Our governance

​​​​The Executive Management Committee is the key advisory body to the secretary for strategic policy, budgets and performance reporting.

During the year, the committee changed its schedule to establish weekly meetings, reviewed its committee structure and is now underpinned by two sub-committees:

  • Business Transformation Committee
  • People, Safety and Culture Committee.

Table 16 Executive Committees—roles and membership at 30 June 2016




Executive Management Committee

Key advisory body to the secretary.
Guides the department’s purpose and strategies.
Builds and maintains organisational capability through strong leadership and a focus on continuous improvement.
Monitors performance against objectives and priorities.
Endorses funding allocation decisions.
Provides appropriate oversight of risk management.
Assures compliance with legislation, policies, and risk and integrity frameworks.
Recognises external factors and likely impacts for the department’s business, including effective stakeholder relationships.
Sets the cultural and ethical tone for the department.
Communicates with stakeholders, including staff, in a regular and timely manner to ensure there is sufficient information available to make informed decisions.
Met 42 times in 2015–16.

Secretary (chair)
Deputy secretaries
Chief Finance Officer
First Assistant Secretary, Service Delivery Division
First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Strategy and Governance Division
Chief Information Officer
General Counsel
Assistant Secretary, People Capability
One assistant secretary
(on rotation)

Business Transformation Committee

Driving the strategic direction for business transformation within the department.
Identifying linkages between projects and programs.
Identifying and prioritising substantial and significant change issues.
Ensuring impacts of change activities are manageable for staff and clients.
Promoting sharing of business experiences and best practice for change initiatives.
Met five times in 2015–16.

Deputy secretaries (one as chair)
Chief Finance Officer
Chief Information Officer
First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Strategy and Governance Division
First Assistant Secretary, Compliance Division
First Assistant Secretary, Service Delivery Division
First Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity Policy and Implementation Division
Executive Director, ABARES
Assistant Secretary, Design and Change Branch
Assistant Secretary, People Capability Branch
Assistant Secretary, Business Assurance Branch
Assistant Secretary, Information Management (Public Data) Taskforce
Assistant Secretary, Operations Integration Branch

People, Safety and Culture Committee

Making recommendations on the development and implementation of the department's people strategies and plans.
Monitoring the workforce impacts and associated risks to the department and overseeing the effective implementation of appropriate management actions
Undertaking regular performance monitoring on work health and safety, rehabilitation, performance, culture and unplanned absences.
Overseeing the resourcing, performance, implementation and continuous improvement of the department’s people systems.
Identifying and responding to strategic issues including WHS incidents, hazards and risks.
Met nine times in 2015–16.

Deputy secretary (chair)
First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Strategy and Governance Division
Two first assistant secretaries
Four assistant secretaries, including one regional member
One external member from an APS agency
Assistant Secretary, People Capability
Assistant Secretary, People Services
Assistant Secretary, Design and Change Branch

Managing our risk

Our Enterprise Risk Management Policy and Framework are administered in line with the requirements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy. We take a risk-based approach to policy and program development, and integrate risk management with our governance, planning and performance management processes.

Our strategic risks

The department has identified five areas of strategic risk to achieving our purpose:

  • Pest and disease incursions—maintaining capacity to prevent and respond to incursions.
  • Maintain and improve market access—enabling the expansion of agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports, as well as preparing for and quickly responding to any loss of market access.
  • Effective implementation of government priorities—ensuring the department meets timing and delivery expectations in respect of key government initiatives.
  • Maintain and enhance reputation—ensuring the department continuously and effectively engages with key stakeholders and has their trust and respect.
  • An efficient and effective department—ensuring the financial, workforce and systems capability of the department is sufficient to meet our legal obligations and achieve our strategic objectives.

These risk areas are monitored regularly by the Executive Management Committee.

Each division develops a risk management plan as part of its annual business plan, and risk management procedures are integrated into our project management processes.

Our risk appetite

The department’s broad tolerances for each risk type are expressed in the Risk Appetite Matrix in our Enterprise Risk Management Policy and Framework.

In relation to specific functions, the department has a low appetite for any risk relating to work health and safety, and fraud and security, and a medium risk appetite for finance, ICT, administering programs, policy, projects and grants.

The department has a generally low to medium risk appetite in relation to biosecurity. However, specific risk appetites range from Australia’s appropriate level of protection, which specifies a very low appetite for biosecurity risks, to a higher risk appetite for opportunities to innovate service delivery.

Our fraud control

Our Fraud and Corruption Control Plan provides a comprehensive framework for identifying, deterring, detecting, investigating and reporting fraud and corruption, and meeting broader government obligations. Fraud and corruption risk assessments are undertaken biennially to identify risks, treatment strategies, responsibilities, target dates and reporting obligations.

The department promotes a strong culture of integrity and adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct, with zero tolerance to fraud and corruption. Senior management are expected to lead by example and demonstrate high standards of professionalism, integrity and ethics. All staff undertake mandatory training on understanding, recognising and reporting fraud and corruption. We report annually on our fraud management to the Australian Institute of Criminology.

In accordance with the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006, prescribed members of the department are under the jurisdiction of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Our security

Our Protective Security Control Plan provides the framework for preventing, deterring and detecting security risks, and for meeting the security obligations detailed in the Australian Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework. We conduct security-focused risk assessments biennially.

All departmental officers complete biennial security training in recognising security vulnerabilities, understanding security obligations and reporting security incidents. Staff who require access to security classified information are required to obtain and maintain an appropriate security clearance.
We report annually on our compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework to the Attorney-General’s Department and other key stakeholders.

The Security Executive convenes regular meetings of the Agency Security Advisor, Chief Information Security Officer and Information Technology Security Officer to advise the Executive Management Committee.

Our assurance processes

Our Audit Committee provides independent advice and assurance to the secretary on our risk, accountability and control framework, including reviewing the integrity of the financial and non-financial performance reporting frameworks.

The internal audit function reports to the Audit Committee and works independently of business areas to evaluate our management systems, practices and controls. External service providers are also contracted to undertake audit functions. Audits provide assurance to senior management on corporate governance and departmental administration, as well as our ability to meet the department’s objectives.

The committee comprises:

  • a minimum of three external members (that is, persons who are not officials of the department)
  • two officials of the department.

Table 17 Audit Committee—role and membership at 30 June 2016




Audit Committee

Provides independent assurance and advice to the secretary on the department’s risk, control and assurance framework.
Met six times in 2015–16.

Ms Jenny Morison, external member (chair)
Ms Anthea Tinney, external member
Mr Geoff Knuckey, external member
Mr David Parker, deputy chair
Mr Nico Padovan, member


In 2015–16, the department did not report any significant issues to the minister under paragraph 19(1) (e) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, relating to non-compliance with the finance law.


Senior executive remuneration policy

The Remuneration Tribunal determines a classification structure for offices of secretary, specifies total remuneration pay points for each level, and determines the level that applies to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet assigns which total remuneration pay point within the level applies to our secretary.

Our secretary determines the remuneration for the department’s SES officers under section 24 (1) of the Public Service Act 1999, with regard to the Australian Public Service Commission’s annual Australian Public Service Remuneration Survey.

Our department’s remuneration policy allows variations in remuneration between individual jobs, based on market and work-value considerations. This is vital to our ability to compete effectively for the best people in the employment market.

Non-salary benefits

Non-salary benefits provided to SES Band 3 employees as part of their remuneration package include superannuation and car parking. SES Band 1 and 2 employees receive superannuation as the only non-salary benefit and pay for car parking.

The only non-salary benefits provided to non-SES officers as part of their remuneration package are generally limited to superannuation. In exceptional cases, employees may have private use of a Commonwealth vehicle where it is deemed necessary for the performance of their duties.

Previous | Annual Report contents| Next

​​ ​​​
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.