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Secretary’s foreword

I am pleased to introduce the first Strategic Plan for the Department of Employment.

This plan brings all of our work together to illustrate how the Department will deliver on the Government’s priorities, how we will work together and how we will build our own departmental culture.

It is the result of the work of many contributors from across the Department and is a truly collaborative effort.

We are a Department that delivers on the Government’s agenda and its priorities. In the following pages you will see the Government’s priorities for this portfolio, the actions we will take to deliver on them and how we will measure and be accountable for our performance.

We are a Department that is forward looking and that strives to be innovative in everything we do. We identify risks, emerging trends and opportunities. We look for creative solutions to challenges and we are on the front foot with our advice to Government.

We are a Department that collaborates meaningfully across the APS, with our non-APS partners and with our contracted providers. We build and maintain relationships and we work together to achieve the outcomes that deliver on the Government’s commitments.

And importantly, we are a Department where people are at the core of our business. Critical to our business is an engaged and capable workforce. This is achieved through continuous learning, effective delegation and support and feedback. We are strengthened through our diversity and experience and we want our people to achieve a healthy work life balance.

Our work is important and challenging, and together we are building a high performing and engaging place to work so that we can effectively serve the Government and the community.

Renée Leon
30 April 2014

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Our vision

More jobs. Great workplaces.

Employment is central to the Australian way of life. Having a job provides financial security throughout life, enabling choice of investment in housing, education and health. As well as providing financial security, having a job can enhance self-esteem, social skills and self-confidence.

We want every Australian to have the opportunity to get ahead and build a better life for themselves and their families; and for employers to have confidence to grow their businesses and hire new employees.

A great workplace is a productive workplace, where people contribute to the best of their ability and skills, and are able to do their jobs safely. In a productive workplace employees and managers are engaged and motivated to look for better ways to do their work. As well as being good places to work, these workplaces are generally more efficient and profitable.

This vision is built on the Government’s plans for stronger economic growth. By providing good advice on policies that will create jobs, helping job seekers into work and encouraging great workplaces, we build Australia’s participation and productivity.

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More jobs

A productive and competitive labour market through employment policies and programmes that increase Australia’s workforce participation

Our strategies:

  • Ensure Australia’s employment services are delivering what large and small employers need, and work with employers to help job seekers into real and lasting jobs
  • Work with employment services providers to ensure that job seekers are given the support they need to become competitive in the labour market
  • Tailor our approach to the circumstances of different locations and lead the Government’s responses to structural and labour market change.

Our priorities:

  • Support the Government’s agenda for jobs growth through effective employment services and incentives for the unemployed and employers to sustain long-term outcomes.
  • Employment 2015 - provide advice to the Government on the design of the new employment services model which is due to be introduced when the current Job Services Australia contracts expire on 30 June 2015. Central to the design of the new model will be the Government’s commitment to re-invigorate Mutual Obligation through strengthening Work for the Dole.
  • Reduce red tape for employment services providers.

Great workplaces

Facilitate jobs growth through policies that promote fair, productive and safe workplaces

Our strategies:

  • Facilitate jobs growth through a balanced and fair workplace relations framework that boosts productive, safe and fair workplaces and reduces barriers to employment.
  • Encourage Australian businesses to build productive and fair workplaces by promoting enterprise bargaining and focussing on workplace leadership involving managers and workers.
  • Promote good policy and national uniformity in workplace health and safety standards to reduce red tape for national employers.
  • Lead the Department’s involvement in whole-of-government strategies to promote economic and social participation.
  • Engage with relevant international organisations such as the International Labour Organization and the OECD to promote Australia’s national interests.
  • Work with our portfolio agencies to implement these strategies.

Our priorities:

  • Develop legislation to reform the integrity, productivity and effectiveness of the workplace relations system, including amending the Fair Work Act 2009 in line with the Government’s commitments
  • Contribute our high quality workplace relations and economic strategy expertise to the Productivity Commission review of the Fair Work Act 2009 with a focus on ensuring the workplace relations system maximises productivity and employment
  • Support workers to obtain their entitlements when companies fail
  • Reduce red tape for employers.

Enabling the Department

A strong and effective network and corporate function which works collaboratively with partners to build capability, support delivery and enhance accountability to ensure the positive reputation of the Department

State Network

The Department has a presence in all capital cities as well as regional centres.

The Network:

  • manages contracted service providers
  • engages with local stakeholders and partners to coordinate and implement local services
  • in partnership with National Office, works to ensure effective responses to local, regional and state or territory priorities.


Our corporate areas provide strategic advice and high quality services and support to each of the business areas to enable them to deliver the Department’s goals. To achieve this, our corporate areas:

  • understand the Department’s business and are responsive and solutions focused
  • are forward looking, anticipate business needs and identify opportunities for improvement
  • support the Department to achieve good governance and be accountable
  • build and maintain the Department’s capability and systems.

Shared services

The Department has entered into an innovative arrangement with the Department of Education with each Department contributing people and other resources into a new Shared Services Centre that maximises the effective use of our transactional and operational corporate resources. Each Department has its own corporate areas to provide services not covered by the Shared Services Centre and they work jointly to deliver seamless corporate services to the Department.

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We are forward looking

We will retain and strengthen our position as the primary source of policy advice on workplace relations and employment to the Government and we will be on the front foot with our advice.

Using the Department’s expertise in workplace relations, labour market and economic strategy, we will strengthen the Department’s reputation for successful design of government programmes and sound policy advice based on evidence.

We will be open to new ideas, encourage a broad perspective and support innovation to identify new solutions with our key partners across the APS and externally.

We will identify risks, emerging trends and opportunities to inform our thinking and be flexible, adaptable and strategic.

We will maintain and strengthen policy capability in our people through the People and Capability Strategy and through national and international research and collaboration with our policy partners and we will adapt our workforce profile to match our strategic requirements.

Through ongoing review and evaluation, we will continually seek to learn and improve our policy and programme advice to our ministers, and to improve our performance.

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We collaborate

By collaborating and building positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders we develop strategic approaches and deliver on our priorities.

We work together and we build and maintain relationships. We share our knowledge and expertise with others, and we value what others can contribute to our work.

We take a collegiate approach with central and other APS agencies and our non-APS partners including our contracted agencies, peak bodies, ministerial forums and state and territory governments to achieve broader government objectives and to reduce red tape.

To improve our efficiency and resource management, we share a number of our corporate resources with the Department of Education through the Shared Services Centre.

We work collaboratively with our portfolio agencies.

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People are at the core of our business

Our people are central to the Department’s ability to support the Government, our ministers and the community. They uphold and promote the APS values and Code of Conduct, demonstrate leadership and take personal responsibility. These approaches, values and behaviours define the Department’s culture.

To maintain and strengthen this we will focus on the following priorities.

A positive culture

A culture that embraces our vision and values, develops good leaders, helps to create our identity and guides the way we work to support the Department to deliver on our priorities.

An engaged workforce

People who are productive, have a clear understanding of how their work contributes to achieving the Government’s goals, and feel valued.

A capable workforce

People who have the capabilities they need to work effectively, deliver the Government’s priorities, and understand that effort and achievement are rewarded.

An innovative workforce

People who continually learn and explore new ways of thinking and working.

An adaptive, responsive workforce

A workforce that has developed both specialised and broad skills, and readily adapts and responds as demands require.

We will collaborate and work with our people to:

  • deliver on the commitments outlined in our People and Capability Strategy
  • demonstrate the leadership behaviours we commit to through our Leadership Statement
  • communicate with and involve our people in everything we do
  • value the diversity, experience and contribution of our people.

APS values

We commit to the APS values.


We are apolitical and provide the Government with advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence.

Committed to service

We are professional, objective and efficient, and work collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government.


We are open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of ministerial responsibility.


We respect all people, including their rights and their heritage.


We demonstrate leadership, are trustworthy, and act with integrity in all that we do.

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Indigenous Business is Our Business

We contribute to the Government’s priority of getting more Indigenous Australians into work to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. To enable Indigenous Australians to share equally in our vision of more jobs and great workplaces we will:

  • build the knowledge, awareness and cultural capability of our staff
  • support the recruitment, retention and career development of our Indigenous staff
  • deliver policy and programmes that achieve strong outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Our commitment to reconciliation

Success in our Indigenous business is underpinned by our commitment to achieving reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community. We are refreshing our commitment and will measure our progress in building respectful relationships and greater understanding through a Reconciliation Action Plan that recognises our individual and organisational contributions.

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Performance and accountability

We operate within a governance framework established in legislation, with direct accountability to ministers, the Parliament and the Australian people

Our governance framework and committees provide effective leadership and stewardship of the Department to ensure:

  • our objectives are met
  • risks are managed appropriately
  • decisions are made effectively
  • resources are used responsibly
  • we operate with integrity
  • there is transparency and accountability.

We have systems in place to mitigate fraud and risk. We conduct internal audit processes, organisational benchmarking and stakeholder satisfaction surveys.

Measuring our success

We measure our success through key performance indicator reporting in our Portfolio Budget Statements, annual reports, People and Capability Strategy, Reconciliation Action Plan and the annual APS Staff Census. This will be supported through the implementation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

We also seek feedback from our ministers, our staff and other stakeholders including our contracted service providers.

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A living document

This plan is put into action through annual business plans for clusters, groups and branches which link directly to the work of individuals through their Individual Performance and Development plans. This means everyone in the Department can identify their contribution to our vision
More jobs. Great workplaces.

This plan will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure we are responding to changing priorities while continuing to deliver high quality programmes and services.

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