At 30 June 2017 the department leased 430 commercial properties covering 727,161 square metres.
The department also owned 36 residential properties and leased another five in remote locations. These properties provide accommodation for staff in places where it would otherwise be difficult for staff to find suitable housing.
The department continually reviews its property portfolio to ensure it meets business objectives and is as cost efficient as possible.
In 2016-17 expenditure on property operating expenses was $405.2 million and a further $72.6 million was spent on capital improvements. This included projects undertaken as part of the rigorous program of works to ensure the quality of recipient engagement areas in departmental service centres and sites are maintained at acceptable standards.
The department's assets management policies and procedures encompass whole-of-life assets management. The department publishes guidance and procedures for staff and undertakes assurance on the existence, validity and valuation of the assets held. Specifically the department undertakes:
- a risk-based rolling stocktake
- a valuation of leasehold improvements, ICT assets, general plant and equipment, and data centre equipment
- a quality assurance process across the major components of the assets base to ensure the integrity of the assets records
- an assets impairment review in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standard AASB 136—Impairment of assets.
The composition of the department's assets base is mainly software, leasehold improvements and data centre equipment.
Effective governance of the department's protective security program is vital to ensure the department has a security environment that protects its people, information and assets.
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.
The department's protective security policy aligns with the framework and emphasises the need for security as part of the department's culture. In 2016-17 the department continued to strengthen security governance arrangements through the operation of the Security Steering Group—a subcommittee of the department's Risk, Business Continuity and Security Committee. This group ensures alignment of the department's security program with broader corporate controls in areas such as people management, fraud, property, procurement, privacy, and information management.
Modular Remote Service Centre
To help provide equitable access to health and welfare services across the country, the department is replacing some of its old remote service centres with new, energy efficient, modular buildings.
The first modular project was delivered in Wadeye in December 2016, followed by the Halls Creek Remote Service Centre in June 2017.
Once in Halls Creek, the modules were joined together in just two days. The entire construction process took only 13 weeks, about half the time it would have taken using traditional building methods.
Just like in Wadeye, the Halls Creek Remote Service Centre is a part of our solar trial. While the sun is shining, the solar systems produce power to run the service centres. Power also goes into Wadeye and Halls Creek electricity grids to benefit the local community.
Deanne is the Service Support Manager for the Kimberly Katherine Region. 'By having a new office here we're going to be able to provide the best service to our Indigenous customers who are living remotely and who’ll get the same services as if they were in a metropolitan area.'
Following the completion of the project, the old Wadeye Remote Service Centre building was gifted to the Traditional Owners of the Wadeye community, who moved the building to a new location to support economic development in the community.
The department's size, scale and ICT capability positions it well as a provider of shared services within the Australian Public Service.
The department continues to provide a range of shared services to other agencies, including the NDIA and PM&C.
In 2016-17 the department transitioned the NDIA to a broad suite of ICT and corporate services. The ICT suite includes end user computing, telephony, online channels and business systems. The department also provides corporate services to the NDIA, including payroll management, credit management, accounts receivable, accounts payable, travel, fleet management, records management and security services.
During the year the department provided travel, credit card, fleet management, code of conduct and learning and development services to PM&C.
The department continued to support the DVA with end user computing, including assistive technology support, telephony and ICT infrastructure services. The department also managed internet gateway services to eight agencies.
In 2016-17 the department managed and administered the Indigenous Apprentices Program for a number of agencies including the DSS, the Department of Health, Defence, the Department of the Environment and Energy, DIBP, DVA and PM&C. See also Apprentices, cadets and graduates in Part 4.6 of this report.
The department also facilitated training for a number of agencies, in particular providing a range of courses to DSS. These courses included managing workplace bullying, service delivery training, positive attendance training for managers, strategic thinking and disability awareness.
In support of the Department of Finance's Shared and Common Services Program, the department worked with DVA, DSS, and the Department of Health to explore opportunities for more shared services.