Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 2018 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.

Equal Employment Opportunity

the Bank is committed to increasing the representation of women in management positions

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’. During 2017/18, work was conducted to understand whether there are any systematic differences in the salaries of men and women at the Bank, as well as the factors that might account for any of these differences. The analysis showed that, while there were no systematic differences, there was evidence of a 17 per cent difference between the average salaries of males and females. This is largely due to the higher proportion of men in more senior positions. Differences in less senior roles are due to factors such as tenure, education and the types of positions in which men and women are employed. The review reinforces the importance of the Bank's commitment towards increasing the representation of women in management positions, as well as its continued focus on talent management and succession planning. There are plans to conduct ongoing reviews to monitor progress towards addressing these gender pay gaps.

the Bank's Health & Wellbeing Program aims to maximise the physical and psychological health of employees

The Reserve Bank's Diversity and Inclusion Program is overseen by the Executive Committee, in consultation with the Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is responsible for monitoring the development and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives, policies and practices in the Bank. Full details and outcomes of the 2017/18 Diversity and Inclusion Program are provided in the Bank's Equity & Diversity Annual Report 2018, 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 2017, which reported on the Bank's diversity profile and progress on the diversity program in 2016/17, was tabled in the Parliament on 14 September 2017.

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 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.

During the year in review, the Bank continued to focus on workplace mental health issues, following the development of its mental health strategy in 2016/17. A mental health advisory panel was established to provide a channel for employees to provide input into the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategic Plan and initiatives. Improvements were also made to the equipment, operating procedures and working environment for the new National Banknote Site following the introduction of automated systems at the site.

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, awareness-raising activities and seminars on topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

There were 106 reported WHS incidents in 2017/18, 13 per cent higher than in the previous year. Four were notified to Comcare. The most prevalent cause of incidents were slips, trips and falls (14 per cent), incidents involving contractors (12 per cent) and sporting injuries sustained during breaks (9 per cent). There were four accepted workers' compensation claims in 2017/18. Two of these related to workplace injuries and two involved a sporting injury sustained during a break. The Reserve Bank's Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (number of lost time injuries per million hours worked) increased in 2017/18 to 2.2 from 0.9 in the previous year, reflecting the higher number of reported incidents. Nine internal WHS investigations were conducted in 2017/18. The investigations indicated that there were no systemic issues that would point to deficiencies in the way the Bank manages health and safety. No investigations were conducted by Comcare during 2017/18 that related to businesses or undertakings conducted by the Bank, and no improvement, prohibition or non-disturbance notices were issued by Comcare under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

Summary of Notifiable Incidents, Investigations and Notices under the WHS Act
Action 2017/18 2016/17
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 1
Dangerous incident that required notice to Comcare under section 35 3 5
Internal Investigations conducted 9 6
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

The Reserve Bank is a Licensed Authority under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988. This licence requires the Bank 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 for its prevention, claims management and rehabilitation practices in each area for 2017/18.

In 2017/18, the Australian Postal Corporation commenced Claims Management and Rehabilitation services for the Bank. This is in addition to the services already being provided by the Australian Postal Corporation under the existing licence, namely Reconsideration Services and AAT/Federal Court Representation.

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 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.[1]

Fifteen requests for access to documents under the FOI Act were received in 2017/18. No relevant documents were found in response to nine requests and three requests were withdrawn. Access was granted in full in relation to one request and in part in relation to one request. One request was 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.

No applications were received for the internal review of FOI decisions made by the Reserve Bank in 2017/18.

The estimated amount of staff time spent dealing with all aspects of FOI requests in 2017/18 was around 171 hours, compared with around 196 hours in 2016/17. The total cost to the Reserve Bank of administering the FOI Act in 2017/18 is estimated to have been about $44,800, compared with $61,200 in the previous year. Processing charges of $160 were received in 2017/18.

Ministerial Directions

The Reserve Bank received no new directions from its responsible Minister (the Treasurer) or from any other Minister during 2017/18.

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 2017/18.

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 follows 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 2017/18.

There were no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals made during 2017/18 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 191–192.