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Senior management committees

During the year senior management committees continued to provide advice and assurance to the Chief Executive and to manage cross-agency aspects of our business.

Executive Committee

The MDBA's Executive Committee, chaired by the Chief Executive, is the key forum in which cross-agency issues on policy and corporate governance are discussed. The committee meets on a weekly basis and comprises the executive directors of our four divisions (policy and planning; environmental management; river management; and corporate and business services), the General Manager, Communications, Engagement, Research and Compliance; and the Director Media and Chair Support.

Three sub-committees report to the Executive:

  • the Information Management and Technology Committee, which provides strategic direction and governance for MDBA's information and technology management
  • the Budget and Reporting Committee, which oversees the financial management and corporate reporting aspects of the MDBA
  • the People, Communications and Culture Committee, which focuses on all aspects of the MDBA's organisational culture, learning and development initiatives, performance management and recruitment strategies. It also oversees internal communications.

During 2014–15 the Executive Committee considered strategic and critical management issues such as:

  • implementing the Basin Plan, including publishing the first Basin-wide environmental watering strategy and the start of new water trade rules
  • publishing the first full-year Basin Plan annual effectiveness report
  • establishing the Southern Connected Basin Environmental Watering Committee
  • developing and trialling the method to assess proposed sustainable diversion limit adjustments
  • completing and commissioning all water management structures under The Living Murray program
  • compliance and water resource planning policy positions
  • preparing a reconciliation action plan
  • negotiating the new enterprise agreement
  • developing an ICT strategy and ICT enterprise architecture.

Information Management and Technology Committee

The Information Management Committee advises on, and provides strategic direction for our information management and information technology initiatives. It also discusses and endorses major projects which have information management or information technology components or impacts. The major focus of the committee has been developing the enterprise information strategy to position and provide direction for our information management and technology.

The committee is chaired by the General Manager Policy and Coordination, and the Chief Information Officer. Its membership includes two additional senior executive service officers who have backgrounds in strategic ICT issues.

Health and Safety Committee

The Health and Safety Committee operates in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and meets quarterly to oversee work health and safety matters across the MDBA. In 2014–15 the committee met in July, November, March and June. Committee members include: health and safety representatives from MDBA work groups, a representative from the Employee Consultative Committee, Director People, Planning and Performance, the Chief Emergency Warden and the Work Health and Safety Coordinator. The Chair for 2014–15 was the General Manager, Constraints Management.

Work health and safety issues considered by the committee during the year included:

  • health and wellbeing activities and targeted programs to increase employee wellbeing such as staff education and awareness, flu vaccinations and health testing during safety month
  • enhancing arrangements to comply with the new work health and safety legislative framework
  • new and revised policies, procedures and guidelines, including rehabilitation policy, sit-stand work arrangements, testing and tagging electrical appliances, rural, regional and remote travel arrangements and safe work practices guidelines
  • documentation of the rehabilitation management system and auditing against standards issued by Comcare
  • compensation and non-compensation rehabilitation issues and statistics
  • strategies to reduce the incidence and impact of musculo-skeletal disorders and psychosocial injury issues including awareness raising and ergonomic assessments and provision of aids and support
  • workplace inspections and workplace incident and injury reports
  • analysis of trends and statistics by the employee assistance provider
  • reports from first aid officers, emergency wardens and harassment contact officers
  • accommodation issues with work health and safety implications
  • dealing with specific workplace issues such as reactions to potential allergens in the workplace.

Employee Consultative Committee

The Employee Consultative Committee is established under the MDBA Enterprise Agreement 2011–14. Despite passing the nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014, the MDBA Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 remains in place until a replacement agreement is negotiated. The committee continued to meet throughout 2014–15 in August, November, December, February and May.

The Employee Consultative Committee provides a forum for:

  • staff consultation and input into the decision-making process in relation to changes to existing policies, guidelines or procedures or developing new policies, guidelines or procedures referred to in the Enterprise Agreement
  • consultation and agreement prior to the Chief Executive commencing a formal variation process under the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to changes in any current conditions or entitlements included in the Enterprise Agreement
  • providing advice to the Chief Executive on matters arising from the operation of the Enterprise Agreement.

The committee comprises an elected employee representative from each division, three elected employee organisation representatives (from Professionals Australia, the Community and Public Sector Union, and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance), the Chief Executive and two other management representatives. The committee meets quarterly to facilitate communication, consultation and cooperation with employees on matters affecting the workplace and the operation of the Enterprise Agreement. Additional meetings can be scheduled to address any significant issues that arise. An additional meeting was held in December 2014 to facilitate discussion on broadbanding and professional job streams.

During 2014–15 the committee reviewed workplace-related MDBA policies, staff accommodation, organisational restructuring, response to the state of the service employee census results and the implementation of initiatives and commitments contained in the Enterprise Agreement.

With negotiation of a replacement enterprise agreement beginning in May 2014, the review of the majority of human resources policies linked to the enterprise agreement was put on hold unless changes to legislation, or other arrangements, necessitated changes. The committee also worked cooperatively with the Health and Safety Committee to develop and implement several work health safety policies following consultation.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee was established by the Chief Executive under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 to provide independent advice and assurance to the Chief Executive. The committee's functions include reviewing the appropriateness of our:

  • financial reporting
  • performance reporting
  • system of risk oversight and management
  • system of internal control.

The Audit Committee met five times during 2014–15, in September, October and December 2014, and in March and June 2015. The meeting held in October 2014 was a short meeting held specifically to consider and recommend our 2013–14 financial statements to the Chief Executive for signature.

The committee's membership remained constant during the year, with the exception of the Deputy Chair David Dreverman who completed his term of appointment on 30 March 2015, and the appointment of Colin Mues for the period 1 June to 30 June 2015. The committee membership and meeting attendance was:

  • Jenny Morison (Chair and independent member) — 5 meetings
  • David Dreverman (Deputy Chair until 30 March 2015) — 4 meetings
  • Russell James (member) — 3 meetings
  • Jo Kneebone (member) — 2 meetings
  • Colin Mues (member 1 June to 30 June 2015) — 1 meeting.

The committee considered financial management and reporting at each of its meetings. Particular attention was paid to the new Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 compliance reporting requirements as well as management of financial risks.

The committee considered the MDBA's system of risk oversight and management, at all but its October 2014 meeting, and considered and provided input into the completely revised MDBA risk management framework and policy. The committee also considered and provided advice in relation to the 2015–16 MDBA risk management plan, reviewed the revised business continuity policy and business continuity plan and received reports on the implementation of actions in the fraud control plan. The committee was advised of one fraud incident during the year.

The committee introduced a process for receiving reports on ICT matters at its regular meetings. This included reporting on information management and ICT disaster recovery arrangements.

The committee received a report from consultants at its June 2015 meeting on the work they are doing to assist the MDBA to implement the enhanced Australian Government performance framework and the regulator performance framework.

The committee also considered the MDBA's systems of internal control (including policies and procedures, delegations and authorisations, and legislation) and activities to monitor compliance with the internal control framework. The committee will further consider and monitor the internal control compliance framework in 2015–16.

The committee continued to review internal audit reports and the implementation of audit recommendations and was pleased to note a reduction in the number of outstanding audit recommendations over the year. Three internal audit reports were reviewed (information management, South Australian Riverland Floodplain Integrated Infrastructure Program, and conflict of interest). The committee recommended to the Chief Executive changes to the process for reviewing and approving internal audit reports, as well as changes in the internal audit plan for 2014–15 and the draft internal audit plan for 2015–16.

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Updated: 18 Jan 2016