Management and accountability
Austrade, a statutory agency within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio, is a prescribed agency subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Public Service Act 1999. Austrade has an executive management governance structure headed by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Austrade’s corporate governance framework supports achievement of the agency’s stated objectives, deliverables and key performance indicators in an ethical, efficient and effective manner. The framework provides a mature system for managing risk (internal controls), human and financial resources, and planning and assurance processes.
The CEO is responsible to the Minister for Trade and Investment for Austrade’s performance. The CEO is assisted in his role by an Executive Group, an Audit and Risk Committee, an Ethics Committee and a number of internal management committees (Table 18, see page 137). Both the Audit and Risk Committee and the Ethics Committee have independent chairpersons, and the Audit and Risk Committee has an additional independent member.
Austrade continues to take steps to ensure its practices comply with the anti-bribery provisions in section 70 of the Australian Criminal Code, as well as Australian and international law and Austrade policy. Initiatives include mandatory training for all staff on ethical standards and legal obligations. Staff receive this training on commencement with Austrade, before overseas postings, and in regular face-to-face anti-bribery workshops.
Austrade has collaborated with state and territory governments and other Australian Government agencies on the development of anti-bribery material and has given anti-bribery presentations to business and industry groups nationally and internationally. In August 2013, Austrade’s CEO presented at the International Commercial Law and Arbitration Conference in Sydney on Austrade’s role in promoting trade and investment in compliance with the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions.
Austrade is also working with business groups, chambers of commerce and other organisations on anti-bribery outreach programmes and actively supports the work of international organisations like the OECD and Transparency International.
Austrade continues to remind Australian businesses operating in international markets of their ethical and legal obligations under Australian law.
The OECD’s 2012 report on bribery required Austrade to raise awareness of the risk of bribery, the risk of facilitation payments and the importance of a proper compliance programme among the business community. Austrade was specifically required to warn of the issues and potential risks involved in the use of foreign agents. In response, lawyers from Austrade’s legal unit met with clients and businesses through business chambers and in private sessions in a number of countries in Southeast Asia, disseminating information on the latest issues and risk mitigation strategies advised by the Australian Government. Refresher courses were also provided to Austrade staff on the risks that working in corrupt markets pose to the Government.
Corporate Governance Forum
Austrade is a member of the Corporate Governance Forum, an initiative it originally developed in 2009, which aims to assist Australian Government agencies to achieve best practice in governance through the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Agencies hosted four forum meetings during the year covering the following topics:
- governance in action—Department of Human Services’ governance and preparations for the commencement of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) on 1 July 2014
- governance committees and briefings
- progress of the PGPA Act and Governance Better Practice Guide
- parliament governance and accountability.
The independent chair of Austrade’s Audit and Risk Committee, David Lawler, presented at the November 2013 forum on governance committees and briefings.
Austrade has benefited from maintaining an active role in the forum’s organising committee and continues to participate in the forum to further enhance its own risk culture, refine its audit practices and improve its corporate policy framework.
Chief Executive Officer
The CEO has overall responsibility for the management of Austrade and reports directly to the Minister for Trade and Investment. The functions and duties of the CEO are established through the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985.
The Minister for Trade and Investment may give the CEO directions with respect to the performance of his functions and the exercise of powers. No ministerial directions were issued in 2013–14.
Austrade’s Executive Group
Austrade’s Executive Group considers key management issues, strategic priorities, and corporate, operational and divisional plans, as well as corporate policy and operational issues, and provides advice to the CEO. The group’s members are: Austrade’s CEO (chair); executive directors; Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer; and Assistant General Manager, Strategy, Governance and Media. The Executive Group met 35 times in 2013–14.
To increase the opportunity for women to participate in high-level decision-making within Austrade, the CEO invited two high-potential Australia-based female staff members to attend Executive Group meetings (one Senior Executive Service employee and one non–Senior Executive Service employee, to be rotated every 12 months). Deborah Lewis, General Manager, Tourism, and Cheryl Stanilewicz, State Director, Queensland, have attended Executive Group meetings since December 2013.
Bruce Gosper—Chief Executive Officer
Responsible for the management of Austrade and reports directly to the Minister for Trade and Investment.
Bruce has been Austrade’s CEO since 1 February 2013. From 2009 until his appointment to Austrade, Bruce was a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he was the Australian Government’s senior trade policy official, responsible for all trade negotiations. Bruce has worked extensively on the Government’s trade and commercial relationships, both in Australia and overseas, during his more than 30 years of government service.
Laurie Smith—Executive Director, International Operations Group
Responsible for Austrade’s offshore network and its International Issues branch.
Laurie has 30 years’ experience in international corporate, advisory and government roles, including assignments in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, Taipei and Shanghai. Laurie has held senior roles with a major multinational corporation in Hong Kong and Beijing. He led the company’s China business development, overseeing direct and portfolio investments in China. His early career was with the departments of Trade and Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra and Taipei. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Tim Beresford—Executive Director, Australian Operations Group
Responsible for the three key business areas of Trade, Investment, and Marketing, Online and Business Practice.
Before joining Austrade, Tim worked at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where he co-led the negotiation and delivery of the National Health Reform Agreement with all states and territories. Tim has previously held a number of roles in Westpac Banking Corporation and was a management consultant for 10 years, where he worked for McKinsey & Company on strategic, operational and organisational issues.
From 2003 to 2012, Tim was on the board of Plan Australia International, holding positions including Chair, Fundraising and Marketing Committee; and Chair, Corporate Governance Committee. In February 2013, he joined the board of The Benevolent Society.
Peter Yuile—Executive Director, Tourism, Education and Corporate Operations Group
Responsible for Tourism; International Education; the Export Market Development Grants scheme; Consular and Business Services; Finance; Information Technology Services; Legal, Security and Procurement; and Ministerial, Parliamentary and Portfolio Coordination.
Peter has had a distinguished career in the Australian Public Service, holding senior positions in various departments, where he had responsibility for issues such as the development of bilateral trade strategies, regional forest agreements, fisheries negotiations with Japan, and bilateral agricultural and resource issues. Peter has also worked in the Department of Trade (in its various forms) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Marcia Kimball—Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer
Responsible for national and international human resource management; strategy, systems and services; and capability and talent.
For 14 years, Marcia has managed Austrade’s team of human resources professionals across its international network encompassing attraction and retention, strategy and policy, systems and reporting, capability and talent. Before joining Austrade, Marcia was the Executive Director, Corporate Development for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and also worked in management roles for more than a decade within the broader AirServices Australia. She began her career in education and professional development, leaving the teaching service at a senior level in the late 1980s.
Lynne Ashpole—Assistant General Manager, Strategy, Governance and Media 55
Responsible for corporate governance; internal audit; corporate planning and strategy; and Austrade’s media unit.
Lynne has worked in private sector law firms and as a government lawyer in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. She was a principal policy officer in the NSW Ministry for Police and the NSW Cabinet Office. She also worked as a senior adviser to ministers in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth in a wide variety of economic and social policy portfolios, and was the inaugural director of the NSW Better Regulation Office.
55. Stefan Trofimovs held the position of Acting Assistant General Manager, Governance, Analysis and Planning, until 1 July 2013. Lynne Ashpole commenced in the role of Assistant General Manager, Strategy and Governance, on 30 July 2013. In early 2014, this role was expanded to include oversight of Austrade’s media unit and the title was changed to ‘Assistant General Manager, Strategy, Governance and Media’ to reflect this additional responsibility.
Audit and Risk Committee
The Audit and Risk Committee’s role is to provide independent assurance and advice to the CEO on Austrade’s risk, control, compliance and external accountability responsibilities. The committee’s processes are consistent with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) better practice guide titled Public sector audit committees: independent assurance and advice for chief executives and boards—August 2011.
The committee consists of two independent members and three internal Austrade members. The independent members for 2013–14 were David Lawler (chair) and Jennifer Clark. The three internal Austrade members were the Executive Director, Australian Operations; the General Manager, Established Markets; and the Assistant General Manager, Marketing and Communications, whose appointment commenced in January 2014. The committee met five times during 2013–14.
The Ethics Committee promotes high standards of ethical behaviour throughout Austrade, provides clear and consistent guidance on standards of conduct, and evaluates the effectiveness of Austrade’s policies and practices in relation to ethical behaviour. The committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the CEO on Austrade’s ethical framework.
The committee consists of an independent member, Jeff Lamond (chair); Austrade’s Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer; and a cross-section of Austrade’s senior management from onshore and offshore offices. The Assistant General Manager, Legal, Security and Procurement, is designated as Chief Ethics Officer and is an ex officio member of the Ethics Committee. The committee met twice in 2013–14.
Members of Austrade’s Executive Group chair subcommittees on workplace relations, security, and business improvement priorities and initiatives. Those subcommittees support governance, inform operations, and provide mechanisms for consultation and communication with staff.
Austrade’s committees and subcommittees in 2013–14, and their roles, activities and participants, are listed in Table 18. Austrade’s executive management structure and reporting relationships are shown in Figure 23.
The Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 requires the CEO to prepare a corporate plan each year and to submit the plan to the Minister for Trade and Investment. The plan sets out the key strategies that Austrade will pursue to achieve the outcomes and priorities set by the Australian Government. Austrade’s planning and performance management practices align its activities and resources to deliver those priorities. Planning is conducted within the framework of Austrade’s strategic operating environment, and seeks to ensure that Austrade provides maximum value to the Government and to Australian businesses and institutions, while ensuring the highest ethical standards.
|Committee||Role and activities||Participants at 30 June 2013|
Considers key management issues, strategic priorities, and corporate, operational and divisional plans, as well as corporate policy and operational issues, and provides advice to the CEO
CEO (chair); executive directors; Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer; and Assistant General Manager, Strategy, Governance and Media
Audit and Risk Committee
Considers governance arrangements and provides independent advice and assurance to the CEO on risk management, compliance and external accountability
Independent members: David Lawler (chair) and Jennifer Clark. Internal members: Executive Director, Australian Operations; General Manager, Established Markets; and Assistant General Manager, Marketing and Communications
Promotes high standards of ethical behaviour throughout Austrade
Independent member: Jeff Lamond (chair). Internal members: Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer; Assistant General Manager, Legal, Security and Procurement; and a cross-section of senior managers from onshore and offshore
Business Advisory Group
Oversees and coordinates significant cross-organisational projects to ensure the successful delivery of Austrade’s outcomes
Executive Director, Australian Operations (chair) and management representatives
Security Advisory Group
Provides advice on the management of security issues, including policy, planning and risk management. Also considers specific security issues in business units and overseas offices
Executive Director, Tourism, Education and Corporate Operations (chair); Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer; General Manager, Programmes, Consular and Business Services; General Manager, Growth and Emerging Markets; Chief Information Officer; Agency Security Executive; Assistant General Manager, Legal, Procurement and Security; and Agency Security Adviser
Workplace Relations Committee
Provides advice and consults with staff and management on workplace relations and change management issues
Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer (chair), managers and Austrade Performance Level 1–5 staff representatives
Figure 23: Austrade’s executive management structure
Performance management framework
To monitor overall organisational performance, Austrade’s performance management framework links the key performance indicators in Austrade’s Portfolio Budget Statements with more detailed internal reporting measures. This framework ensures that Austrade’s activities are aligned to achieving defined operational objectives, while incorporating measures to monitor stakeholder satisfaction, internal governance, and resources and capability.
Staff performance agreements
Staff performance agreements are made on an annual basis, covering the period from 1 July to 30 June each year. The agreements are consistent with the market and business plans of the unit in which the individual staff member works, as well as with Austrade’s performance management framework. For more information on staff performance agreements, see page 147.
Austrade’s governance arrangements are designed to ensure effective decision-making and communication of corporate governance and organisational priorities. During 2013–14, staff received information on a wide range of corporate issues, including Austrade’s global themes and priorities; work health and safety compliance; anti-bribery policies; fraud prevention awareness; security issues; executive meeting outcomes; and the components of the 2013–14 Budget that were relevant to Austrade.
The methods used to communicate corporate information to staff included:
- CEO and corporate messages delivered via email
- tailored messages from executive directors, general managers, line managers and various team meetings
- a weekly online newsletter, Global News
- presentations to onshore staff from visiting offshore staff through the ‘Stay in Touch’ programme
- Austrade’s new global intranet, ‘The Hub’, launched in July 2013, which provides a single location for collaboration and information-sharing.
Corporate training programmes, including pre-posting training, induction training and online modules, were used throughout 2013–14 to keep staff informed and aware of current corporate policies and procedures.
Each year, all Austrade staff are required to complete an Austrade corporate policy refresher online module. Key policy focus areas covered in the module in 2013–14 included work health and safety, anti-bribery, corporate governance, procurement, Austrade services, security, finance and ethical business behaviour.