Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 2017 Statutory Reporting Requirements

The Reserve Bank has a number of statutory reporting requirements that extend beyond its policy objectives and cover areas such as equal employment opportunity, work health and safety and freedom of information requests submitted to the Bank. In 2016/17, the Bank's Diversity and Inclusion Program continued to focus on gender diversity, the Bank's culture of inclusiveness and flexible work practices, with a range of employee resource groups established to support these aims.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Reserve Bank is strongly committed to ensuring that all employees are treated with respect and dignity, and experience equal opportunity throughout their careers with the Bank. This commitment is underpinned by a strong emphasis on embedding the Bank's values across all organisational practices and through its Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The Bank's policies and procedures seek to embed equity, diversity and inclusion principles in work practices. Its People and Culture Strategy and Diversity and Inclusion Plan outline key initiatives and priorities and are discussed further in the chapter on ‘Our People’. A major focus in 2016/17 was the establishment of six Employee Resource Groups, which involve over 130 employees working together on issues related to accessibility, flexibility, gender equity, Indigenous Australians, LGBTI, and race and cultural identity.

The Diversity and Inclusion program is governed by the Executive Committee, in consultation with the recently formed Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is responsible for monitoring the development and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives, policies and practices in the Reserve Bank. Full details and outcomes of the 2016/17 Diversity and Inclusion Program are provided in the Bank's Equity & Diversity Annual Report 2017, which will be tabled in the Parliament in accordance with the requirement under the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987. The Equity & Diversity Annual Report 2016, which reported on the Bank's diversity profile and progress on the diversity program, was tabled in the Parliament on 13 October 2016.

Work Health and Safety, Compensation and Rehabilitation

The Reserve Bank is strongly committed to maintaining and improving the safety, health and wellbeing of its employees and workers

The Reserve Bank is strongly committed to maintaining and improving the safety, health and wellbeing of its employees and workers. The Bank fosters a safety culture that focuses on the Bank's work health and safety (WHS) risk profile through preventative and proactive due diligence and practices. The Reserve Bank Board and the Bank's executive management receive regular reports on WHS matters to assist them in exercising their duty of care towards their workers.

During the year in review, a project on the Reserve Bank's WHS framework review was completed. This resulted in the development of some streamlined WHS management practices that are commensurate with the WHS risks the Bank faces. The Bank also developed a mental health strategy to support the prevention of workplace mental health issues, and provided ongoing training to management, workers and health and safety representatives on contemporary WHS matters.

The Reserve Bank implemented initiatives through the Health & Wellbeing Program to maximise the physical and psychological health of employees through promotion of positive health outcomes and prevention of potential health risks, including:

  • physical health activities, such as fitness classes at Head Office, an annual health challenge, influenza vaccinations and health checks for senior managers and executives
  • mental health initiatives, such as mental health and resilience training, access to the Bank's Employee Assistance Program and seminars on topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

There were 90 reported WHS incidents between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. This was twice as many incidents as in the previous year, partly reflecting an expansion of the definition of what constitutes a reportable incident to include lift, security, fleet vehicle and visitor incidents, as well as an apparent increase in rates of reporting. Around 11 per cent of the incidents were sporting injuries sustained during breaks. There were six reported incidents that required notification to Comcare, a similar number as in the previous year. Accepted workers compensation claims remained low at three in 2016/17, with two relating to occupational overuse injuries and one involving a sporting injury sustained during a break. Overall, the Reserve Bank's Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (number of lost time injuries per million hours worked) for 2016/17 was 0.9, compared with 1.0 in 2015/16, and consistent with the banking industry average. Six internal investigations relating to WHS matters were conducted by the Bank in 2016/17. No investigations were conducted by Comcare during 2016/17 that related to businesses or undertakings conducted by the Bank, and no improvement, prohibition or non-disturbance notices were issued to the Bank by Comcare under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

In terms of the WHS Act and the conditions of the Reserve Bank's licence as a Licensed Authority under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the Bank is required to report to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission each year on WHS and workers' compensation and rehabilitation matters as they affect the Bank. Compliance with the relevant legislation – and the conditions of the Bank's licence as a Licensed Authority – was validated during the period by external audits of the Bank's safety, compensation and rehabilitation arrangements. The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission subsequently confirmed that the Bank retained the highest rating (Tier 3) for its prevention, claims management and rehabilitation practices in each area for 2017/18.

Summary of Notifiable Incidents, Investigations and Notices under the WHS Act
Action 2016/17 2015/16
Death of a person that required notice to Comcare under section 35 0 0
Serious injury or illness of a person that required notice to Comcare under section 35 1 2
Dangerous incident that required notice to Comcare under section 35 5 3
Internal Investigations conducted 6 1
Investigations conducted under Part 10 0 0
Notices given to RBA under section 90 (provisional improvement notices) 0 0
Notices given to RBA under section 191 (improvement notices) 0 0
Notices given to RBA under section 195 (prohibition notices) 0 0
Directions given to RBA under section 198 (non-disturbance notices) 0 0

Source: RBA

During the year, the Reserve Bank applied to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission to vary its licence to permit the Bank to outsource its management of workers' compensation claims to the Australian Postal Corporation. This application was made because of the inherent difficulty and costs of maintaining sufficient capability to deal with (particularly complex) claims when the overall claims volume is low. The variation application was approved on 14 June 2017 and the Australian Postal Corporation is undertaking the role of managing workers' compensation claims on behalf of the Bank. The Bank nevertheless retains responsibility for workers' compensation under its licence.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Reserve Bank is an Australian Government agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). As required by Part II of the FOI Act, the Bank publishes information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). Details of the Bank's obligations under the FOI Act and the IPS can be found on the Bank's website at

Seventeen requests for access to documents under the FOI Act were received in 2016/17. Access was granted in full in relation to one request and in part in relation to five requests. No relevant documents were found in response to five requests. Access to documents was denied in response to one request and two requests were withdrawn. Three requests were outstanding at the end of the financial year. Information that was released in response to FOI access requests was published on the Reserve Bank's website, as required by the FOI Act, with RSS feeds to these releases also available.

Three applications were received for the internal review of FOI decisions made by the Reserve Bank in 2016/17. As required by the FOI Act, a fresh decision was taken in each instance, with the original decision being affirmed in the case of two applications and varied (with increased access) in the case of one application.

The estimated amount of staff time spent dealing with all aspects of FOI requests in 2016/17 was around 196 hours, compared with around 233 hours in 2015/16. The total cost to the Reserve Bank of administering the FOI Act in 2016/17 is estimated to have been about $61,200, compared with $59,900 in the previous year. No processing charges were levied in 2016/17 (no charges were received in 2015/16).

Ministerial Directions

The Reserve Bank received no new directions from its responsible Minister (the Treasurer) or from any other Minister during 2016/17.

No government policy orders under section 22 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) were applied in relation to the Reserve Bank during 2016/17.

No issues relating to non-compliance by the Reserve Bank with finance law were reported to the Bank's responsible Minister (the Treasurer) under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act.

As one of the corporate Commonwealth entities ‘prescribed’ under section 30 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014, the Reserve Bank continues to be required to apply the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) when performing duties relating to certain procurements.

The CPRs apply to the Reserve Bank whenever it undertakes a procurement where the expected value of the property or service being procured exceeds $400,000 for non-construction services or $7.5 million for construction services. For purchases of lower value, the Bank uses detailed guidelines based on the principles contained in the CPRs. The broad objective is to ensure that all goods and services procured by the Bank support its policy and operational responsibilities in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Other Statutory Reporting Obligations

There were no significant activities or changes affecting the operations or structure of the Reserve Bank in 2016/17.

There were no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals made during 2016/17 that have had, or may have, a significant effect on the operations of the Reserve Bank.

Other statutory reporting obligations applying to the Reserve Bank that are covered elsewhere in this report are identified in the ‘Statutory Reporting Requirements Index’ on pages 189–190.