Part 4 - Summary

part-4-summary

Corporate governance practices

Governing body

As provided for in the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, AFMA was established to manage Commonwealth commercial fisheries. As a non-corporate government entity, AFMA as a statutory body forms part of the Commonwealth government and therefore can sue and in turn be sued. As such AFMA does not hold money and all financial liabilities are taken to be liabilities of the Commonwealth.

Domestic fisheries management functions and powers are the responsibility of the AFMA Commission. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for assisting the Commission, including giving effect to its decisions. The Chief Executive Officer is separately responsible for exercising AFMA’s foreign compliance functions and powers.

The Commission is subject to limited government policy direction as stated in s91 of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991. The minister is the approving authority for AFMA’s Corporate Plan, Annual Operational Plan and all Fishery Management Plans determined by AFMA.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources appoints the chairman, part-time commissioners and the Chief Executive Officer. Following advice from the chairman, the minister appoints a part-time commissioner as deputy-chairperson.

The Chief Executive Officer is the Accountable Authority under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and is the Agency Head under the Public Service Act 1999.

The Chief Executive Officer is subject to Ministerial Direction with regard to the Authority’s foreign compliance functions, and under the Public Service Act 1999 is required to be responsive to government in implementing the government’s policies and programs.

For more information about AFMA’s Commissioners, see Appendix 1 to this report.

Disclosure of interests

Commissioners must disclose to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources any pecuniary or other interest that may relate to their AFMA functions, both prior to appointment and if such interests arise during their terms of office. Disclosures of interests are kept on a register of interests held by AFMA. Where a commissioner declares they have an interest in a matter for consideration by the Commission it will initiate a procedure to determine the action required to safeguard the integrity of the Commission’s decisions.

Performance review

The Commission reviews its performance at each Commission meeting. Matters reviewed address the effectiveness of the Commission in its decision making, corporate governance and maintenance of stakeholder relationships.

Internal scrutiny

AFMA strives to ensure that governance arrangements, together with the associated systems and processes used, are the best they can be. To this end we utilise internal audits as an essential tool to independently identify any deficiencies in these processes and control systems whilst at the same time providing opportunities to deliver better practices that will improve the efficiency, cost effectiveness and transparency of our management and regulatory arrangements.

During 2016–17, after a competitive procurement process, AFMA engaged a new independent auditor for three years, due to the previous internal auditor contract expiring.

In June 2017, the internal auditor in collaboration with AFMA management and the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee established a new Strategic Internal Audit Plan. The Strategic Internal Audit Plan outlines the intended audits that will be conducted over the next three years. These proposed audits are intended to address high level risks that have been identified as part of our Risk Management Process.

Prior to finalising the Strategic Internal Audit Plan, the independent auditor completed two interim audits in the latter half of 2016–17 on the following areas of AFMA’s business operations:

  • Quality Management System readiness review
    • An assessment of AFMA’s readiness to implement an ISO 9001 compliant Quality Management System
  • Research Program review
    • A review of the processes and procedures AFMA uses in the management of contracted research.

The recommendations from these audits will be considered by AFMA management and work undertaken to implement them monitored by the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee during 2017–18.

We have also established a number of standing committees which provide oversight and governance over other key operational activities. These committees include the Project Governance Committee and the Information Governance Committee. The Chief Executive Officer has maintained the Audit and Risk Committee to also provide internal scrutiny of AFMA operations. Descriptions of these committees are provided in Appendix 1.

External scrutiny

AFMA’s financial statements are audited annually by the Australian National Audit Office. The Office examines the strength of our internal controls to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the annual financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement. The results of their audit are presented in their report on the financial statements accessible in part 5 of this report.

The Audit Office retains an understanding of AFMA, the environment in which we operate, our objectives and strategies and internal controls. This includes acquiring an understanding of the information systems and related business processes relevant to our financial reporting objectives (including the accounting system) and how we have responded to any related financial reporting risks. Relevant Audit Office performance audits or internal audit activity are considered as part of this process.

AFMA’s performance is also subject to review through Senate Estimates. Parliament may also review and disallow legislative instruments proposed by AFMA as part of its delegated functions.

Outcomes of judicial and administrative tribunals are referenced at Appendix 2: ‘Civil Litigation Outcomes’.

In October 2016 we responded to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on the inquiry on Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture, which looked at ways to improve the regulation of Australia’s marine fisheries so as to enhance their productivity. The Australian Government’s response to the Productivity Commission report: Inquiry into regulation of the Australian marine fisheries and aquaculture sectors was released in May 2017.

Corporate planning and reporting

AFMA’s Planning and Reporting Framework is consistent with the obligations under the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, whole-of-government requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Public Governance Performance and Accountability Rule 2014. These obligations together with our own internal documents support good governance. The key elements are:

Corporate planning and reporting

Section Plans

Every business unit within AFMA is required to develop section plans. These plans ensure that business activity across the agency is both coordinated and focused on delivering directly to AFMA’s objectives as outlined in our annual operating plan. These plans form the basis of allocating resources to the various business activities and/or specific projects that directly support the outcomes of the Annual Operational Plan. The section plans also inform individual staff performance plans against which officers are assessed throughout the reporting period in accordance with our performance development scheme.

Risk management

AFMA’s corporate risk management procedures were reviewed in 2015 and a new Risk Management Framework approved in November 2016. The framework incorporates a Risk Management Policy and Risk Management Guidelines that are consistent with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and international standards (ISO 31000:2009). The framework is aligned with AFMA’s corporate goals to ensure all staff remain focused on achieving those goals while managing the identified risks associated with them. This approach ensures that staff at all levels of the agency are responsible for participating in risk management processes and delivers cost-efficient fisheries management by allowing our managers to make informed decisions and assign resources effectively.

As part of the review, AFMA also established in early 2017, a two tier risk monitoring and reporting process in accordance with our Risk Management Policy and Risk Management Guidelines.

The lower tier level Enterprise Risk Register forms the nucleus to identifying and monitoring risks throughout the agency associated with its operational activities. This ‘living’ document will assist AFMA officers to address risks posed by their operational activity and feeds into the higher tier Strategic Risk Register. The Strategic Risk Register has been designed to align/map identified risks outlined in the Enterprise Risk Register to the corporate goals as set out in the AFMA Corporate Plan. Both registers have been endorsed by the AFMA Commission and the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee.

Our risk management process is illustrated below:

risk-management-process

Business Continuity

AFMA’s business continuity plan identifies a tiered response to essential business activities that we consider are critical to maintain and provides guidance to AFMA management in establishing alternative arrangements in the event of unexpected disruption to normal service delivery. The plan enables the priority allocation of resources to critical business processes to ensure that AFMA continue to function effectively following a significant disruption. The plan includes emergency contacts, cyclone response procedures for our Darwin and Thursday Island offices and information and communications technology disaster recovery protocols. The business continuity plan is tested, reviewed and updated annually, and monitored by the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee.

During 2016–17 an incident at AFMA’s Canberra office on 3 April 2017 prompted the activation of the business continuity plan. The incident involved fumes from a defective battery in our computer server room which polluted the air on level four of the office. Officers were evacuated from the immediate area and relevant maintenance contractors contacted. No officers were hurt during the incident and the problem was quickly identified and corrected. AFMA conducted a post incident assessment following this incident noting that the business continuity procedures operated effectively with only minor improvements required.

Project Management Framework

In April 2017, AFMA implemented a new approach to the governance arrangements around projects we undertake. We developed a new strategic delivery framework which supports the delivery of all major projects across the organisation in line with the outcomes of our Annual Operational Plan or corporate plan.

The framework has been developed to support improved governance oversight and increased accuracy in relation to resourcing and managing major project work we undertake. The focus is on detailed planning, reporting and governance. A review Committee, made up of AFMA’s Executive, oversees the delivery of relevant project work.

Development of the framework has provided defined project management processes and systematic reporting. Co-ordination of this function is undertaken through the Committee Secretariat, based in AFMA’s Corporate Risk Team.

Information Management

AFMA has fully implemented an Electronic Documents and Records Management System. All staff have access to the Electronic Documents and Records Management System and have been trained in its use. Training continued with one to one sessions or in small groups being provided for new starters or staff who needed a refresher course. The Electronic Documents and Records Management System has provided opportunities to review some internal current paper based processes and change over to a digital based process.

The Electronic Documents and Records Management System is and will be a key element in the efficient storage, retrieval and use of information in AFMA and an important means of meeting the requirements of the Government’s Digital Continuity 2020 Policy and related standards. The Electronic Documents and Records Management System will also support our objective of utilising more of our digital information to enable more efficient digital service delivery, increasing opportunities for information sharing and to improve business decisions based on good information.

Work has commenced on reviewing the information governance documents such as the framework and policy to ensure that a complete digital recordkeeping environment is achieved within AFMA. Work has also commenced on the development of an information management strategy.

Fraud Control

In February 2017, AFMA finalised a new Fraud Policy which complements the new Fraud Control Plan for 2017–2019. The Fraud Policy applies to AFMA staff (and contractors) and outlines our zero tolerance policy to fraud. AFMA has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures that meet the specific needs of the organisation. These mechanisms and procedures are regularly tested to ensure that they remain relevant and fit for purpose for AFMA. Both the new Policy and Control Plan meet AFMA’s requirements under section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

The Fraud Policy does not apply to fraud committed by parties external to AFMA, such as domestic or foreign fishers operating in the Australian Fishing Zone. The investigation of such fraud is undertaken by investigating officials within AFMA’s Fisheries Operations Branch, or in some cases the Australian Federal Police.

Domestic matters

AFMA investigated 162 new external fraud related matters during 2016–17. These were primarily associated with breaches of the domestic quota management arrangements, failure to fit AFMA’s Vessel Monitoring System, e-monitoring system or have it operating at all times, breaching species trip limits, failure to report interaction/retention of protected or prohibited species, mishandling of bycatch, retaining ‘no-take’ species, unauthorised and unlicensed fishing and failure to accurately complete logbooks. An additional 25 external fraud matters were carried over from the previous year.

We finalised 163 external fraud matters as a result of instituting either administrative or prosecution action. There are still 24 matters currently under investigation, referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, in court or otherwise in the process of finalisation.

Foreign matters

In 2016–17, 15 foreign fishing vessels were apprehended in Australian waters. Six were from Indonesia, one Papua New Guinea and eight from Vietnam. Of the total 192 foreign fishers detained from these vessels, 137 were prosecuted and convicted for offences relating to the illegal use of a foreign fishing vessel in the Australian Fishing Zone. All matters were finalised by 30 June 2017.

Audit and Risk Committee

AFMA’s Audit and Risk Committee provides independent assurance and advice to the Chief Executive Officer and the AFMA Commission on AFMA’s financial reporting, performance monitoring, systems of risk oversight and management and systems of internal control.

For further information on the Audit and Risk Committee see Appendix 1.

Compliance with finance law

In accordance with paragraph 19(1)(e) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 AFMA must include a statement in the annual report on any significant issues reported to the responsible minister that relate to non-compliance with the finance law in relation to the entity. If such a statement has been included in the annual report, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 also requires the annual report to include an outline of the actions taken to remedy the non-compliance.

AFMA’s review of compliance for 2016–17 with finance law (the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and associated rules and instruments) indicates that there are no significant matters that warrant reporting to the minister.

Purchasing

During 2016–17 AFMA has made a concerted effort to review and update our policies and procedures around procurement and contract management to drive improved performance with respect to our responsibilities under the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Our approach to procurement and contract management is based on a self-service model enabling officers at all levels within the organisation to undertake procurement and contract management activities within a clearly defined framework.

The relevant policies, procedures, tools and process maps are all easily accessible on our intranet for staff to utilise. Importantly, a procurement and contract management training package has been developed and delivered across the organisation. To further support procurement and contract management capabilities within AFMA, a Community of Practice has been fostered so that experience can be shared across the agency.

Contracts

ANAO Access clauses

All contracts valued at $100 000 or more (GST inclusive) let during the year allow the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Exempt Contracts

The Chief Executive Officer did not exempt any contracts let during 2016–17 from being published on AusTender on the basis that publication would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Advertising campaigns

AFMA did not conduct any advertising campaigns during the year.

Discretionary grants

AFMA did not administer any grants during the year.

People management

Our employees

As at 30 June 2017, AFMA employed 186 employees (based on head count): 163 were ongoing and 23 were non-ongoing. These numbers do not include six employees on long-term leave.

There were 139 employees located in AFMA’s Canberra office, 23 employees located in the Darwin office, six employees on Thursday Island and one employee in Lakes Entrance undertaking industry liaison. A further 17 casual field observers undertake duties on commercial fishing vessels around Australia.

Our employment profile has not significantly changed from 2015–16. The proportion of part-time employees (excluding casual observers) has decreased slightly to 9.6 per cent in 2016–17 compared to 11.6 per cent in 2015–16.

The proportion of females has increased to 42.4 per cent from 38 per cent in the previous financial year. The percentage of women at EL1–2 levels for 2016–17 has increased to 34.6 per cent from 27 per cent in the previous year.

There has been an increase in the number of employees from non-English speaking backgrounds with ten employees in 2016–17, up from seven in 2015–16.

As a comparison with the 2015–16 financial year, the number of employees who have at least one parent from a non-English speaking background has decreased from 29 to 25 with the number of employees members identifying as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander increasing from four employees to six. In addition, employees who identified themselves as having a disability remained at one in 2016–17.

Equal opportunity profile of AFMA employees as at 30 June 2017

Level

NESB1

NESB2

People with disability

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Women

Men

Total employees at level

APS 2–4

2

5

0

4

24

30

54

APS 5–6

8

13

1

1

37

39

76

EL1

0

5

0

1

13

25

38

EL2

0

0

0

0

5

9

14

SES

0

2

0

0

0

4

4

Total

10

25

1

6

79

107

186

NESB1: Persons from a non-English speaking background who were born overseas.

NESB2: Persons whose parent/s is/are from a non-English speaking background.

Non-ongoing employees employed by location, gender and employment status as at 30 June 2017

Level

Location

Women

Men

Total employees at level

Part time

Full time

Part time

Full time

APS 1–2

Canberra

0

0

12

0

12

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

1

0

0

0

1

APS 3–4

Canberra

0

1

5

0

6

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

APS 5–6

Canberra

1

0

0

2

3

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

EL1

Canberra

0

0

0

0

0

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

EL2

Canberra

0

0

0

1

1

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

SES

Canberra

0

0

0

0

0

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

Total

2

1

17

2

23

* These figures include 17 observers who are engaged as APS 2/3 casual employees and are reported in the Canberra ‘part time’ figures.

Ongoing employees employed by location, gender and employment status as at 30 June 2017

Level

Location

Female

Male

Total employees at level

Part time

Full time

Part time

Full time

APS 1–2

Canberra

0

2

0

0

2

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

APS 3–4

Canberra

4

13

0

8

25

Darwin

0

3

0

4

7

Thursday Island

0

0

0

1

1

APS 5–6

Canberra

7

26

0

24

57

Darwin

0

3

0

11

14

Thursday Island

0

0

0

2

2

EL1

Canberra

4

9

1

23

37

Darwin

0

0

0

0

0

Thursday Island

0

0

0

1

1

EL2

Canberra

0

4

0

7

11

Darwin

0

0

0

1

1

Thursday Island

0

1

0

0

1

SES

Canberra

0

0

0

3

3

Darwin

0

0

0

1

1

Thursday Island

0

0

0

0

0

Total

15

61

1

86

163

This table excludes six employees on long term leave. These figures relate to the nominal occupants of the position and not employees who may be acting as at 30 June 2017. The SES figure also includes AFMA’s CEO. The APS5–6 figure for Canberra includes an officer undertaking industry liaison located in Lakes Entrance.

Terms and conditions of employment

AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016

AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016 came into effect on 23 June 2016 and has a nominal expiry date of 22 June 2019. The agreement states the terms and conditions for all AFMA employees, excluding Senior Executive Service Officers.

Our Enterprise Agreement 2016 contains provisions that enable the CEO and an employee covered by the agreement to enter into an individual flexibility agreements to vary the effect of terms of the agreement. The terms in which an employee may vary under the Enterprise Agreement include (but are not limited to) hours of work, overtime rates, penalty rates, allowances, remuneration and leave.

AFMA entered into 37 individual flexibility agreements for 30 employees during 2016–17 as outlined in the table below. Seven employees entered into multiple agreements therefore the number of agreements is higher than the number of employees.

Individual flexibility agreements for 2016–17

Classification

Number

APS 1

0

APS 2

1

APS 3

2

APS 4

5

APS 5

5

APS 6

9

EL1

13

EL2

2

Remuneration

AFMA’s salary ranges are contained in AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016. The salary minimum and maximum amounts at each classification as at 30 June 2017 are shown in the table below.

Enterprise agreement salary ranges as at 30 June 2017

Classification

Minimum

Maximum

APS 1

$42 981

$50 228

APS 2

$53 850

$57 477

APS 3

$58 945

$64 062

APS 4

$66 619

$71 226

APS 5

$73 419

$77 761

APS 6

$82 100

$90 788

EL1

$100 995

$112 250

EL2

$118 488

$138 139

AFMA does not have performance bonuses.

AFMA’s salary ranges for Senior Executive Service employees (three) are contained in our Executive Remuneration Policy. The salary range amounts as at 30 June 2017 are shown in the table below.

Salary ranges for Senior Executive Service employees

Classification

Minimum

Maximum

SES Bands 1 and 2

$165 529

$232 529

The remuneration of senior executives is determined with reference to the remuneration survey published by the Australian Public Service Commission and is commensurate with the assessed complexity of their work. Senior executives are not eligible for a bonus payments. In addition to the salary ranges above, and as part of their total remuneration package, senior executive officers are also eligible to access other provisions including salary in lieu of a vehicle and car parking. Due to the small numbers of senior executives within AFMA, further breakdown of senior executive remuneration packages is not made available to avoid identification of individuals.

Remuneration for the CEO is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. Details are available from the Remuneration Tribunal website.

AFMA did not make use of any non-salary benefits in 2016–17.

Human resource management

Ethical Standards

In working towards AFMA’s goals and objectives, staff are expected to maintain the highest standards of business and personal ethics. These expectations are underpinned by:

  • APS Code of Conduct
  • APS Values
  • AFMA’s Conduct and Ethics Policy
  • AFMA’s Respect: ensuring a positive workplace culture free from bullying and harassment policy.

Australian Public Service Employee Census

Each year, AFMA employees are invited to participate in the Australian Public Service Commission’s Employee Census. The census gathers feedback and allows us to address specific issues and shape future priorities. For 2017, AFMA’s response rate to this survey was 75 per cent, slightly down from 79 per cent in 2016. This was above the average of the Australian Public Service which saw an overall participation rate of 71 per cent.

Results from the 2016 census (latest available) indicated that we performed well against the areas of workplace culture and agency engagement. The results showed the majority of employees enjoyed working in their current role.

In response to other less positive survey results, AFMA established five key improvement groups with the aim of seeking continuous improvement for the agency in the areas of performance management, health and wellbeing, professional development, recruitment and bullying and harassment. Each of the key improvement groups developed a number of recommendations which resulted in the development of an action item plan.

In accordance with the plan, we have implemented a number of training programs including Mental Health First Aid Training (mandatory for Executive Level employees), Resilience Training, Unconscious Bias, Cultural Effectiveness, Getting that Selection Right (recruitment) and Giving and Receiving Feedback.

A review of the Recruitment and Selection Policy has also taken place with the new policy being implemented from 1 July 2017. The new policy focuses on a streamlined approach to recruitment and the introduction of new templates and advice for selection panels.

AFMA has an ongoing commitment to improve and will continue to implement the action plan in 2017–18.

AFMA Rewards and Recognition Program

The AFMA achievement awards recognise individual and team achievements throughout the year and are determined by the Chief Executive Officer and branch heads upon the recommendation of any member of staff. The awards are presented in a ceremony each year which is hosted by the Chief Executive Officer. We recognise that building a culture that values its employees and recognises performance is critical to retaining the best people. The 2016 achievement awards were presented in December 2016. A total of 23 nominations were received with 18 individual and 5 team nominations.

The individual achievement recipients for 2016 were Ms Natalie Couchman and Mr Don Bromhead. Ms Couchman was recognised for her valuable contribution as a team player who was instrumental in progressing several key initiatives in the Foreign Compliance area. Mr Bromhead was recognised for his exceptional work developing the Ecological Risk Management Guide for fisheries.

The 2016 team achievement award recipient was the Ecological Risk Assessment and Management Team. This team demonstrated its high level of commitment to AFMA’s mission and purpose and is recognised for its work producing the Ecological Risk Management guide. The team’s successful interactions and negotiations with supporting agencies ensured AFMA’s efforts relating to the protection of fish stocks and marine resources were widely acknowledged and supported.

In 2016 AFMA introduced four additional award categories. These were
Unsung Hero, Good Citizenship, Collaboration/Helping/Mentoring and Bright Idea/Creativity.

Mr Luke Lamb received the Unsung Hero award and was recognised for working collaboratively throughout AFMA and providing recruitment services to employees.

Mr Scott Connors received the Good Citizenship award and was recognised for embodying all the characteristics of good citizenship and providing support across the agency.

Mr Brendan Rayner received the Collaboration/Helping/Mentoring award and was recognised for providing exceptional leadership and for his positive influence across AFMA.

Mr Andrew Powell received the Bright Idea/Creativity award and was recognised for driving the red tape reduction process over a number of years.

At the same ceremony, AFMA recognised 21 employees who have contributed more than ten of service to AFMA and two employees who had provided twenty years of service.

Officers receiving ten year awards.

Officers receiving ten year awards. Photo courtesy: AFMA

Each year AFMA offers employees the opportunity to nominate for an annual development award. The intention of the awards is to recognise and reward performance on the part of the individual whilst providing an opportunity for personal development that ultimately benefits both the individual and AFMA. We awarded development awards which supported employees to attend:

  • the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society International Symposium of Forensic Sciences (Auckland, New Zealand),
  • the Eighth International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference
    (San Diego, United States of America)
  • a Certificate IV course in Human Resources (Sydney, Australia)
  • HR Vision and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Annual Conference and Exhibition (United Kingdom)
  • CFO Rising Conference (Singapore).

Performance management

All employees are required to participate in AFMA’s Performance and Development Scheme. The scheme ensures that:

  • employees know what is expected of them
  • individual and AFMA goals are aligned
  • employees receive continuing feedback and improvement advice
  • employees identify, plan and deliver on areas for individual learning, capability and career development.

To support the performance management process, we offered a range of training programs, including Giving and Receiving Feedback, Resilience in
the Workplace and the AFMA Leadership and Talent Management Program
to assist employees successfully undertake the requirements of the scheme.

Training and development

AFMA continued to invest in the learning and development of all employees through a range of in-house learning and development programs, including formal induction for all new employees.

Our 2016–17 corporate training plan clearly articulated our approach to learning and development. The plan identified a number of development priorities through capability plans submitted by employees, input from our Executive group and the Women in AFMA committee, along with those identified from results of the 2016 APS Employee Census and subsequent recommendations from the Key Improvement Working Groups.

AFMA provided in-house courses on 13 occasions during 2016–17 in accordance with the corporate training plan. These courses were attended by 144 employees in total (with some attending more than one course) and covered a range of issues including leadership, recruitment practices, mental health, behavioural profiling, resilience, giving and receiving feedback, unconscious bias, cultural effectiveness and a mentoring program.

A highlight this year was the completion of the mentoring program in June 2017. AFMA partnered with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to offer Canberra based employees a collaborative Mentoring Program which took place over 12 months. There were 25 participants from AFMA who were required to have regular meetings with their mentors/mentees in addition to attending three workshops which focused on:

  • Personal Development
  • Building Confidence
  • Leadership.

Through this program, mentees were able to obtain guidance from their mentors and broaden their understanding of organisational issues and approaches. Mentors were able to gain insight into current issues for employees at lower levels and look at a different perspective on issues that may be facing them. Both mentors and mentees were provided the opportunity to develop skills in coaching and building relationships.

Study Assistance Program

AFMA’s study assistance program assists employees to pursue studies that are directly related to our business, including assistance in the form of funding and/or study leave. In 2016–17, the program supported eight employees for studies in various areas including applied science, communications, commerce, government investigations and legal studies.

Employment programs

2016 Graduate Development Program

AFMA partners with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in recruitment and delivery of the Graduate Development Program. The program includes a combination of on-the-job-training, mentoring, a one week industry visit and a formal training program. AFMA engaged one graduate in 2016 who completed the following rotations:

  • Rotation 1 – Northern Fisheries Section (AFMA)
  • Rotation 2 – Human Resources Section (Department of Agriculture and Waters Resources)
  • Rotation 3 – Communications Section (AFMA).

We also hosted two graduates from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources during the second rotation.

Australian Public Service Commission Indigenous Traineeship Program

In focusing on building a more diverse workforce, AFMA participated in the Australian Public Service Commission Indigenous Traineeship Program (Trainee Program). The Trainee Program is an entry level employment program for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are interested in working in the Australian Public Service. It provides a structured introduction to the skills and knowledge necessary to commence a rewarding career in the Service. We engaged an employee under the program in February 2016 who undertook a combination of on-the-job-training, mentoring and formal training. The trainee completed the Trainee Program in February 2017 and graduated with a Certificate IV in Government.

Stepping Into Program

The Stepping Into Program is an internship designed specifically for university students with a disability. In 2016 AFMA hosted one university student for paid work experience during the winter university break. The internship was undertaken within the Tuna and International Fisheries Section. The project involved researching the history of seabird catches and management changes in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery over the last 15 years and the success story of mitigating seabird bycatch in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery.

The program is coordinated through the Australian Network on Disability and has been well received within AFMA.

Australian National University Internships Program

The Australian National Internships Program gives undergraduate and postgraduate students an opportunity to work with Commonwealth agencies. During 2016–17, AFMA hosted one student who contributed to the following project – the examination of policy and operational practices that key overseas fishery management agencies use to encourage reduced discarding of commercial species.

Diversity

AFMA continued its commitment to build and provide opportunities for women as future leaders within the agency. The Women in AFMA Group is championed and chaired by Dr Nick Rayns, Executive Manager Fisheries Management Branch, and includes staff from a range of classification levels.

In recognition of the 2017 International Women’s Day, AFMA partnered with the Murray Darling Basin Authority to present an all staff event. We were extremely honoured to welcome the following speakers:

  • Katrina Cooper from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) who spoke about DFAT’s "Women in Leadership Strategy"
  • Her Excellency Mrs Menna Rawlings CMG, British High Commissioner who gave her insights on Women in Diplomacy – Look How Far We’ve Come
  • Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, who shared some of her experiences and insights.

During the year AFMA extended the opportunity for a number of employees to attend a variety of workshops focussing on women’s issues and diversity in general. These workshops included:

  • YWCA She Leads Conference 2017
  • Women in Leadership Summit 2016
  • Cultural Effectiveness Training
  • Unconscious Bias Training
  • AHRI Inclusion and Diversity Conference 2017.