2017–18 Annual Report - Part 2: Agency overview

ARPANSA at a glance

Our vision

A safe radiation environment for the Australian community.

Our purpose

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. Our purpose is to protect the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, through understanding risks, best practice regulation, research, policy, services, partnerships and engaging with the community.


Established by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (ARPANS Act), ARPANSA commenced operations on 5 February 1999. ARPANSA replaced the Nuclear Safety Bureau and Australian Radiation Laboratory.

Responsible ministers and portfolio

ARPANSA sits within the Department of Health portfolio. The CEO, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, is the accountable authority of ARPANSA. As at 30 June 2018, Dr Larsson reported to the Minister for Rural Health, Sport and Regional Communications.

Our outcome

ARPANSA has a single outcome as set out in the Portfolio Budget Statement: Protection of people and the environment through radiation protection and nuclear safety research, policy, advice, codes, standards, services and regulation.

Our staff

As at 30 June 2018, ARPANSA had 119 ongoing staff, ten non-ongoing staff and one statutory appointment.


ARPANSA has offices in Victoria (Yallambie) and New South Wales (Miranda). Eighty-four per cent of staff are located in the Victorian office.


ARPANSA, on behalf of the Australian Government, aims to protect the Australian people and environment from the harmful effects of radiation. The ARPANSA program of work entails six key strategic objectives that guide our priorities and contribute to delivering radiation protection and nuclear safety outcomes to the Australian community:

  1. Protect the public, workers and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation
  2. Promote radiological and nuclear safety and security, and emergency preparedness
  3. Promote the safe and effective use of ionising radiation in medicine
  4. Ensure risk informed and efficient regulation
  5. Strengthen engagement with community and government
  6. Enhance organisational innovation, capability and resilience

What we deliver

ARPANSA is the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety We are an:

Independent regulator

We are the independent regulator of Commonwealth entities that use or produce radiation. Using a risk-informed regulatory approach, we ensure that licensees take responsibility for protection of people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation. We:

  • deliver regulatory services
  • administer and maintain the Australian Radiation Incident Register
  • assess and issue import and export permits and licensing
  • provide approval and advice on the transport of radioactive material
  • promote national uniformity
  • work to achieve the security of radioactive material.

Health advisor

We build and maintain expertise in the measurement of radiation and assessment of health impacts, including the assessment of risk and response to radiation incidents. We provide high quality advice to the government and the community. We:

  • provide radiation health advice
  • deliver the Talk to a Scientist program
  • provide advice on emergency preparedness and response in the events of a radiological emergency
  • administer and maintain an ultraviolet
  • radiation monitoring network
  • maintain and monitor seven Australian stations according to the comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
  • administer the Australian primary standard for absorbed dose.

Service provider

We offer high quality services for the purpose of protection against the harmful effects of radiation. These include:

  • ultraviolet radiation services
  • radioanalytical services
  • the Radiofrequency Calibration Service
  • the Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service
  • the National Diagnostic Reference Level Service
  • the Personal Radiation Monitoring Service.

We also administer and maintain the Australian National Radiation Dose Register, and operate one of only two radon chambers in Australia.

ARPANSA service charter

Our service charter outlines who ARPANSA is and what we do, the standards of service expected from ARPANSA, and how our stakeholders can help us to improve our service. We review this charter on a regular basis in consultation with clients, stakeholders and staff. The charter is available in full on the ARPANSA website at arpansa.gov.au/service-charter.

Organisational structure

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson has held the position of CEO since 2010.

The CEO’s functions (as set out in the ARPANS Act) include:

  • regulating Commonwealth radiation sources and facilities
  • promoting uniformity of radiation protection and nuclear safety policy and practices across jurisdictions of the Commonwealth, the states and the territories
  • providing advice on radiation protection, nuclear safety and related issues
  • undertaking research in relation to radiation protection, nuclear safety and medical exposures to radiation
  • providing services relating to radiation protection, nuclear safety and medical exposures to radiation
  • monitoring the operations of ARPANSA, the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (the Council), the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) and the Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC)
  • reporting on the operations of ARPANSA, the Council, RHC and NSC.

Executive group

The CEO is supported by the Executive Group, which is comprised of branch and office heads This group provides the CEO with high-level policy and strategic advice and reports on matters relating to their individual business groups. Together the CEO and the Executive Group form the leadership team responsible for the day-to-day management of ARPANSA. In 2017–18 one change was made to the membership of the Executive Group:

  • Mr James Scott was appointed Chief Regulatory Officer on 13 April 2018.

ARPANSA business groups

ARPANSA has six business groups that deliver components of the agency’s strategies and services. Figure 1.1 shows ARPANSA’s organisational structure at 30 June 2018.

Office of the CEO

The Office of the CEO (OCEO) facilitates, coordinates and supports the activities of the CEO. The OCEO comprises the Communications section and the Government and International Relations section. The office leads collaboration and communication with the public and government, coordinates international engagement and provides advice to the agency and government on emerging and strategic issues.

Corporate Office

The Corporate Office comprises four sections; Finance, People and Culture, Digital Technology, and Performance and Governance. The internal systems for maintaining an effective public service that meets the needs and expectations of the community requires a competent and motivated workforce and effective management systems for internal information exchange, accountability and performance reporting. The Corporate Office plays an important role in this regard.

The Digital Technology Section (DTS) came into effect on Monday 13 November 2017 following a period of consultation centred on strengthening the existing Information Management section.

Office of the General Counsel

The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice and strategic support to the agency with regard to all aspects of the agency’s operations and assists the CEO to achieve his statutory mandate. The General Counsel also provides legal advice and support to all ARPANSA staff to assist them in performing their functions and to ensure that in doing so they are compliant with relevant government policy and legislation.

Radiation Health Services Branch

The Radiation Health Services Branch comprises three sections; Monitoring and Emergency Response, Assessment and Advice, and Radiation Protection Services. The branch conducts hazard identification and exposure analysis of ionising and non-ionising radiation sources, evaluates the health risk to public, workers and the environment and mitigates the health and environmental risks through provision of advice, assessments and services.

It operates services on a fee-for-service basis including the Personal Radiation Monitoring Service, the ultraviolet radiation fabric testing service and a radiofrequency equipment calibration service. The branch undertakes a number of national initiatives including an ultraviolet radiation monitoring network, the Australian National Radiation Dose Register and the radiation monitoring network established under the terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test-Ban Treaty. Emergency preparedness and response systems for field, network and laboratory measurements, and information management and decision support systems are maintained and aligned with national planning.

Medical Radiation Services Branch

The Medical Radiation Services Branch provides safety and quality advice on the use of radiation in medicine to all Australians. The branch has three sections. The Medical Imaging section is responsible for dose data collection and advice on patient safety within diagnostic imaging. The Radiotherapy section maintains the Australian primary standard for absorbed dose and, by calibrating hospitals’ radiation detectors against the primary standard, ensures that a provider’s equipment is accurate. The Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service audits linear accelerators used by radiotherapy providers in Australia, verifying that the radiation exposure of patients under treatment is correct.

Regulatory Services Branch

Regulatory Services Branch has main carriage of regulation of the safety and security of Commonwealth radiation sources and facilities.

Comprising four sections (Facility Safety, Source Safety and Security, Safety Systems, and National Codes and Standards), the branch is ARPANSA’s principal driver for promoting a uniform regulatory framework across all jurisdictions. The costs for direct regulatory activities are recovered from application fees and annual licence charges.

During the year, a realignment took place in the Regulatory Services Branch to facilitate and enhance the holistic safety approach and national uniformity initiatives. This was also designed to improve coordination across the Branch, ARPANSA and other APS agencies.

ARPANSA's Executive Group

ARPANSA’S Executive Group (L TO R): Gillian Hirth, Ivan Williams, Carl-Magnus Larsson, Tone Doyle, James Scott, Martin Reynolds and George Savvides.

Organisational chart

PDF icon Organisational chart