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APSC News April 2016: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

Momentum building to conclude enterprise bargaining

Significant progress is being made in Commonwealth public sector bargaining, with new agreements being made regularly. Show more

Many APS employees have now received wage increases under new enterprise agreements. In agencies where new agreements were made mid-last year, employees are about to get their second wage increase.

Since the commencement of the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015 last November, 35 new agreements have been made. In total, 45 new agreements in 42 agencies have been made since bargaining commenced.

Employees at the Department of Education and Training recently voted up their new agreement, which means that employees in ten out of the 18 Departments have now concluded bargaining. Other agencies to recently vote up new agreements include Comcare, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

These employees now have new agreements, continued excellent terms and conditions, plus a wage rise.  Hide content


Sometimes we have to be prepared to experiment, to try new things. The APSC is doing just that. On 1 April we, together with Nous Group, held our first ever hackathon event: WorkHack. Show more

More than 40 public servants, industry experts and private sector people were handpicked to help us hack into some of the longstanding workforce management issues facing the APS. At time of publication we’re yet to know the results of this experiment but things are looking promising!

Check out the twitter feed and stay tuned for outcomes.  Hide content

Did you know?

It used to be the case that APS employees were not allowed to join political parties. With few exceptions this is no longer the case. Show more

APS employees can join political parties and be active in the political life of the community. They can even stand for election too, but there are some rules.

At the Commonwealth level, an employee must resign from the APS before nominating as a candidate for the Senate or House of Representatives. If not elected, the candidate is entitled to be reappointed to their agency at the same classification and doing the same or similar work as immediately prior to their resignation. Time limits do apply and candidates are recommended to apply for reappointment promptly. Applications made more than two months after the declaration of the poll may be rejected.

Similar provisions apply for employees seeking re-engagement having been candidates for election to territory legislative assemblies or the Torres Strait Regional Authority. APS employees should seek legal advice about any legislative provisions that require them to resign from the APS if standing for election to state parliament, or territory legislative assemblies.

APS employees may also hold office in local government organisations. However, agency policies or practices concerning outside employment may apply, particularly if participation in local government could affect the employees capacity to carry out their duties. It is not necessary to resign to stand for election to a local government body.

APS employees must exercise judgment when engaging in political activity to ensure there is no conflict with their official duties. The APSC publishes guidance on a range of issues to do with the responsibilities of APS employees flowing from the APS Values and Code of Conduct including In Practice.  Hide content

The Great APS Graduate Debate 2016

Following keenly contested auditions, the 2016 graduate debating teams have been selected. Show more

Thanks to everyone who auditioned and reaffirmed the APS’s outstanding graduate talent. Congratulations to the successful graduates:

Rhianna Blackthorn - Australian Bureau of Statistics

Thomas Hendrick - Australian Taxation Office

Alexander Meaney - CrimTrac Agency

Thomas Boak - Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Nicola Parise - Department of Social Services

Jessica Musulin - Department of Communications and the Arts

Jackson Wright Smith - Australian Taxation Office

Sherif Alam - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Daniel Golder - Department of Veterans Affairs

Eloise Layard - Department of Human Services

In coming weeks, the debating teams will be mentored by SES officers to develop their arguments for or against and to hone their debating skills on a burning APS issue.

The debate will be in Canberra on Tuesday 7 June 2016. As is now customary, the debate will be facilitated by the formidable Adam Spencer. Mark the date in your calendar or for more information contact the APSC Events Team via email at apsc.events [at] apsc.gov.au.  Hide content

Disability Initiative

The Dandelion Program is an APS traineeship for high functioning people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The program is the product of collaboration between the Department of Human Services (DHS), Hewlett Packard Australia and Specialistern. Show more

Specialistern is a Danish company with a goal to increase employment opportunities for people with ASD. Their approach recognises the special abilities of people with ASD and matches them to a business’s needs.

The Dandelion Program currently employs 40 trainees in Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra. An ASD specialist helps manage the trainees and helps ease the transition for the trainee and the workplace.

The early results show terrific promise. Dandelion trainees bring fresh perspective and high productivity and as such are highly sought after across DHS. The aim is for the trainees to integrate to mainstream work teams on completion of their traineeship. The benefit for trainees is increased independence, confidence and recognition.

DHS’s Mitch Levy, General Manager for Information and Communication Technology Services and Cyber Security, instigated and manages the collaborative program. Following his report of the program’s success, to the Disability Champions Network Meeting, a number of agencies are interested in implementing the Dandelion Program.

Contact Mitch Levy for further information on the Dandelion Program mitch.levy [at] humanservices.gov.au.   Hide content

Leadership and Learning

The Centre for Leadership and Learning offers a range of contemporary development programs for Executive Level and Senior Executive Service employees. Show more

For further information and program dates click here.   Hide content

Coming soon: Strengthening workforce management in the APS

The findings of a workforce management review will be launched by Minister Michaelia Cash on Thursday 28 April 2016. Show more

In 2015, Sandra McPhee conducted an external contestability review into the workforce management in the APS. The review offers insights and ways to tap the full potential of a highly efficient, effective and citizen-centric workforce.

More information will be on the APSC website shortly.   Hide content

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018