Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 4 2011 Contents 18 DEFENCE MAGAZINE
PuBLIC SECtOR NEWS
More than 500 finance
keeping on top of their game
through the Defence Finance
With recent changes in whole-of-
government requirements, and the
financial management of a $27 billion
dollar enterprise, Defence and DMO
financial professionals need to do all
they can to keep current.
The Chief Finance Officer, Mr Philip
Prior, putting on his ‘second hat’ as
the job family sponsor for the entire
Defence finance workforce, is uniting
and building a group of competent and
business-like professionals who can
manage Defence and DMO financial
What is harmonisation?
Currently, the Commonwealth, States
and Territories have different workplace
health and safety laws. In July 2008, all
governments formally committed to the
harmonisation of work health and safety
laws and as part of this commitment, an
independent committee reviewed the
various work health and safety laws.
This review led to the development of the
Model Work Health and Safety Bill.This Bill will
be adopted by allAustralian jurisdictions from
1 January, 2012.
How will harmonisation affect
It is imperative that the new workplace
health and safety laws are understood and
complied with in every Defence workplace,
from the Secretary and Chief of the
Defence Force to the individuals working in
every workstation and workshop.
Everybody has a safety duty.The
harmonised laws will make it simpler for
all officers and workers to practise their
roles, responsibilities and rights, regardless
of their location within Defence across
Australia or overseas.
Additionally, harmonisation of the laws will
result in a workplace where every worker has
greater involvement in, and ownership of,
workplace health and safety matters.
You mentioned officers and
workers. Who are these people?
In Defence, under the present occupational
health and safety legislation, we are familiar
with the terms employer and employee.
Harmonisation changes all that.
A worker is anyone, including
volunteers and contractors, who makes
a contribution to or ‘works’ for Defence.
Essentially, this means anyone who
undertakes work for Defence, irrespective of
the employment relationship, is a worker.
This includes the Secretary, the Chief
of the Defence Force, the Chief Executive
Officer DMO, all public servants, all
members of the Australian Defence Force,
cadets, volunteers, contractors and visitors.
An officer is a senior executive who
makes, or participates in making, decisions
that affect the whole or a substantial part
of the business of Defence.
Typically, this will be a member of the
Defence Senior Leadership Group, however
it may also be other persons depending on
their functional responsibility.
I have heard a few people talk about
a peek-a-boo.What is that?
Some people within Defence have
chosen to use an acronym for Person
Conducting a Business or Undertaking
(PCBU) as a ‘peek-a-boo’. The PCBU is
the principal duty holder and replaces the
term employer used under existing OHS
legislation. In private industry this will
typically be the business owner or CEO.
In the Commonwealth jurisdiction, the
PCBU will be an entity, and in practice, this
will be the Commonwealth. For Defence,
the Commonwealth will share this duty with
the Department of Defence (consisting of the
non-Service Groups), the ADF (including the
Reserves) and the DMO.
Additionally for Defence, the statutory
authorities and government business
enterprises will also share the duty of the
Statutory authorities include entities
such as the RAN Central Canteens Board,
the Australian Military Forces ReliefTrust
Fund, and the RAAFVeterans’ Residences
Fund to name a few. Defence Housing
Australia is an example of a Government
Business Enterprise that will have a shared
PCBU duty in Defence along with those
agencies previously mentioned.
resources efficiently, effectively and
A key initiative is the Defence Finance
The Assistant Secretary Financial
Professionalisation, Controls and Skilling,
Ms Dianne Leak, says any finance
professional – or interested person,
civilian or military, at any level of rank or
experience – can join.
“Through the Community, Defence and
DMO personnel can keep current with
changes and gain a better understanding
of finance activities across all of Defence.
All finance professionals will find
participating and engaging in this activity
very beneficial,” Ms Leak says.
Regular events include quarterly
information sessions in the R1 Theatre
Community finds value
By tim Glover and Naomi murphy
at Russell Offices on finance topics of
interest those sessions are announced by
DEFGRAM. Past presentations are on
the Finance in Defence (FinD) website.
In July, the Community also held a joint
Defence-DMO annual congress for
The Community has its own website,
using SharePoint, where the finance
workforce can share and discuss finance
ar ticles and other information of interest.
Full access to the website is made
after registration to join the Finance
Community at http://intranet.
Ms Leak says the Community is one of
several related initiatives.
“The drive for a professionalised
finance workforce in Defence stems from
the Australian Public Sector Commission
report ‘Blueprint for the Reform of
Australian Government Administration’
and ‘People in Defence’ sponsored by
People, Strategies and Policy Group.
“These both call for taking a capability
view of the APS workforce. We have
identified the finance workforce in
Defence and can now embark on
workforce management as a whole,
in developing a cohort of finance
professionals,” Ms Leak says.
“Most recently, we have been at the
forefront of best practice recruitment.
We are recruiting and placing successful
finance applicants into jobs across
“Our selection panels are staffed from
across Defence Groups and we are using
merit pools to have quality people available
when vacancies occur in any Group.
“This shows how, under the Strategic
Reform Program, Defence Groups can
work together to deliver cost-effective
and efficient outcomes,” Ms Leak says.
To find out more, visit the skilling
page on the FinD website.
Canberra Institute of Technology Industry EngagementWork Experience Program participant, Nikita Johnson, checks
out the Finance in Defence website.
New Bill to harmonise
safety in workplace
Are we likely to feel the impact of
harmonisation in Defence?
Harmonisation provides another
opportunity for Defence to refresh its
safety culture and improve processes in
the interests of protecting people from
harm. Defence is already a safety conscious
organisation but there is still a way to go,
that is, people are still getting hurt.
Most importantly, harmonisation
introduces individual duties and
accountability: we have been operating
under regulations that requires the
organisation to protect employees
and sanctions the organisation when
something goes wrong, not the
individual decision-makers. Decision-
makers will now be personally liable
and will need to practice due diligence
as they go about their work by
understanding the intrinsic hazards and
doing all that is reasonably practicable to
However, every worker has a duty
to ensure the health and safety of
themselves and their colleagues as well
as anyone in, or in the vicinity of, a
Defence workplace.This will be a very
powerful tool to ensure Defence has the
safest possible workplaces.
How can we obtain more
information on harmonisation?
I established a small project team
in the Branch to manage the revision
of Defence policy to facilitate the
transition for Defence from the current
occupational health and safety to the
new work health and safety legislation.
The project team developed a number
of valuable documents that identify
changes between the two pieces of
legislation, as well as a DRN webpage
dedicated to harmonisation (http://
In addition there are various other
websites such as Comcare (www.
comcare.gov.au/whs) and SafeWork
gov.au), both of which offer valuable
information on harmonisation.
Occupational Health and Safety Branch. Here, Lindsay Hock
speaks with him on the national harmonisation of work health
and safety legislation and what it means for Defence.
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