisation and functions: The Reserve Bank is Australia’s central bank. It was established by Commonwealth legislation in 1911. Its functions, powers and responsibilities are specified in the Reserve Bank Act 1959, the Banking Act 1959, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998, the Payment Systems and Netting Act 1998, the Corporations Act 2001 and the Financial Services Reform Act 2001, and in Regulations made under those Acts. An overview of the structure of the Reserve Bank is provided in the organisational chart, which appears on pages 104 and 105.
Categories of documents: Lists of publications, including speeches, articles, occasional papers, information booklets, conference volumes, regular media releases and other publications are published from time to time in the Reserve Bank Bulletin. These publications, as well as other information about the Bank, are also available on the Reserve Bank’s website (www.rba.gov.au). Other documents are held in the form of working notes and files covering policy and operational matters, statistical data, personnel, premises and general administration.
The right of access to documents in the possession of Australian Government agencies in terms of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) applies to the Reserve Bank. However, the Bank is an exempt agency under the FOI Act in respect of documents concerning banking operations (including individual open market operations and foreign exchange dealings) and exchange control matters.
Facilities for access and Freedom of Information procedures: Enquiries under the FOI Act, including requests for access to documents, should be directed to the Secretary of the Reserve Bank. Applications should be accompanied by the application fee (currently $30). Facilities to inspect documents to which access has been granted are available.
Section 93 statement
Four requests for access to documents under the FOI Act were received in 2006/07. Access was granted on three requests, while access was denied on one request.
The estimated number of staff hours spent dealing with all aspects of FOI requests in 2006/07 was around 26 hours. The total cost to the Reserve Bank of administering the FOI Act in 2006/07 is estimated to have been about $6,400. Application fees of $90 were collected; there were no other charges.