Managing a workforce that increases to around 70 000 for an electoral event requires careful planning. The AEC’s workforce preparation for the election included the Investing In Our People Program and recruiting, retaining and maintaining contact with staff.

Investing In Our People

The Investing In Our People program is one of the three enabling themes in the AEC’s five-year strategic plan. In 2012–13, the review of the goals and activities took account of State of the Service Employee Survey results and staff feedback. AEC activities included:

  • staff seminar series
  • Rising to Management residential course
  • polling staff development
  • staff consultation and engagement initiatives for 2013–14.

Seminar series

The AEC seminar series provides insights into political and social culture across a range of topics. Speakers included:

  • Professor Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Social Science Research Centre Berlin, discussed the role of political institutions in shaping electoral behaviour.
  • Antony Green, electoral analyst and commentator, responded to the question: What type of electoral system would you invent in Australia if you had the opportunity and why?
  • Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, discussed the challenges for voters with disability and how the AEC can respond.
  • Ed Killesteyn, Electoral Commissioner, discussed the next phase of the AEC’s electoral reform program.
  • Dr Therese Arseneau, University of Canterbury, shared her views on the changing world and voter turnout.

Rising to Management

2013 Rising to Management participants

Deborah O’Neill

Michelle Smith

Andrew Murray

Andrew Reid

Ross Mulcahy

Nigel Inglis

Ann Tebble

Emma Wigley

Joanne Barratt

Eve Brenac-Mooney

Lindsay Almond

Deborah Bush

Helen McCarthy

David Georgeson

Karen Greygoose

Nicole Fagan

Malcolm Abercrombie

Julie Costello

Alison Caitlin

Damian Read

The second Rising to Management program ran from May 2012 to April 2013. The program enhances career progression for APS 1–5 AEC staff—Rising to Management invests in staff management potential.

A series of residential courses, held every second month in Sydney, included instructor led sessions on:

  • communication
  • leadership
  • ethical decision making
  • delegation
  • managing performance
  • productive teams

Participants completed an APM Introduction to Project Management certification and the Introduction to Electoral Administration module from the BRIDGE program.

Figure 7: Vacancies advertised 2010 through 2013

Vacancies advertised 2010 through 2013

Polling staff development

An update of electoral training resources for polling staff included election procedure handbooks and workbooks, and instructor led and online training, with greater focus on polling and scrutiny. This followed recommendations by the internal working group who assessed employment, pay and training of polling officials at the 2010 election.

Staff consultation and engagement initiatives

Through 2012–13, the AEC held forums at national, state and territory levels to consult staff on their employment and the way they work.

The State of the Service Census results for 2012–13 showed improved staff engagement and efficiency at a time of change to workplace structure, systems and processes.

AEC staff are generally positive about the AEC as an employer. They trust their managers and work in strong local teams. This strengthening workforce culture follows major and rapid change over the last three or four years, as the AEC has modernised services for voters and worked to be election ready.

Survey results highlighted ongoing staff concerns about:

  • opportunities for career progression
  • quality of performance management
  • standard of decision-making.

Using the Human Capital Planning Framework, the AEC developed initiatives under the Investing In Our People program around organisational culture, leadership, structure and workplace conditions, to increase employee engagement. Four areas of focus were:

  • build capability and influence culture
  • strategic learning and development
  • strategic workforce planning
  • innovation.

Recruiting, retaining and maintaining contact with staff

Recruiting staff

During 2012–13, the AEC improved recruitment support, and updated AEC documentation and guidelines to reflect best practice across the APS.

Job advertising

The AEC complies with guidelines regarding campaign and non-campaign advertising. During 2012–13, the Electoral Commissioner exempted the AEC on one occasion to enable advertising of vacancies in print media in Darwin, where it is difficult to attract suitable applicants via online methods.

Figure 7 shows vacancies advertised from 2010 through 2013. Advertised vacancies fell 21 per cent, from 146 last year to 115 across all AEC offices.

Graduate program

2013 Graduate Program participants

Carla Ward

Adele Thornton

Amanda Axiak

David Carr

John De Marco

Ben Hamilton

Jo Feeney

The AEC’s graduate program strengthens organisational capacity and builds leadership potential. Graduates undertake three placements across core business areas and complete a Diploma of Government with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC). From a record 255 applications, the AEC selected eight candidates for 2013.

Major projects delivered by 2012 graduates included:

  • investigation of the potential for fraud to affect an election result
  • integration of Indigenous participation activities into AEC mainstream work, a finalist in the APSC’s Major Project Video Award.

Described as a highlight, 2012 graduates worked with staff in state or divisional offices to gain operational experience.

Retaining staff

The staff retention rate for ongoing staff in 2012–13 was 93.6 per cent, slightly down from 95 per cent in 2011–12. The retention rate fluctuates but is generally trending upwards and has averaged around 90 per cent over the past eight years. The average length of service for ongoing staff is 8.9 years.

To maintain election readiness, the AEC increased contact with polling officials and casual staff. During 2012–13, the strategy focused on refreshing registrations of interest in the AEC employment system, and maintaining relationships with polling officials between electoral events, and keeping the employment database up-to-date.

polling official

An upgrade to the AEC employment system improved efficiency and reporting.

Working for the AEC

At 30 June 2013, the AEC employed 2 492 ongoing, non-ongoing and irregular or intermittent staff at 108 sites across Australia—national office and the National Electoral Education Centre in Canberra, state and territory offices, divisional offices, and storage and warehouse locations. Table 10, Table 11 and Table 12 show staffing figures.

Table 10: Irregular or intermittent staff by classification
Classification Number of staff
APS 1 1 545
APS 2 3
APS 3 5
APS 4 15
APS 5 5
APS 6 9
EL 1 1
Total 1 583

APS = Australian Public Service; EL = Executive Level

Table 11: Ongoing staff employed including staff on higher duties arrangements by classification gender and location as at 30 June 2012 and 30 June 2013
Classification Female part time Female full time Male part time Male full time Total
30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013
ACT
Electoral Commissioner 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 1
Deputy Electoral Commissioner 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 1
SES Band 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 2
SES Band 1 0 0 5 5 0 0 4 3 9 8
Executive Level 2 0 1 15 14 0 0 21 17 36 32
Executive Level 1 9 9 31 36 0 0 32 38 72 83
APS Level 6 4 2 33 33 1 0 26 25 64 60
APS Level 5 4 5 15 16 0 0 16 21 35 42
APS Level 4 8 12 21 19 1 1 8 10 38 42
APS Level 3 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 5
Graduates 0 0 1 4 0 0 4 4 5 8
APS Level 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
ACT Total 26 30 122 130 2 1 115 123 265 284
NSW
AEO 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Executive Level 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 2 2 3
Executive Level 1 0 0 5 6 0 0 7 5 12 11
APS Level 6 1 0 36 28 0 0 21 21 58 49
APS Level 5 0 0 4 14 0 0 2 4 6 18
APS Level 4 0 0 1 6 0 0 0 1 1 7
APS Level 3 4 2 34 27 0 0 11 12 49 41
APS Level 2 14 10 14 27 1 0 6 4 35 41
NSW Total 19 12 95 109 1 0 49 50 164 171
Vic.
AEO 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 2
Executive Level 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 2
Executive Level 1 0 0 5 6 0 0 3 2 8 8
APS Level 6 2 1 15 17 0 0 25 22 42 40
APS Level 5 0 0 3 4 0 0 4 3 7 7
APS Level 4 0 1 4 6 1 1 1 0 6 8
APS Level 3 5 3 26 27 0 0 4 4 35 34
APS Level 2 22 22 10 17 1 1 3 6 36 46
Vic. Total 29 27 66 80 2 2 41 38 138 147
QLD
AEO 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Executive Level 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Executive Level 1 0 0 2 2 0 0 2 2 4 4
APS Level 6 0 0 17 13 0 0 14 13 31 26
APS Level 5 0 0 2 8 0 0 4 6 6 14
APS Level 4 0 0 4 6 0 0 1 1 5 7
APS Level 3 3 2 25 21 0 0 5 6 33 29
APS Level 2 10 8 8 17 0 0 1 0 19 25
Qld Total 13 10 58 68 0 0 28 29 99 107
WA
AEO 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Executive Level 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 3
APS Level 6 0 0 7 7 0 0 10 9 17 16
APS Level 5 0 0 2 4 0 0 1 3 3 7
APS Level 4 2 2 2 4 0 0 0 1 4 7
APS Level 3 1 1 14 13 0 0 1 1 16 15
APS Level 2 13 2 1 9 0 0 0 0 14 11
WA Total 16 5 26 37 0 0 17 18 59 60
SA
AEO 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1
Executive Level 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Executive Level 1 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 3 2
APS Level 6 0 0 6 7 0 0 6 5 12 12
APS Level 5 0 0 2 4 0 0 1 2 3 6
APS Level 4 0 0 2 3 1 0 1 2 4 5
APS Level 3 2 1 7 7 0 0 2 1 11 9
APS Level 2 6 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 8 5
APS Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
SA Total 8 5 23 25 1 0 11 11 43 41
Tas.
AEO 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 1
Executive Level 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 2 2
APS Level 6 0 0 3 3 0 0 2 2 5 5
APS Level 5 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 2 4 4
APS Level 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 2
APS Level 3 1 1 5 6 0 0 1 0 7 7
APS Level 2 2 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 3
Tas. Total 3 2 13 15 0 0 9 7 25 24
NT
AEO 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 1
APS Level 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 1 3
APS Level 5 0 0 4 3 0 0 0 0 4 3
APS Level 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 2
APS Level 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 2
APS Level 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 1
NT Total 0 0 7 7 0 0 7 6 14 13
AEC Total 114 91 410 471 6 3 277 282 807 847

AEO=Australian Electoral Officer, APS =Australian Public Service, SES = Senior Executive Service.

Figures include all staff employed at 30 June 2013 under the Public Service Act 1999 and Australian Electoral Officers employed under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. This information is included in the wages and salaries reported in the financial statements.

NSW numbers include staff from ACT divisions.

Source: PayGlobal HR System

Table 12: Non-ongoing staff employed including staff on higher duties arrangements by classification gender and location 30 June 2012 and 30 June 2013
Classification Female part time Female full time Male part time Male full time Total
30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013 30 June 2012 30 June 2013
ACT
Executive Level 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2
Executive Level 1 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
APS Level 6 0 0 3 2 1 1 3 1 7 4
APS Level 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 2 2
APS Level 4 7 4 4 2 0 0 0 0 11 6
APS Level 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 1 2
Graduates 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
APS Level 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 2
APS Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
ACT Total 7 5 13 8 1 1 8 4 29 18
NSW
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 2
APS Level 5 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
APS Level 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1
APS Level 3 0 1 3 4 1 0 1 0 5 5
APS Level 2 3 3 1 5 0 0 0 1 4 9
NSW Total 3 4 7 11 1 0 2 2 13 17
Vic.
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2
APS Level 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2
APS Level 4 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 0
APS Level 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 4
APS Level 2 12 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 14 5
Vic. Total 13 3 4 5 2 1 0 4 19 13
Qld
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
APS Level 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 0
APS Level 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 3 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 3 2
APS Level 2 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 3
Qld Total 1 2 5 3 0 0 3 1 9 6
WA
AEO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
APS Level 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0
APS Level 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
APS Level 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
APS Level 2 1 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 3 3
WA Total 1 1 2 2 0 0 4 2 7 5
SA
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
APS Level 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
APS Level 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
APS Level 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
APS Level 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
SA Total 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 5 0
Tas.
APS Level 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
APS Level 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Tas. Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
NT
Executive Level 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS Level 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
APS Level 5 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 0
APS Level 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
APS Level 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
NT Total 0 2 2 1 0 0 2 0 4 3
AEC total 28 17 35 30 4 2 21 13 88 62

AEO=Australian Electoral Officer, APS =Australian Public Service

Figures include all staff employed at 30 June 2013 under the Public Service Act 1999. This information is included in the wages and salaries reported in the financial statements.

South Australia and Tasmania had no non-ongoing staff at 30 June 2013. NSW numbers include staff from ACT divisions.

Source: PayGlobal HR System

Employment agreements

The AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 covers the majority of AEC staff. Table 13 shows salary ranges for each classification under the agreement.

Australian Workplace Agreements

An Australian Workplace Agreement covered one senior executive service officer.

Section 24(1) determinations

In 2012–13, the terms and conditions of employment of 23 employees, comprising senior executive service and executive level officers, were set by individual determinations under s.24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999.

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 the terms and conditions, hourly rates of pay and other entitlements. In August 2012, there was an update to the collective determination to conduct the Torres Strait Regional Authority elections and to maintain election readiness and in June 2013, there was a further update prior to the federal election.

Table 13: AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 salary ranges by classification 30 June 2013
Classification Remuneration band ($)
EL 2 108 946–127 920
EL 1 92 149–103 842
APS 6 73 788–82 702
APS 5 66 658–73 052
APS 4 59 765–65 493
APS 3 53 623–58 764
APS 2 47 077–52 207
APS 1 41 598–45 976

APS = Australian Public Service; EL = Executive Level

Table 14: Base salary bands for statutory appointees and senior executive staff effective 30 June 2013
Staff (no.) 1 Remuneration band ($) 2
5 180 000–299 999
6 150 000–179 999
8 130 000–149 999
0 up to 129 999

  1. This data includes staff acting in positions at 30 June 2013
  2. Bands do not represent total remuneration; they include salary for superannuation purposes but do not include other components of salary packaging such as cars and superannuation.

Senior executive remuneration

The Remuneration Tribunal determines the remuneration for 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 remuneration and conditions for appointees within parameters set by the Remuneration Tribunal. Base salary bands for statutory appointees and senior executive staff is at Table 14.

Individual flexibility arrangements

To meet the needs of the AEC and individual employees, under the AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014, the Electoral Commissioner may agree to individual flexibility arrangements with employees, for one or more of the following:

  • working hours
  • overtime rates
  • penalty rates
  • allowances
  • remuneration
  • leave

During 2012–13, 18 employees entered individual flexibility arrangements, for allowances specific to their role and/or location.

Performance management and performance pay

Salary progression is subject to meeting performance standards governed by the performance management program. AEC performance management covers ongoing and non-ongoing staff, employed for six months or more, and forms part of the AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014.

Individual performance plans exist as part of the Investing In Our People program. They allow managers to monitor and review staff performance agreements.

People Services provides assistance and advice to managers and staff. This has led to increased confidence for staff and managers in addressing performance issues.

In November 2012, the annual AEC National Excellence Awards formally acknowledged seven individuals and three teams who made an outstanding contribution to the AEC and whose achievements exemplified AEC values, behaviours and culture.

To recognise and reward the superior effort of staff at a local level, state and territory offices conducted Local Excellence Awards.

The Recognition and Rewards Program, initiated through the Investing In Our People program, enable managers and colleagues to reward individual staff or teams and celebrate superior performance or exemplary behaviour.

In 2012–13, performance bonuses were not offered to any employees.

Figure 8: Staff profile by self-identified category

Staff profile by self-identified category

ATSI = people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds; CALD = people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; PWD = people with disability

In each category, the rates relate to employees who choose to self-identify. Employees may be reported under more than one heading. Data excludes irregular or intermittent staff.

Workplace diversity

In 2012–13, diversity statistics remained relatively stable, except for staff self-identifying as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, which decreased from 2.8 to 2 per cent. This was partly a result of the reduced staffing level following the IEPP review. Figure 8 shows diversity trends over the past seven years.

The AEC identified positions to recruit Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples and participated in the APSC Pathways program to engage Indigenous graduates. Targeted recruitment of staff from specific cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) to assist with electoral awareness programs in areas of need ensured the AEC met the government target for CALD. Advertising vacancies with the ‘direct to interview’ option for persons with a disability commenced. Table 15 shows the percentage of staff that self-identify as belonging to diversity categories.

Table 15: AEC workforce at 30 June 2013 at a glance (excludes irregular or intermittent employees)
AEC 2012–13 workforce Percentage of staff
Full time 87.6
Linguistically diverse background 6.9
Female 67.0
Average age 46.9
45 years and over 60.1

Figure 9: Staff by age group as at 30 June 2013

Staff by age group as at 30 June 2013

Irregular or intermittent employees are not reported.

Diversity trends

The age profile for AEC staff, as shown in Figure 9, indicates a disproportionate ratio of older to younger employees.

Reconciliation Action Plan

The AEC’s Reconciliation Action Plan has been in place for 12 months. Actions in the plan aim to create meaningful and lasting change towards recognition and respect.

Through three key areas, relationships, respect and opportunities, the plan outlines ways the AEC can:

  • build and sustain relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • improve service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

There was significant progress in the three key areas of the plan:

  • Relationships: AEC employees are establishing an Indigenous Employees Network, have participated in whole of government networks to foster Indigenous employment and participation, and developed strategic partnerships with Indigenous businesses to strengthen engagement with Indigenous stakeholders. The AEC’s Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) sets a standard of respectful and inclusive engagement with Indigenous communities.
  • Respect: To help raise awareness and build relationships across cultures, a Cultural Awareness e-learning package helps build understanding and skills to engage with Indigenous Australians. The package includes an overview of the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and compliments current AEC training in states and the Northern Territory.
  • Opportunities: The AEC recognises that Indigenous people can best determine their future. Accordingly, the AEC targets positions and recruits to achieve this. Graduate positions in 2014 include a designated Indigenous position.

Workplace health and safety

Changed work health and safety laws

In 2012–13, the AEC applied changes in work health and safety (WHS) legislation to ensure compliance and due diligence. Key activities included:

  • completing a WHS risk register, which distinguishes between business as usual and election specific risks
  • updating WHS documentation and election specific guidance and training material
  • external auditors of the AEC’s compliance against WHS legislation
  • risk assessment of first aid provisions and manual handling at election time
  • reviewing new warehouse set-up
  • developing a national inspection schedule
  • developing national hazardous substance register.

Dissemination of changes to WHS legislation was through a collaborative website, training, site visits, national programs and working parties.

Table 16: Work health and safety incidents 2012–13
Type of incident Number of reports
Exposure to muscular stress 14
Falls on the same level 14
Hitting stationary object 8
Exposure to mental stress factors 3
Hit by falling object 3
Other and multiple mechanisms of incident 3
Abuse and/ or assault 2
Animal and/ or insect bite 2
Contact with electricity 2
Contact with hot/ cold object or substance 2
Exposure to environmental factors 2
Fire or explosion 2
Trapped by equipment or object 2
Contact with sharp objects and/ or materials 1
Exposure to biological factors 1
Exposure to chemical or substance 1
Exposure to single/sudden sound 1
Unspecified 1

There were no reports of drowning or immersion, exposure to a traumatic event, exposure to long-term sound, falls from a height, harassment and/ or bullying, hit by moving object or vehicle accident.

Table 17: Work health and safety incidents 2010–13
Year Number
2010-2011 190 1
2011-2012 39
2012-2013 64
  1. The 2010 Federal Election was in financial year 2010–11.
Table 18: New AEC-managed compensble and non-compensble injuries 2010–13
Case management type 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Compensable 27 11 9
Non-compensable 26 26 17

Event management

In 2012–13, staff reported 64 workplace, health and safety events, comprising 53 incidents, seven near hits and four hazards (see Table 16). This was an increase from the previous year and shows the importance of event management.

A comparison over three years including the federal election (2010–2011) where staffing numbers increased significantly, is in Table 17.

Comcare, the incident management regulator, was not required to investigate any incidents, and the AEC was not subject to any provisional improvement notices. The AEC reported two notifiable incidents to Comcare; one serious injury and one dangerous incident.

Muscular stress and falls on the same level were the predominant incidents reported. The AEC will continue to work with health and safety committees to promote safe work practices, prevention strategies and risk mitigation.

Claims management

In 2012–13, the AEC managed nine new cases for compensation, 16 continuing cases, and 43 cases of non-compensable injuries. Sixty-three per cent of injuries were non-compensable and 37 per cent compensable (see Table 18).

The AEC complies with the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) for provision of workers’ compensation and injury management. The SRC Act has a strong focus on workplace rehabilitation. The AEC has two dedicated case managers responsible for workplace rehabilitation. During 2012–13, the AEC:

  • developed a rehabilitation management system, which complies with the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012, and will be implemented in 2013–14
  • managed non-compensation injuries and proactively managed staff with pre-existing or new non-work-related injuries or illnesses.

The number of new cases the AEC managed for compensable and non-compensable injuries over the past three years is at Table 18.

Annual premium

The AEC workers’ compensation premium for 2012–13 under the Comcare scheme was $789 819.

Health and wellbeing programs

The AEC offers elective health and wellbeing programs including:

  • the employee assistance program (EAP)
  • annual influenza vaccinations
  • workstation assessments
  • eyesight testing reimbursements
  • financial support for early intervention on health matters.

In 2012–13, 458 staff received flu vaccinations, up from 267 the previous year due to the impending election and increase in casual workers.

Promotion of EAP was a key activity following on from mental health training for managers the previous year. EAP supports staff wellbeing ahead of the federal election.

Recognising carers

The AEC’s policies recognise that staff may have caring responsibilities. The AEC Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014 provides flexible working arrangements, carer’s leave and reimbursement for emergency dependent care if required. EAP services are available to AEC staff and their families including assistance and advice on coping with caring responsibilities.

Respect at work

The AEC launched a new Respect at Work Policy and Guidelines in December 2012, which replaced the AEC’s Bullying and Harassment policy. The guidelines aim to ensure a safe, healthy, fair and supportive workplace and provide information on:

  • what is and is not bullying
  • the legislative framework for dealing with inappropriate behaviour
  • the responsibilities of executives, managers and staff
  • the new process for handling complaints
  • options for reporting issues.

The new complaint process provides greater transparency of lodged complaints to ensure all parties are clear on the pathways and individual rights.

Alongside the Respect at Work Policy and Guidelines, the AEC refreshed the Harassment Contact Officer (HCO) network. Twenty-one HCOs represent the AEC network and provide peer support and information to reduce bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Between January and June 2013, there were five allegations. There were 14 contacts made to HCOs, which did not result in notifications.

Larger work units

In 2012–13, larger work units (LWUs) continued to deliver benefits for the AEC and the public. The co-location of divisional offices into one larger provides opportunities for career progression for staff while meeting public expectations of convenience and efficiency.

The AEC established new LWUs in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. The Adelaide metro office opened in July 2012, bringing together the State Office and nine metropolitan divisional offices. The Perth metro office, launched in May 2013 combined the WA State Office and six inner metropolitan divisions. Collaboration between divisional staff, state management teams, and other key stakeholders continues as the AEC plans to deliver more LWUs across the states and territories after the 2013 federal election (see case study).

Library services

The national office library provides information services for staff across the network, including reference material, such as historical publications, reports, journals, links to services and online journals. In addition to updating the book collection with new reference material, the library acquires resources from divisional office amalgamations and manages and preserves items of historical interest.

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