Corporate governance

ARPANSA's corporate governance framework is comprised of the agency’s enabling legislation, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the ARPANS Act), and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

Our corporate governance structure framework enables effective strategic planning, risk management and performance monitoring to support achievement of our strategic objectives.

Advisory bodies

The ARPANS Act establishes the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (the Council), the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) and the Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC) to advise the CEO of ARPANSA. The PGPA Act requires Commonwealth entities to establish an audit committee. 

Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council

The Council advises the CEO on emerging issues and matters of major public concern relating to radiation protection and nuclear safety. During 2016–17, the Council met on three occasions: 17–18 November 2016, 15–16 March 2017 and 5–6 June 2017.

Radiation Health Committee

The RHC advises the CEO and the Council on matters relating to radiation protection, including formulating draft national policies, codes and standards for the promotion of uniform national standards of radiation protection. During 2016–17, the RHC met on three occasions: 16 November 2016, 15 March 2017 and 7 June 2017.

Nuclear Safety Committee

The NSC advises the CEO on matters relating to nuclear safety and the safety of controlled facilities. This advice includes developing and assessing the effectiveness of standards, codes, practices and procedures. During 2016–17, the NSC met on three occasions: 4 November 2016, 10 March 2017 and 30 June 2017.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee provides independent assurance and advice to the CEO on the agency’s financial and performance reporting, and systems of risk oversight and internal control. 

The Audit and Risk Committee comprises four members; three of whom are independent external members, including the Chair, and one ARPANSA member. Representatives from the Australian National Audit Office and the agency’s internal auditor, RSM Australia Pty Ltd, also attend meetings. The CEO is an observer on the committee and other senior managers may attend meetings as observers when required to report on particular matters.

The committee met four times during 2016–17 and reported directly to the Strategic Management Committee after each meeting.

Management committees

ARPANSA has in place a number of management committees to ensure effective decision‑making, management and oversight of the agency’s operations and performance.

Strategic Management Committee

The Strategic Management Committee (SMC) provides advice and recommendations to help inform the CEO to make decisions relating to the direction, strategies and priorities for the agency. 

The SMC met six times in 2016–17 and comprises the CEO (Chair), branch and office heads, the Director, Performance and Governance and two external members appointed by the CEO. During 2016–17, the external SMC members were Ms Megan Morris and Mr Michael Perry (Chair, Audit and Risk Committee).

Executive Group

The Executive Group (EG) is ARPANSA’s operational management forum. The EG is responsible for monitoring the key tactics and activities used to implement agency business plans.

The EG met ten times in 2016–17 and comprises the CEO (Chair), branch and office heads, and the Director, Performance and Governance.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee provides the agency with a consultative mechanism to enable management and worker contributions to WHS improvements across all operations. 

The committee comprises the CEO (Chair), Health and Safety Representatives, management representatives, the WHS Advisor/Radiation Safety Officer and other subject matter experts may participate in meetings as required. The WHS Committee met four times in 2016–17.

The Radiation Safety Committee 

The Radiation Safety Committee operates as a sub committee to the WHS Committee and is chaired by the Radiation Safety Officer and comprises of Radiation Protection Advisors from across the agency. The committee provides the agency with a mechanism to monitor, review and improve practices in relation to the safe management of radiation sources and associated activities. The Radiation Safety Committee met five times in 2016–17.

Agency Security Group 

The Agency Security Group (ASG) oversees the development and implementation of a protective security program across ARPANSA to ensure our policies, procedures and practices comply with the Commonwealth’s Protective Security Policy Framework.

The ASG met five times in 2016–17, and comprises the Security Executive (Chair), the Agency Security Adviser, the Chief Information Officer, the IT Security Adviser, the Facilities Manager and other subject matter experts may participate in meetings as required.

Staff Consultative Forum

ARPANSA’s enterprise agreement continues to provide for a Staff Consultative Forum (SCF) as the key employee consultative body. The SCF comprises the CEO, nine employees elected by staff and a representative from each of the unions supporting ARPANSA staff. The SCF met on six occasions in 2016–17 to discuss a range of issues relating to management of the agency.

Project Management Advisory Group

In September 2016 the Project Management Advisory Group (PMAG) was established to lead the development of an enhanced project management framework for the agency and provide a centralised coordination and support function to agency projects. The PMAG comprises the Director of Performance and Governance (Chair) and five staff with project management expertise. The PMAG met eleven times in 2016–17.

Digital Steering Committee

In February 2017 the Digital Steering Committee (DSC) was established to lead the execution of ARPANSA’s Digital Strategy which aims to shape and support digital initiatives, guide investment decisions and drive business transformation. The DSC comprises the Branch Head of Medical Radiation Services (Chair), Branch Head of Radiation Health Services, Chief of Staff, Head of Corporate Office and the Chief Information Officer. The DSC met once in 2016–17 and discussed the focus area framework that will support the implementation of the digital strategy.

Accountability and risk management

Accountable authority

As a Commonwealth entity, ARPANSA’s operations and governance arrangements are subject to the provisions of the PGPA Act. The CEO of ARPANSA is the accountable authority under the PGPA Act. 


During 2016–17 the agency established a more integrated planning approach to combine business planning with budgeting, risk management, and performance monitoring and reporting. This approach has contributed to better alignment of our strategic priorities, operational activities, resource allocation and performance measures and has resulted in clear linkages between our key planning documents, including the corporate plan, portfolio budget statement and agency business plans. 

Furthermore, the agency undertook a significant review of its strategic planning framework, which included the development of two new strategic objectives to reflect the important work of our supporting capabilities:

  • strengthen engagement with community and government
  • enhance organisational innovation, capability and resilience.

These objectives will be included in our corporate plan for 2017–2021 and the performance of our supporting capabilities will be measured and reported alongside our other four strategic objectives.

The Strategic Management Committee oversees the planning process and preparation of the corporate plan. Progress against the measures and other commitments outlined in our key planning documents is monitored and reported to management and the Audit and Risk Committee.

Risk management

ARPANSA has a comprehensive Risk Management Framework that aligns responsibility and accountability for risk across the agency. Risk management is integrated into our business planning processes which enables effective identification and management of risks that could impact on the agency achieving its outcomes or otherwise cause it harm. 

ARPANSA’s Risk Management Framework aligns with broader requirements such as the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy 2014 and the international standard on risk management (AS/NZS ISO 31000), and meets the requirements of Section 16 of the PGPA Act.

We use Comcover’s Risk Management Maturity Model to identify our priorities when planning our risk strategy and improving our risk maturity. In 2016–17, ARPANSA achieved an ‘integrated’ level of maturity in the Comcover Risk Management Benchmarking Survey. In the next reporting period the agency will focus on enhancing our risk management culture through revision of our Risk Management Framework and improving our risk management training program to ensure staff are actively undertaking and understanding their roles and responsibilities under the PGPA Act. 

Performance reporting

Our non-financial performance measures are detailed in both our corporate plan and portfolio budget statement. They include several measures that meet our performance reporting obligations under the Regulator Performance Framework. We produce quarterly internal reports on our non-financial performance. These reports are presented to management and the Audit and Risk Committee at the end of each quarter. 

Financial performance is reported separately through monthly internal financial reports to management, and to the Audit and Risk Committee at the end of each quarter. Our performance reporting culminates in the publication of our annual report, inclusive of the annual performance statement (at part 3) and financial statements (at part 5), and our Regulator Performance Framework externally‑validated self-assessment report available on the ARPANSA website.

Audit and fraud control

External audits

ARPANSA has seven laboratories that maintain National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation. During 2016–17, NATA conducted reassessments of the following services:

  • Ultraviolet protection factor services
  • Radiofrequency calibrations
  • Radioanalytical services
  • CTBTO Radionuclide Laboratory
  • Ionising radiation calibrations
  • Personal Radiation Monitoring Service.

These reassessment audits monitored the services continuing compliance with the requirements for accreditation against 
ISO/IEC 17025. This included a review of the services technical competence and management requirements. All audit findings were responded to, and deemed acceptable by NATA and accreditation of all six services was continued. 

Internal audits

Primary responsibility for internal audit arrangements within the agency rests with the Corporate Office under the broad direction of the agency’s Audit and Risk Committee. ARPANSA has a robust internal governance and control framework to establish and maintain appropriate systems and internal controls for the oversight and management of risk.

In 2016–17 ARPANSA’s internal auditors, RSM Australia Pty Ltd, completed five audits to assess the adequacy of processes and controls in place for the following areas:

  • emergency preparedness and response arrangements
  • compliance with the PGPA Act
  • regulatory delivery model
  • stakeholder engagement and communication processes
  • tendering, contract management and procurement processes.
Significant non-compliance issues

ARPANSA management acknowledges their responsibility for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the PGPA Act and requirements related to finance law.

We have complied with the provisions and requirements of the:

  • PGPA Act
  • Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014
  • Appropriation Acts
  • other instruments defined as finance law including relevant ministerial directions.

ARPANSA did not have any significant non‑compliance issues with finance law during the reporting period.

All instances of non-compliance are reported to the Audit and Risk Committee. Where insignificant non-compliances were identified, they were managed in accordance with our policies and procedures.

Fraud minimisation strategies

During 2016–17, the agency continued a rolling program to assess fraud risks embedded in ARPANSA’s overarching risk management framework. Treatment strategies are developed and monitored as part of that process. Results of the fraud risk assessment process are used to inform the development of the internal audit schedule. No instances of fraud were identified during 2016–17.

Disability reporting mechanisms

Since 1994, non-corporate Commonwealth entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at From 2010–11, entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10 year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level, two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014, and can be found at

Work health and safety

ARPANSA’s commitment to safety through protecting the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effect of radiation, is second to none and we are equally committed to utilising our expertise to develop a leading work health and safety (WHS) framework within the agency. Throughout 2016–17 ARPANSA continued to work through agreed corrective actions associated with the Comcare audit of our safety management system, which involved a significant body of work and stakeholder engagement. The agency also continued to foster a positive safety reporting culture, which has highlighted an increased appetite amongst staff, contractors and managers to actively participate in improvements to safety. 

Key WHS activities undertaken in 2016–17 include:

  • development and implementation of sustainable compliance and improvements to safety in line with the Comcare Corrective Action Plan 
  • establishment of an online WHS training package
  • implementation of the WHS report card system to identify opportunities for improvement and recording of good safety practice
  • promotion of WHS information via monthly safety topics
  • introduction of safety and security moments as part of agenda items at key meetings to promote key learnings and opportunities
  • establishment and benchmarking of annual WHS objectives and targets.

Hazard and incident reporting

During 2016–17 the agency saw an increase in the number of reported hazards as a result of the implementation of the report card system, which has created an open and inclusive reporting mechanism that allows for the reporting of positive safety observations. A total of 27 report cards were submitted for the 2016–17 period.

There were a total of fourteen incident reports submitted and actioned during 2016–17, which included: five hazards, eight minor incidents and one dangerous incident notified to Comcare with respect to the agency’s statutory obligation under section 35 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The agency has also introduced an integrated Issue Management Register, which enables the capture of hazard/incident data and the tracking of the progression of corrective actions that are visible across the agency. This approach creates accountability, transparency and shared learnings associated with hazard and incident reporting.

Workers compensation

One workers compensation claim was made during the reporting period for a total of less than one day. 

Investigations or notices given

There were no investigations initiated or notices given in 2016–17.


External scrutiny

Judicial review

During 2016–17, the agency was  involved in one matter before the Federal Court and no matters before the Full Federal Court or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Reports by the Auditor-General, Parliamentary Committees or Commonwealth Ombudsman

As at 30 June 2017, no reports were made by the Auditor-General or a Parliamentary Committee regarding ARPANSA for the year 2016–17.

During 2016–17, there were no complaints made to the Commonwealth Ombudsman against the agency. There are no earlier complaints which remain open.

Freedom of Information

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme requirements.

ARPANSA, as an Australian Government agency, is subject to the FOI Act and is required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme provisions. ARPANSA has developed an agency plan describing ARPANSA’s compliance with Information Publication Scheme provisions as required by section 8(1) of the FOI Act.

Feedback on this plan can be provided by contacting the Freedom of Information (FOI) Coordinator at:

The FOI Coordinator ARPANSA
PO Box 655
(03) 9433 2211

Documents released by ARPANSA in response to FOI requests can be found on the Disclosure Log at


ARPANSA received two FOI requests during the reporting period.

    Access to information FOI disclosure log Information public scheme