Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 2008 Statutory Obligations

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 equity and diversity program. The Equity and Diversity Annual Report 2007 was tabled on 19 September 2007.

The Reserve Bank's program aims to ensure that all staff are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace and experience equal opportunity throughout their careers with the Bank. Much of the focus in 2007/08 was on information accessibility, with new initiatives including the purchase of an online accessibility training package, demonstrations of the various accessibility tools that are available and a workshop for non-managerial staff. The Bank introduced more flexible leave arrangements for staff on individual contracts in order to assist them in balancing responsibilities at work and at home. The Bank's Equity & Diversity Policy Committee also focused on streamlining the committee framework and improving the statistics on equity and diversity in the workplace, with a view to identifying issues and priorities more effectively.

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 Bank.

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, which aims to ensure that its workplaces are free from work-related death, injury and disease. During 2007/08, the Bank focused on introducing suitable health and safety arrangements at its business resumption site and on the prevention of ergonomic, manual handling and lunch-time sport injuries. During the year, there were 11 claims for workers’ compensation, compared with 24 in the previous financial year; two incidents required notification to Comcare. The Bank also expanded its suite of wellbeing programs to include Bank-wide health initiatives (such as the 10,000 Steps Program) and seminars on health topics.

In accordance with changes to the OH&S Act, the Reserve Bank reconstituted its OH&S Committee to include employee representatives. Changes to the Reserve Bank's Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMAs) were also required, including increased consultation with staff. The changes to the HSMAs, along with a revised Health & Safety Business Plan (2008–2012), will be implemented by September 2008.

The Reserve Bank has a strong track record in all aspects of occupational health and safety, as confirmed by external audits during the year. The audits in each of the three functions of OH&S, claims management and rehabilitation found the Bank to be materially compliant with the relevant legislation and the Bank's Conditions of Licence, with high achievement in each function. In recognition of this strong performance, the Bank has now been granted Tier Three status in each of these functions, the highest status achievable.

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 108 and 109.

Categories of documents: The Reserve Bank publishes speeches, reports, articles, occasional papers, conference volumes, information booklets, minutes of the monetary policy meetings of the Reserve Bank Board, media releases, statistical data and various other documents. These are available on the Reserve Bank's website (, which also provides other information about the Bank. The Reserve Bank publishes a monthly Bulletin, which includes speeches, reports, media releases, statistical data and other items. Other documents are held in the form of working notes and files covering policy and operational matters, statistical data, staff, 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

Ten requests for access to documents under the FOI Act were received in 2007/08. Access was granted in full on three requests and in part on one request, while access was denied on two requests. No relevant documents were found in response to two requests. Two requests, which were received late in the financial year, were still in progress at the end of June 2008.

The estimated number of staff hours spent dealing with all aspects of FOI requests in 2007/08 was around 100 hours. The total cost to the Reserve Bank of administering the FOI Act in 2007/08 is estimated to have been about $28,660. Application fees of $270 were collected; charges of around $100 were levied.