4Managing the AEC

Managing resources, assets and procurement

The AEC manages a diverse portfolio of resources and assets throughout offices at the national, state/territory and divisional level. These include human resources, such as the agency’s regular and casual workforce, as well as physical assets such as office equipment, and information assets such as technology services.

In managing its assets the AEC also manages a range of procurement activities, including tenders, consultancies and contracts. The AEC works to ensure that the value of procurement contracts held with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) exceeds the government target of 10 per cent.

The AEC also has an obligation to manage its environmental performance. We have to manage our resources and assets in a sustainable manner that adheres to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by minimising impact to the environment, reducing waste and conserving energy use.

Human resources

AEC employees are located throughout Australia in a network of divisional, state and territory offices, including a national office in Canberra.

As at 30 June 2016, the AEC had a regular workforce of 1 020 staff, a casual workforce of 1 204 irregular or intermittent staff, plus a temporary election workforce of over 70 000 polling officials.

Recruiting, developing and retaining a professional and capable workforce is a key strategy for our agency. We aim to entrench a culture of quality, agility and professionalism to support electoral integrity. This is achieved through developing core skills, capability training and by providing the necessary tools for staff to become more adaptive to change by being flexible and innovative when facing an uncertain and demand-driven environment.

8.1 years
AVERAGE LENGTH OF SERVICE ongoing staff

Working arrangements

Employment agreements
AEC Enterprise Agreement

The AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 covers the majority of AEC staff. The AEC Enterprise Agreement nominally expired on 30 June 2014 and has not yet been replaced – see ‘Governance, ethics and staff consultation’ section earlier in this chapter for more information.

Section 24(1) determinations

In 2015–16, the terms and conditions of employment of nine employees, predominantly senior executive service (SES) officers, were set by individual determinations by the agency head (the Electoral Commissioner) under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. A revision of the determination template was made during the course of the year, in order to reflect better practice provision. All SES staff have entered into a new arrangement.

Collective Determination under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

The AEC has a Collective Determination for staff engaged under the Electoral Act. The Collective Determination covers temporary staff such as polling officials for the election period only, and sets terms and conditions, hourly rates of pay and other entitlements.

These terms and conditions are set by the Electoral Commissioner under section 35 of the Electoral Act. The Collective Determination was updated for use during the 2016 federal election to reflect required legislative changes to salary and superannuation, and to accommodate revised allowances and training requirements.

Individual flexibility arrangements

To meet the needs of the AEC and individual employees, under the AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 the Electoral Commissioner may agree to individual flexibility arrangements with employees, covering one or more of the following conditions:

During 2015–16 the Electoral Commissioner agreed to 29 new individual flexibility arrangements, all of which were still active as at 30 June 2016. The majority of these reflected the ongoing need to recognise the particular needs of both the individuals and the AEC.

Employee non-salary benefits

AEC staff receive a range of non-salary benefits, consisting of leave arrangements, provision for separation and redundancy benefits, plus superannuation. This information is listed in the Notes to the Financial Statements section of this report.

Statutory appointees and executive remuneration

The Remuneration Tribunal determines the remuneration of the Electoral Commissioner under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

Other statutory appointees are part of the principal executive officer structure under the Remuneration Tribunal Act. The Electoral Commissioner determines the remuneration and conditions afforded to these appointees, within parameters set by the Remuneration Tribunal. Table 18 illustrates the salary ranges for each classification of statutory appointees and senior executive staff.

Table 18: Salary bands for statutory appointees and senior executive staff effective 30 June 2016
Number of staffa Remuneration bandb
1 $300 000–350 000
6 $180 000–299 999
5 $150 000–179 999
8 $0–149 999
  1. Includes staff acting in positions at 30 June 2016.
  2. Bands do not reflect total remuneration rates; they include salary for superannuation purposes but do not include other components of salary packaging.
Performance management

AEC performance management covers all ongoing and non-ongoing employees employed under the Public Service Act, and forms part of the AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–14. Managers and employees work together to ensure that:

Salary progression in the AEC within salary classification bands is subject to meeting standards set out in the performance management program.

Performance pay

In 2015–16, performance bonuses were not offered to any employees.

AEC workforce statistics

As at 30 June 2016, the AEC workforce consisted of:

47.8 years
AVERAGE AGE Regular workforce

Tables provided at Appendix F provide a further breakdown of the AEC workforce.

Regular workforce

The AEC’s regular workforce is spread across the AEC network of national, state, territory and divisional offices.

A range of tables and figures provide specific workforce information within this section of the report. Percentages of male and female staff, from 2013–14 to 2015–16, are shown in Figure 5. The age profile of AEC employees is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 5: The regular workforce by gender 2013–14 to 2015–16

Regular workforce by gender 2013–14 to 2015–16

Figure 6: The regular workforce by age group as at 30 June 2016

Regular workforce by age group as at 30 June 2016

The majority of staff in the AEC are female, but for the first time in over a decade there has been a decrease in the proportion of females, from 68.2 per cent in 2014–15 to 64.6 per cent in 2015–16.

The largest segment of the AEC’s regular workforce is in the range of 50 to less than 55 years, and 62.2 per cent are aged 45 and over, as shown in Table 19. The average age of the AEC’s regular workforce has increased, rising from 47.3 to 47.8 years in the last 12 months.

The number of non-ongoing employees increased at 30 June 2016 compared to the same time last year. This was principally due to the engagement of additional non-ongoing staff to assist with the 2016 federal election.

Table 19 provides a snapshot of the AEC’s regular workforce profile.

Table 19: AEC regular workforce profile as at 30 June 2016
AEC workforce segment Workforce statistic
Full-time 94.2%
Linguistically diverse background 7.3%
Female 64.6%
Average age 47.8 years
45 years and over 62.2%
Staff turnover 19.9%
Average length of AEC service for ongoing staff 8.1 years
Irregular or intermittent employees

At 30 June 2016, the AEC had an available casual workforce of 1 204 irregular or intermittent staff. Employed mostly at the APS 1 level, the casual employees were largely working in divisional offices assisting with workloads arising from the 2016 federal election. A breakdown of this workforce is provided in Table 20.

Table 20: Intermittent or irregular employees by classification
Classification Number of employees
APS 1 1 118
APS 2 15
APS 3 46
APS 4 11
APS 5 2
APS 6 10
EL 1 2
Total 1 204

APS = Australian Public Service, EL = Executive Level

Indigenous employees

In 2015–16, 2.4 per cent of the regular AEC workforce self-identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Figure 7 provides further information on AEC staff who self-identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Figure 7: AEC regular workforce by diversity 2012–13 to 2015–16

Regular workforce by diversity 2012–13 to 2015–16
Indigenous election workforce

The AEC is committed to creating a staffing profile at polling places that reflects the cultural diversity of the communities it serves throughout Australia.

Post-election evaluations show that the recruitment of Indigenous polling officials has a positive impact on increasing Indigenous voter turn-out and formality of votes, as well as creating employment opportunities and stimulating interest in the democratic process for those employed, and their families and friends.

Since 2010, AEC recruitment activities have resulted in an increasing number of Indigenous election staff. At the 2013 federal election the AEC almost doubled the number of Indigenous polling officials employed in the 2010 election. Over 70 more Indigenous election staff were expected to be employed at the 2016 federal election compared with 2013.

Reconciliation Action Plan

AEC RAP Working Group member and IEPP WA Team Leader Brett Hill spoke at the AEC's Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2018 launch about what reconciliation means to him
Keynote address by Brett Hill, Team Leader,
Indigenous Electoral Participation Program, AEC

The AEC Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2016–2018 was launched during National Reconciliation Week in May 2016. The RAP advocates a united approach to reconciliation that every employee supports and actively contributes to.

Through the 2016–18 RAP, the AEC will:

  • strengthen our reputation as an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • ensure our staff are culturally aware and equipped to communicate effectively and to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • ensure our services are effective, culturally appropriate and accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • strengthen our relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within which we deliver services.
616 000+
ELECTION CONTACT CENTRE ENQUIRIES 560K calls, 56K emails
8 May – 30 June 2016
Disability reporting

As disability reporting to the Council of Australian Governments now occurs through the National Disability Strategy, within the State of the Service report, the specific requirement for disability reporting in individual Commonwealth agency annual reports has been discontinued.

The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, their families and carers. A high-level two-yearly report now tracks progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy.

Recruitment and employee retention

Recruiting employees

We continue to review and optimise relevant recruitment guidelines, processes and procedures.

In early 2016, the AEC processed a high volume of requests for temporary or casual employment in readiness for the 2016 federal election.

Job advertising

The AEC’s total advertised vacancies (ongoing and non-ongoing positions) grew from 135 in 2014–15, to 178 in 2015–16. This was due to the lifting of interim restrictions on recruitment in the APS, and to meet the requirement to have sufficient staff in readiness for the 2016 federal election.

Graduate program

The AEC welcomed five graduates into the agency as part of the 2016 graduate program. The group made it through a competitive recruitment process and joined us with high levels of education, skills and experiences in a wide variety of areas.

AEC graduate recruits rotate through three placements, predominantly in branches located in the national office in Canberra. The placements are designed to provide them with valuable skills and experience, and foster a well-rounded appreciation for the work done across the AEC.

This year, the placements included participation in the lead-up to and during the 2016 federal election. Positioned all over Australia, graduates contributed to many aspects of election preparation and delivery, including training our temporary workforce, candidate nominations, recruitment, polling, declaration exchange and return of materials.

AEC graduates also participate in the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Graduate Development Program, which includes working collaboratively on a major project. The 2016 AEC Graduates have been asked to explore options for the development of agency capability in the form of exercises and rehearsals in the lead-up to an electoral event.

Retaining employees
Retention rate

The AEC’s retention rate for ongoing staff in 2015–16 was 85.6 per cent, a decrease from 95.5 per cent in 2014–15. The AEC’s ongoing employee retention rate fluctuates year-on-year but on average is around 90 per cent.

State of the Service employee survey results

The AEC’s 2015 State of the Service employee survey results showed improvements in employee engagement levels across all elements of engagement, and an increase in satisfaction with the agency’s overall performance. In particular, survey respondents indicated they were more satisfied in 2015 than in 2014 with their immediate supervisor and senior leaders, and with their access to effective learning and development.

The survey results also highlighted areas for development such as:

Support of the Carer Recognition Act 2010

The AEC does not have any obligations with regard to the Carer Recognition Act 2010, as the agency is not defined in the Public Service Act 1999 as being responsible for the development, implementation, provision or evaluation of policies, programs or services directed to carers or the persons for whom they care.

As a public service agency, however, the AEC does support employees with caring responsibilities as outlined in the Carer Recognition Act 2010. Employees are eligible for Paid Personal Leave (Carer’s), under Clause 69.7 of the AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–14, to provide care or support to those they are responsible for in the case of personal illness, injury or unexpected emergency.

Learning and development

The approach to learning by AEC employees has evolved significantly since the launch of our Learning and Development (L&D) Blueprint in July 2014, which guides staff learning and development at the AEC.

2016 Graduate Recruits Romeo Luka, Leigh Hill, Jarred Davis, Julie Igglesden and Rachel Dieckmann
2016 Graduate Recruits Romeo Luka, Leigh Hill, Jarred Davis, Julie Igglesden and Rachel Dieckmann
AEC Learning

‘AEC Learning’, the AEC’s new learning management system, was launched in early 2015. It represents a new online approach to the way APS employees engage in learning and development in the AEC, and was the first major learning and development initiative to emerge from the L&D Blueprint. AEC Learning offers a range of self-paced and instructor-led courses, available through the AEC intranet, designed to enhance overall workforce capability and professionalism.

Election training review development

In November 2014 the AEC undertook a full review of technical election training to better prepare both APS employees and polling officials for the operational demands of increasingly complex elections. A new Election Training Curriculum was subsequently developed. For the 2016 election, we developed and released 113 module components for APS employees, and 19 polling official modules (e-learning and face-to-face).

Certified Trainer Program

The delivery of consistent high-quality training is a vital part of the AEC’s ability to deliver successful elections. The Certified Trainer Program was designed to create a pool of trainers from across the AEC with the skills and knowledge to provide effective and engaging training. In preparation for the 2016 election, the program was delivered to 340 participants, and a further 28 AEC employees received recognition of prior learning. This equated to 310 trainers endorsed to deliver polling official programs and 45 trainers that were certified to deliver the Election Readiness Program as well as polling official programs.

Workforce planning

Workforce planning remains a crucial element in the successful delivery of electoral services in the AEC. Managing an ongoing workforce of over 1 000 employees, in addition to a temporary election workforce of over 70 000 employees, requires careful planning and consideration.

As with other areas of the AEC, much of the attention for the 2015–16 period was focused on the lead-up to the 2016 federal election. In the past year we have continued our substantial reform journey to build and embed consistent workforce planning methodology across all levels of the agency. The 2016 phase of the workforce planning project expanded on earlier work (committed to in 2014–15), and formalises the connection between divisional, state and national office workforce planning risks and strategies.

Key activities included:

Work health and safety

The AEC recognises its responsibility to positively influence the work health and safety (WHS) of employees, and to provide a safe environment for members of the public who enter AEC premises, including leased premises used as polling places during an electoral event.

WHS outcomes

The AEC complies with its obligations under both the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 by ensuring there are appropriate systems that actively monitor, evaluate and maintain health, safety and welfare across all aspects of business. Table 21 provides a summary of ongoing AEC workplace health and safety outcomes during the year.

Table 21: Work health and safety summary, 2015–16
WHS information AEC outcomes
Initiatives taken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers Continued enhancement of the AEC WHS management system.
Workforce conditioning project.
Election-related WHS strategies.
Health and safety outcomes achieved as a result of the initiatives Continued development of the WHS management arrangement structure, providing a greater level of employee consultation and representation through an increased health and safety representative (HSR) network and revised work group structure.
Notifiable incidents During 2015–16, eight incidents were reported to Comcare. Six incidents were notifiable for serious injury or illness, one incident notifiable for a dangerous occurrence and one incident was determined to not be notifiable.
Investigations conducted by the AEC There were no investigations conducted during 2015–16.
Comcare investigations There were no Comcare investigations undertaken, and no improvement notices issued to the AEC.
Health and safety events reported 160 health and safety incidents were reported, compared with 111 for the previous year. An increase in reporting of incidents occurred in the lead-up to the 2016 federal election.
Number of liaison inspections Nil.
Formal notices issued by the Regulator Nil.
Workers compensation premium under the Comcare scheme Premium rate for 2015–16 was 1.45% of wages and salary, less than the 2014–15 figure of 1.84%. The overall Comcare scheme premium for the APS in 2015–16 was 1.85%.
Claims management

The AEC’s management of work health and safety claims during the year consisted of:

Table 22 shows the number of new claims managed over the past three years, reported for the year in which management commenced.

Table 22: New claims for compensable and non-compensable injuries
Case management type 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16
Compensable 9 17 14 14
Non-compensable 17 32 19 41
Total 26 49 33 55
Health and wellbeing programs

The AEC encourages its employees to pursue healthy lifestyles with the following range of elective health and wellbeing programs:

The EAP provides free, confidential support services that address a range of health and wellbeing issues. In 2015–16 the EAP utilisation rate for new AEC referrals was 5.89 per cent.

Physical assets

The physical assets of the AEC include equipment located at offices throughout Australia. ICT infrastructure, machines, equipment and office fitouts are managed on an ‘end of life’ or ‘end of lease’ schedule. Comprehensive service and maintenance agreements are used where they represent value-for-money, to ensure all assets are fully functional and perform at optimal levels.

Office fit-outs

In 2015–16 four fit-outs were completed: an additional office in the Executive Suite in National Office; in the Division of Herbert (Townsville, Queensland); in the newly-established Division of Burt (Cockburn, Western Australia); and at the National Electoral Educational Centre (Canberra, ACT).

Information assets

ICT technical support services and infrastructure are integral to the AEC’s activities, and are provided through a combination of in-house and external resources.

Security enhancements

During 2015–16 the AEC implemented an agency-wide desktop infrastructure refresh to the AEC standard operating environment to provide greater protection against cyber security threats.

ICT infrastructure

From mid-November 2015 to March 2016, the AEC rolled out 1 000 new desktops, 500 laptops and associated hardware such as servers, switches and uninterruptible power supply units, as well as barcode scanners for AEC staff Australia-wide.

Procurement

Purchasing

The AEC’s approach to procuring goods and services is consistent with the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). These rules are applied through the AEC’s Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs) and supporting operational guidelines.

The AEC has a centralised area of expertise that provides procurement and contracting advice, and manages panel arrangements for key election-related services. Information on procurement policy and practices is available to staff through an internal procurement and contract management register.

The AEC continues to develop employees’ procurement skills across the Agency and continues to review procurement processes to improve efficiency and value-for-money outcomes.

Information on procurements expected to be undertaken in 2016–17 is available in the agency’s annual procurement plan published on the AusTender website.

Initiatives to support small business

The AEC supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Participation statistics for small and medium enterprises are available on the Department of Finance’s website.

The AEC recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the survey of Australian Government payments to small business are available on the Treasury webste.

Requests for Tender

There were nine open tender requests published electronically on AusTender in 2015–16.

Grants

The AEC did not administer any discretionary grant programs in 2015–16.

Consultancies

The AEC engages consultants when it requires specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose an identified issue or problem, carry out defined reviews or evaluations, or provide independent advice to assist in AEC decision-making.

Decisions to engage consultants during 2015–16 were made in accordance with section 35(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the PGPA Act, related regulations (including the CPRs), and relevant internal policies.

During 2015–16, the AEC entered into 24 new consultancy contracts involving total actual expenditure of $1.87 million. In addition, 7 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $992 000.

Election Readiness Program

In the first half of 2016, the AEC conducted six sessions of the Election Readiness Program. Around 180 staff participated in the two-week residential program.

The Program used scenario-based learning to take employees through the live aspects of conducting a federal election. Its aim was to equip divisional returning officers (DROs) and senior divisional office staff with the knowledge and skills to successfully deliver the federal election, including how to factor the AEC’s Standard Operating Procedures into their election plans.

The program’s learning outcomes included:

  • gaining an in-depth understanding of election-related activities
  • better ability to deal with unforeseen challenges
  • greater self-awareness around time pressures and stress, and how to deal with these pressures
  • an applied understanding of election databases, including the Election Management System (ELMS) and Roll Management System Election Processing (RMANS).

The value and impact of the program was reflected in feedback received from participants:

  • ‘I feel supercharged and energetic having now completed the program…the hands-on approach has helped me to retain a great deal of knowledge, especially around new standard operating procedures. I feel as though I can share this knowledge with my team members when I return to the office.’
  • ‘Over the past two weeks I have learned a lot from the others in the group and formed some valuable networks. I can’t believe I am saying this – I am sad it’s over!’
  • ‘It’s been a whirlwind; however it’s helped to clarify for me the leadership role of the DRO and blown away a lot of the fog surrounding new policies and procedures. I feel like I am ready to go.’

Following this success, we expect that the program, suitably updated, will be used in the lead-up to future elections.

Table 23: Expenditure on consultancy contracts, 2013–14 to 2015–16
  2013–14 2014–15 2015–16
Total actual consultancy expenditure $1.4 million $2.5 million $2.9 million

Information on the value of AEC contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

ANAO Access Provisions

All AEC contract templates include a standard clause providing the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises. The AEC did not have any contracts that did not contain the ANAO access provisions.

Exempt Contracts

No contract or standing offer in excess of $10 000 (GST inclusive) in 2015–16 were exempt from publication on AusTender on the basis that they would disclose exempt information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Sustainability principles

In accordance with the Commonwealth procurement framework, the AEC aims to fulfil its responsibility to be an efficient, effective, economical, ethical and sustainable procurer. The AEC’s procurement policy seeks to achieve sustainability through reducing energy consumption and minimising waste.

Environmental performance

We manage our environmental performance by minimising the impact of our operations on the environment, encouraging sustainable business practices, managing waste, and monitoring energy and resource use. The AEC’s Environment Management Commitment is available on our website.

An AEC Environmental and Sustainability Guide is available to all staff. It focuses on office-based operations and behaviours that align with legislative requirements, and encourages environment-friendly and sustainable practices in the areas nominated above.

For the AEC, environmental performance also encompasses nationwide sustainable procurement practices, building operations, and the management of national, state/territory and divisional offices. It also includes the impact of state and federal elections, and management of the waste reduction program for the National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC).

 

Sustainable development

Sustainable use of premises

In accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 the AEC reports on environmental performance and measures that minimise environmental impact, including:

The AEC continues to take the following measures to minimise the effect of office operations on the environment:

The AEC also adheres to a range of environmental management requirements, listed in Table 24.

Table 24: Legislative compliance and reporting for environmental management
Area Requirements
Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) Policy Office tenant light and power to be 7 500 MJ per person per annum.
Office central services (e.g. air-conditioning, elevators, base-building lighting and hot water) to be 400 MJ/m2 per annum.
Office lighting to not exceed 10 W/m2.
Refurbishments over 2 000 m2 to satisfy 4.5 NABERSa Energy Rating. New buildings over 2 000 m2 to satisfy 4.5 NABERS Energy Rating. Green Lease Schedules for new leases over 2 000 m2 and for two-year terms.
Commonwealth Procurement Rules Where financially viable, minimise environmental impact over the life of goods and services by choosing products or services that have lower adverse impacts associated with any stage in their production, use or disposal.
Commonwealth Property Management Framework and Guidelines The Framework focuses on achieving efficient, effective and sustainable property outcomes and sets out arrangements under which the AEC is responsible for its performance. When determining the merits of a property the AEC will (on a case-by-case basis) take into consideration cost-benefit analyses (using whole-of-life costs), and environmental obligations and impact.
The Property Guidelines seek to enhance good property management practice across agencies, providing increased efficiency and effectiveness of property use in the course of Government business.
Australian Packaging Covenant Arrangements in place for efficient collection and recycling of packaging.
National Waste Policy Avoid the generation of waste, reduce the amount of waste (including hazardous waste) for disposal.
Manage waste as a resource.
Ensure that waste treatment, disposal, recovery and re-use are undertaken in a safe, scientific and environmentally sound manner.
Contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy conservation and production, water efficiency and the productivity of the land.
  1. National Australian Built Environment Rating System.
Sustainable procurement practices

The AEC addresses sustainable procurement in accordance with: the Commonwealth Procurement Rules; the Department of the Environment and Energy’s Sustainable Procurement Guide; and the AEC Procurement Policy.

Value-for-money is a core principle of the AEC’s Procurement Policy. As a result, the agency values goods and service providers that reduce:

Sustainable procurement requirements are outlined in Table 25.

Table 25: AEC sustainable procurement requirements
Area Requirements
Administration Ensure cleaning products have Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), which include the ecological impact for each product/chemical.
Maintain accurate and complete records for reporting purposes on the consumption and supply of office equipment and related consumables.
Fit-out and refurbishment Procure products that are recycled or have recycled content, and are recyclable at end-of-life (where practical), fit-for-purpose and cost-effective.
Where possible, procure products with eco-labels that are compliant to ISO 14024 or ISO 14021 eco-labelling standards (life cycle impacts), such as timber and wood products meeting Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources/forests or Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
Procure products with energy conservation features in their design.
Procure products designed for longevity that have design features minimising the environmental impact at end-of-life, or have options for manufacturer/supplier take-back.
Procure products that are designed and supplied with low environmental load packaging, while maximising the purpose of preventing damage or breakage.
Procure products with energy conservation features in their design (a minimum level of 5 Stars under the ENERGY STAR® program) where such equipment is available, fit-for-purpose and cost-effective.
For appropriate contracts, apply an evaluation measure or weighting to environmental criteria in procurements.
Procure products that have reduced or eliminated environmentally sensitive materials and substances such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paints and solvents, mercury, lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and short chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP) flame retardants and plasticisers in certain applications.

Minimising impact

Building design

The AEC’s national office occupies two floors at 50 Marcus Clarke Street in central Canberra. The building has high environmental performance, particularly in the areas of building design, and water and energy use. Table 26 outlines the national environmental ratings of the building.

Table 26: National office environmental ratings
Rating system Ratings

Green Star ratings are awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia as an internationally recognised sustainability rating system.

The Office Design v2 category evaluates the environmental potential and operational performance of commercial office design.

6 Star Green Star As Built (whole of building)
5 Star Green Star Office Interiors
NABERSa is a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, measuring energy efficiency, water usage, waste management, indoor environment quality, and impact on the surrounding environment. Ratings range from one star (lowest) to six stars (highest). 5.5 Star NABERS Energy for both Base Building and Tenancy
4.5 Star NABERS Water
5 Star NABERS Indoor Environment
  1. National Australian Built Environment Rating System

A key aspect of these premises is the use of an integrated trigeneration system which simultaneously produces three forms of energy – electricity, heating and cooling. This single system produces power, hot water, space heating and air-conditioning for the entire building, which considerably reduces the greenhouse gases produced. In addition, during the year a 100 kW solar photovoltaic system was installed on the roof and is fully operational helping power base-building services. The building’s overall lighting power density is kept to an average of 1.75 W/m2/100 lux.

Energy conservation

The AEC is committed to establishing standards, programs and innovative practices to improve energy efficiency across our property portfolio. Considerations and activities related to energy consumption are outlined in Table 27.

Table 27: Energy consumption considerations across the network
Area Requirements
Administration Review provision for accredited renewable energy (e.g. Green power) take-up in electricity contracts.
Maintain accurate and complete records for reporting purposes on electricity and gas use in buildings, refrigerant types used in air conditioning systems and fire retardants used in fire suppression systems.
Ensure non-AEC energy-intensive power-consuming devices that are continuous in operation must not be connected to power points (e.g. fish tanks, digital photo frames, fans and heaters), unless approved by the AEC’s National Property Team and respective State Manager and/or Branch Head.
Provide for major property energy efficiency and greenhouse initiatives through the annual strategic property planning review.
Education Ensure approved AEC energy-intensive devices must be switched off when not in use.
Make effective use of curtains or blinds to optimise air conditioner and heating system efficiency.
Fit-out and refurbishment Ensure newly constructed or major refurbishments of tenanted space meet the minimum energy performance standard set out in the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) Policy.
Include the provision for renewable energy generation initiatives into new building designs and fit-outs.
Leasing Ensure new office leases over 2 000 m2 and two-year duration include the relevant version of the Green Lease Schedule (GLS) which contains ongoing minimum energy performance standards.
Ensure the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) assessment and evidence of market testing occurs and is taken into account in overall cost considerations before exercising a lease option.
Ensure separate digital metering is established to differentiate the supply between base building and tenancy energy use.
Include the provision for renewable energy generation initiatives into new building designs and fit-outs.

Energy-efficient operations in the national office include the use of:

For 2015–16, the use of light and power energy across all AEC premises was 9626.03 megajoules per person which represents a 14.97 per cent decrease on the previous year.

Water conservation

While opportunities to use water conservation strategies are sometimes limited across the entire AEC property portfolio, the AEC considers the capture and use of water wherever possible, as outlined in Table 28.

Table 28: Water consumption considerations across the network
Area Requirements
Administration (Fit-Out, Refurbishment and Leasing) Introduce water conservation measures into building leases for existing and/or new tenancies, toilets and urinals with high Water Efficiency and Labelling Service (WELS) scheme star ratings, re-use systems, rainwater harvesting and the use of drought-tolerant native plant species local to the area.
Maintain accurate and complete records for reporting purposes on the water infrastructure established during refurbishments.
Apply strategies and procedures to effectively arrange potable water use.
Education Report tap water leakages in a timely manner to the relevant
responsible areas.
Leasing Ensure mains digital metering is established to differentiate the supply between base building and tenancy water use.

Water conservation measures at the National Office include:

Responsible disposal of waste

The AEC’s Environmental and Sustainability Guide provides staff with instructions on the responsible disposal of:

Vehicle use and travel reduction

AEC business vehicles are selected in accordance with the Department of Finance vehicle selection policy, with a focus on reduced CO2 emissions when comparing suitable models.

National Electoral Education Centre waste reduction program

The ACTSmart Business Recycling Program assesses the waste reduction initiatives of businesses located in the Australian Capital Territory. In December 2015, the National Electoral Education Centre (NEEC) was awarded its sixth ACTSmart accreditation.

In 2015–16 the NEEC extended its paper recycling efforts to include other materials such as plastic bottles. In the six years that the NEEC has actively participated in the program it has reduced annual landfill waste to 2.9 cubic metres per annum, representing an overall waste reduction of 83 per cent. This achievement has been maintained despite the fact that the NEEC maintains annual visitor numbers of more than 87 000.