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Our workforce

Workforce planning

During 2014–15 the human resources team worked with line managers to better understand operational workforce issues and to continue to implement actions from the strategic plan. We continued to implement the revised organisational structure taking into account the transition from developing the Basin Plan to implementing it.

We also continued to manage the availability of resources given the controlled recruitment arrangements which applied to all Australian Public Service agencies. These arrangements remained in place for 2014–15 although there were some changes part way through the year.

The arrangements included maximising the use of existing Australian Public Service staff and reduced our capacity to employ new staff without specific approvals. The MDBA actively considered redeployment arrangements through the processes coordinated by the Australian Public Service Commission. We also sought approval for external advertising from the Australian Public Service Commission on one occasion due to the specific skills that were needed for the position.

Our entry-level cadetship and graduate programs remain critical for the MDBA. We increased the size of our graduate intake from five to eight with employment decisions made on the basis of emerging skill requirements.

The MDBA actively participated in the Australian Public Service Commission's service-wide recruitment efforts to attract Indigenous graduates, cadets and trainees but was not successful in employing any Indigenous employees through these programs despite making one offer to an Indigenous graduate. We were also not able to employ an Indigenous trainee through our participation in the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program coordinated by the departments of employment and education.

The human resources team began developing the replacement strategic workforce plan, utilising the preliminary outcomes from developing the MDBA's strategic plan. We will continue to develop the new workforce plan in 2015–16 using the contemporary workforce planning guidelines and job family model developed by the Australian Public Service Commission.

Australia Day achievement awards

Australia Day award for Robert Wilson, Senior Assets Engineer, River Mangement DivisionAustralia Day award for Robert Wilson, Senior Assets Engineer, River Mangement Division

The MDBA recognises high performance by individual employees and teams. The Australia Day Awards are hosted by the Chief Executive annually and are a formal way to celebrate outstanding achievements and acknowledge employee performance. We recognise that building a culture that values its employees and recognises and rewards outstanding performance is a critical element in attracting and retaining the best people.

In 2015 awards were presented at an all staff meeting to celebrate Australia Day. A total of 13 nominations were received with 8 individual and 5 team nominations.

Individual recipients were Brayden Dykes, Matthew O'Brien, Jeannette Pucci, Robert Wilson and Rob Kingham. Team awards recognised the water resource plan policy team, the legal section, the environmental water planning and implementation teams, the constraints management taskforce, and the physical constraints team.

Determining senior executive service employee remuneration

The MDBA had 12 senior executive service employees at 30 June 2015, which does not include the Chief Executive who is employed as a statutory office holder.

Rates of pay for senior executive service employees are set by the Chief Executive after consultation with individual employees and in accordance with the senior executive service remuneration policy. All senior executive service employees are covered by determinations made under Section 24 (1) of the Public Service Act 1999. Salary increases are linked with general staff increases available through the Enterprise Agreement. As such, no Senior Executive Service remuneration increases were applied in 2014–15 as the MDBA had not negotiated a replacement Enterprise Agreement by 30 June 2015.

Performance pay

Senior executive service and non-senior executive service employees are not eligible for performance pay. However, a non-senior executive service employee at the top, or penultimate increment point, in their salary range may be eligible for one-off bonus as a result of achieving an 'outstanding' performance rating at the end of the performance cycle.

Individual non-senior executive service terms and conditions

In certain circumstances, and where appropriate, terms and employment conditions may be agreed to make an individual flexibility arrangement between the Chief Executive and a non-senior executive service employee.

Enterprise agreement

The Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014. The Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 has no facility for general salary increases after 1 July 2013 although incremental advancement linked to suitable levels of performance is available to all staff up to the maximum of the salary range for their classification.

Following the release of the Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy on 28 March 2014, the MDBA formally commenced consultation and bargaining with employee representatives in May 2014 to develop a replacement Enterprise Agreement. The bargaining team held 14 meetings during 2014–15 following two initial meetings in 2013–14.

Significant progress was achieved by the bargaining representatives throughout the year in identifying productivity offsets and potential content for the replacement Enterprise Agreement that would meet the requirements of the bargaining policy. In June 2015, MDBA tabled a comprehensive and affordable remuneration proposal and draft replacement Enterprise Agreement for discussion with staff for further bargaining.

As at 30 June 2015, no formal offer had been put to staff for consideration. Negotiations will continue in 2015–16 to finalise and achieve a replacement Enterprise Agreement.

Staffing profile

The following tables and figures summarise MDBA staffing statistics for 2014–15.

Table 3.2 MDBA staff by employment agreement as at 30 June 2015






Enterprise agreement





Non-SES individual flexibility agreements





SES individuals s. 24 (1) determinations





Chief Executive










Note: The Chair and the other four part-time members of the Authority are not included.

Figure 3.1 shows the number of staff employed at the different levels in the organisation, as well as the number of males and females employed at each level. The proportion of female staff remained similar to last year at around 55%. There was a slight increase in the number of female staff at the SES level.

Graph showing number of male and female employees at different levels in the MDBA: APS1 1 female; APS2 2 females, 1 male; APS3 7 females, 5 males; APS4 19 females, 4 males; APS5 34 females, 9 males; APS6 46 females, 33 males; EL1 40 females, 42 males; EL2 13 females, 34 males; SES 4 females, 8 males; CE 1 female

Figure 3.1 MDBA classification profile by gender, as at 30 June 2015

Table 3.3 Number of ongoing and non-ongoing staff from 2010–11 to 2014–15






Ongoing staff






Non-ongoing staff












Figure 3.2 shows that the highest proportion of staff are in the 35 to 44 age range. The number of staff under 25 has increased slightly from last year, and the number of staff in the other age categories has decreased slightly.

Circular diagram showing ages of MDBA staff: 14 under 25, 67 aged 25–34, 101 aged 35–44, 77 aged 45–54; 38 aged 55–64, 6 aged 65 plus

Figure 3.2 Age profile of MDBA staff, as at 30 June 2015


There has been minimal recruitment in 2014–15 due to the interim recruitment arrangements for the Australian Public Service which commenced on the 31 October 2013. As a result of these arrangements we advertised only 13 ongoing roles mainly to staff already employed in the Australian Public Service. Approval was granted to advertise one ongoing vacancy to all members of the public.

As a result of the interim recruitment arrangements, all non-ongoing contracts and extensions less than 3 months were being determined by the agency head and for periods of employment 6 months or greater, continued to be advertised to ongoing MDBA and Australian Public Service employees through an expression of interest.

The human resources team continues to improve the MDBA induction modules, recruitment guidelines and new starter application packs to provide employees with comprehensive information on conditions of employment and the Australian Public Service Commission frameworks.

Our 2015 graduates

52995.pngOur 2015 graduates are (from left to right) Sean, Amy, Kyra, Matthew, Will, Beatrix, David and Jenny. They have diverse qualifications including environmental engineering, economics, law, sciences (environmental, geoscience, applied, social, chemistry, ecology, botany), environmental management and business management (photo by Brayden Dykes, MDBA).

Graduate program

The MDBA was voted 25th in the Australian Association of Graduate Employers' top 75 graduate employers for 2015. This positioned the MDBA in the top four Australian Public Service agencies, as voted by graduates. This listing is based on feedback from graduates about the program and the support provided by the employer. This is a clear indication that the MDBA values and supports our graduates.

Five graduates completed the Australian Public Service Commission's whole-of government graduate development program in December 2014, gaining a Diploma of Government.

Eight graduates began the MDBA's structured 11-month graduate program in February 2015, which provides graduates with exposure to the MDBA's broad range of work.

The 2015 MDBA graduates continue to participate in the Australian Public Service Commission Graduate Development Program. Graduates are supported in their professional development through a mentoring program and provided with additional training, including in-house seminars and a field trip, arranged by the graduates. The training is designed to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge they will need to make a meaningful contribution to the MDBA and the Australian Public Service.

The field trip is an opportunity for graduates to further develop their understanding of MDBA's responsibilities and activities. For the 2014 trip, the graduates arranged visits to industry, agriculture, state government, local government and non-government organisations. The group presented their findings in the internal seminar series.

The MDBA continued to engage with the Australian Public Service's Pathways and Indigenous Australian Government Development Programs and participated in the graduate employment careers fairs.


We continue to support equity and diversity within the workplace through our workplace diversity program, the Indigenous employment strategy, and disability strategy. Figure 3.3, see page 114, shows the percentage of staff by equal opportunity group from 2010 to 2015.

Graph showing percent of people in equal opportunity groups from 2010 to 2015: 2010–11 53 females, 12 non-English speaking background, 0.3 Indigenous, 2 people with a disability; 2011–12 55 females, 21 non-English speaking background, 0 Indigenous, 3 people with a disability; 2012–13 50 females, 13 non-English speaking background, 0 Indigenous, 3 people with a disability; 2013–14 53 females, 3.6 non-English speaking background, 0 Indigenous, 1.7 people with a disability; 2014–15 55.2 females, 7.3 non-English speaking background, 0.3 Indigenous, 2 people with a disability

Figure 3.3 Percent of MDBA staff by equal employment opportunity group 2010–11 to 2014–15

We are committed to embracing the principles of equity and diversity in our daily business by providing an inclusive work environment that is fair, harmonious and safe and offers opportunities for all employees to achieve their full potential.

The MDBA is actively involved in all Australian Public Service pathways entry level programs particularly as a means to engage Indigenous graduates, trainees and cadets. During 2014–15 we participated in the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program to attract Indigenous employees. The program offers a 15 month development opportunity for Indigenous trainees while they complete a Diploma of Government. The MDBA will aim to engage trainees through this program in 2015–16.

We continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal Nations throughout the Murray–Darling Basin. During Reconciliation Action week 2014, we launched the process to begin developing our first Reconciliation Action Plan. Since 2006 Reconciliation Australia has assisted Australian public and private sector organisations to develop meaningful and practical plans to help develop relationships, show respect and increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2014–15 a working group was established to build the content of the reconciliation action plan. The approved plan 'Strengthening connections' will be launched during NAIDOC week in early July 2015.

An updated MDBA Indigenous employment strategy 2015–20 will also be launched during NAIDOC week in early July 2015.


The MDBA's disability strategy and action plan identifies strategies and support measures that assist people with a disability to access our programs, policies and information.

We continue our commitment to provide people with disability the same access to information and opportunities to participate and contribute to our workplace and our programs as the rest of the community.

The MDBA complies with the Australian Government accessibility requirements for online access and publishing, and we are proactive in recruitment processes by using assistive technology, furniture and equipment to assist employees with their duties.

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Updated: 15 Jan 2016