At 30 June 2015 the department leased 484 commercial properties covering 729,543 square metres.
During the year the number of properties reduced by 164 from the previous year because of the co-location of 51 Medicare service centres into Centrelink service centres and the closure of 110 CRS Australia properties.
By 30 June 2015 we had 4 new myGov sites located in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
The department also owns 35 residential properties and leases another 17 in remote locations. These properties provide accommodation for staff in places where sourcing residential properties is difficult.
During 2014-15 the department continued to manage the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (PM&C) property portfolio outside the Australian Capital Territory. This consists of 232 properties including commercial, residential and remote properties.
The department continually reviews its property portfolio to ensure it meets business objectives and is as efficient as possible.
In 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers undertook an independent review of property operations across the department. Recommendations from the review were focussed on increased efficiency and ensuring value for money in accordance with the Commonwealth Property Management Framework and are progressively being implemented.
During 2014-15 the expenditure on property operating expenses was $430.4 million, with a further $59.3 million on capital improvements.
The department’s assets management policies and procedures encompass whole-of-life assets management. The department publishes guidance and procedures for staff and conducts a risk-based rolling stocktake and independent valuations to maintain the accuracy of assets records.
During the year the department provided assurance on the existence, validity and valuation of the assets held. We undertook:
- a stocktake to confirm the existence and location of the department’s assets
- a revaluation of leasehold improvement and data centre equipment
- an assets impairment review in accordance with Australian Accounting Standard 136—Impairment of Assets
The composition of the department’s fixed assets base is mainly purchased software, internally developed software, leasehold improvements and data centre equipment.
The department’s compliance with the mandatory requirements of the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework is managed through activities such as effective security risk management, monitoring and review of security plans and policies, and training and education.
As part of an increased focus on security in 2014-15, governance of the security activity in the department has been reviewed and a restructure of security functions has resulted in the formal establishment of an agency security capability.
The department continues to implement a range of initiatives to address the changing security environment including strengthening security in service centres. These include:
- reviewing the department’s property design and physical security environment to help minimise customer aggression and provide a secure and safe working environment
- more than doubling the number of security guards during the year to better manage strategic and operational security risks
In addition to property management, under the department’s agreement with PM&C we provide travel services, fleet management, credit card management and a staff assistance programme. The shared services arrangement uses the department’s expertise and existing nationwide coverage to deliver these services to PM&C. The department has recently entered into shared services arrangements with both PM&C and the Department of Finance to undertake investigations into potential breaches of the APS Code of Conduct.
Shared services will be extended with the government implementing new systems to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with the department to manage the implementation. We have commenced designing and planning the ICT solution for NDIS in collaboration with the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Department of Social Services.
The department also provides ICT and learning and development services to a number of agencies—see ICT support for other government agencies on page 172.