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Centrelink Annual Review 2000-2001 by sofiaie


									PR002.0111 — page 1 of 29

Centrelink 2000–01 Annual Review
Comments and requests for further information on this review are welcome and can be sent to:

Ms Jan McCann

Telephone (02) 6212 0023

Fax (02) 6212 0480


Strategic Services Team

Centrelink National Support

Box 7788

Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610

The Annual Review is a ‘short form’ overview only.

It is designed to give a concise summary of Centrelink’s activities and financial position for the year ended 30
June 2001. Both the Annual Report and the Annual Review may be accessed through the Internet at

Created in 1997, Centrelink is meeting the challenge to provide the Australian Community with a
one-stop-shop for Commonwealth Government services. This review is extracted from the Centrelink
2000–01 Annual Report. It describes our performance in the 2000–01 financial year and details our plans for
the future.

From our Chairman                           1

From our CEO                                2

Corporate overview                          7

Corporate governance                      12

Financial summary                         13

Outcome and output structure              14

Performance at a glance                   15

From our Chairman
The end of 2000–01 marks my first year as the Chairman of the Centrelink Board. It has been a busy time
marked by a number of very challenging issues.
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Those issues include business planning and the long-term goals Centrelink must achieve to meet the evolving
needs and expectations of citizens and client agencies.

The Government’s Australians Working Together initiative will significantly affect the way Centrelink assists
people in the future. Over the next year Centrelink will be working collaboratively with client agencies and the
community services sector to ensure that customer service management and coordination will be enabled by
suitable systems to support both the Government’s vision and the needs of its customers.

This year, in the Centenary of our Federation, we have also celebrated the Centenary of the Australian Public
Service (APS). I know that Centrelink staff are proud to serve in the APS and they can be assured their
contributions are valued.

The Centenary of our Federation coincided with the winding up of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.
I trust, however, this marks a new beginning with an ongoing and enduring commitment to equality and
improved outcomes for all Indigenous Australians. During the year, a number of Centrelink staff initiated and
drafted a Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation and adopted real and practical initiatives to support that
commitment. On 14 December 2000, the Statement was signed jointly by Ms Evelyn Scott, Chairperson of the
Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Sue Vardon, Centrelink’s CEO and Pat Turner, Executive Director,
Indigenous Services. As Chairman of the Board I was proud to endorse and support the Statement on behalf of
all Board members.

In June this year I was pleased to launch Centrelink’s Indigenous Employees’ Action Plan in Darwin. The
Centrelink plan represents the first tangible step by a major public sector employer to achieving practical
reconciliation. I believe this will become an ongoing process within Centrelink.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Board members for their valuable contributions,
including their work as chairs and members of the various committees of the Board. I also extend my
appreciation to Sue Vardon, the leadership team at Centrelink, and the thousands of staff working with our
customers, all of whom I know to be truly committed to making a difference.

John Pascoe AM

Chairman of the Board
PR002.0111 — page 3 of 29

From our CEO
‘We look forward to ongoing collaboration with our client partners in continuing to deliver innovative service
solutions that will better position our customers to share in Australia’s exciting future’. Sue Vardon — CEO

Four years after its creation, Centrelink has evolved into a well regarded business with a reputation for
delivering responsive, high quality and cost-effective services. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with
our client partners in continuing to deliver innovative service solutions that will better position our customers
to share in Australia’s exciting future.

While much remains to be done, and plans are in place for further efficiency gains, this year’s work has
provided a solid platform from which Centrelink can begin to deliver the Government’s Australians Working
Together initiative.

Summary of significant issues, developments and challenges
Centrelink now delivers around 140 products and services on behalf of around 20 Commonwealth and State
client agencies to around 6.3 million customers. In addition, there are a growing number of clients in the
private and government sectors who avail themselves of our business-to-business services such as the
Customer Confirmation Service and Centrepay.

This year has seen the successful launch of 560 Family Assistance Office sites located in Centrelink, Medicare
and Australian Taxation Offices across the country. The launches provided a great opportunity for staff to
work in partnership with three separate government agencies to promote the new Centrelink service delivery
model to customers and the community.

Centrelink has always sought to find innovative ways of improving its customer service, and has taken another
step towards achieving its vision of a one-stop-shop for all government services by continuing a partnership
with Service Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government’s shopfront, in ten rural and regional locations.
Customers in seven of these sites can access Commonwealth, State and local government services from the
one Service Tasmania shop. In three of these shops, customers can talk to a range of government agencies
using videoconferencing facilities.

The Service Tasmania model is the way of the future. Increasingly, citizens want to be able to access services
— government and commercial — through a variety of channels: electronic, telephonic, face-to-face and in
writing. Maintaining all channels is potentially costly and there are significant benefits to be gained by
organisations in pooling resources across and within different levels of government.

The challenges organisations face in achieving this level of multi channel services integration are largely ones
of governance. Critically, organisations will need to agree to principles on how information is managed and
the extent of flexibility and openness between organisations to allow seamless service delivery. Centrelink
will continue to work cooperatively with other Commonwealth and State agencies to explore opportunities for
partnerships of this kind.

Making it easier to do business with us
Centrepay allows Centrelink customers to voluntarily have regular amounts for expenses such as rent, gas,
water, or electricity deducted from their social security payments for remittance direct to service providers.
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This service has experienced major growth over the year, and this is expected to continue next year with a 50
per cent increase in the client agency base and a doubling of the numbers of customers taking part. Centrelink
is committed to this facility as it plays a vital role for many customers in safeguarding them from potential
debt, evictions and legal problems.

Remote area servicing
Centrelink continued to assist customers in rural and remote areas. In particular, as part of the Sugar Industry
Package, Centrelink made payments and provided financial counselling to eligible sugar cane growers and
local communities affected by adverse conditions, including flooding and low world sugar prices. Centrelink
also delivered grants during the year to flood victims to meet the cost of repairs to buildings and equipment.

In the past 12 months Centrelink further recognised the need of Indigenous communities and opened a small
office at Maningrida. Centrelink expects to open similar sites in the coming years and will continue to work
with local communities to ensure effective service delivery.

As part of the Government’s budget reforms to assist older Australians and people with disabilities to retain
their independence, Centrelink was awarded a contract to operate five of more than 60 new Commonwealth
Carelink Centres in Western Australia for the Department of Health and Aged Care. The program offers a
unique information and referral service for older Australians and people with disabilities.

Together with the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) and
other Job Network members, Centrelink conducted two pilot programs designed to build better working
relationships and develop improved services for job seekers. We hope that these programs will be a continuing
feature of our operations.

Assurance issues
During the year the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) undertook a performance audit of Centrelink’s
processing of new Age Pension claims. In analysing the ANAO’s findings, it became clear that there are
significant issues about how accuracy is defined and how, and at which point of the assessment process, it is
measured and reported. The validity of the accuracy testing tool used by our staff to check each other’s work
was also the subject of scrutiny. The ANAO concluded that accuracy results, as reported to the Department of
Family and Community Services (FaCS), were not reliable.

As a result of this audit, Centrelink and FaCS have agreed in the Business Partnership Agreement 2001–04 to
a joint review of the Business Assurance Framework. This is a fundamental and far-reaching review that will
affect all quality control and assurance processes for all the payments Centrelink administers. It will involve a
clear agreement on what constitutes an accurate outcome, how it is measured and when it is measured. It will
also provide for some form of sampling for accuracy, which will be independent of Centrelink, to enable
verification of the robustness of the new assurance arrangements.

The audit also highlighted the complexity of the processes that staff must follow. It questioned the extent to
which some of these were warranted in terms of the balance between the risks they address and the costs they
incur. These issues are being considered by the Rules Simplification Taskforce conducted jointly with FaCS.
PR002.0111 — page 5 of 29

These actions being taken by Centrelink will result in greater alignment between the reported measures of
accuracy and the outcomes required by the Government and the Parliament. This will remove a potential cause
of concern that total outlays have not been correctly expended.

Skilling people for their jobs
A key achievement in supporting our staff this year was the opening of the Centrelink Virtual College in April
2001. The College was established to ensure our staff have access to quality learning to enhance work
performance and create career paths by helping them gain nationally recognised qualifications.

Staff satisfaction
Our people are Centrelink’s greatest asset. As an organisation we have invested and will continue to invest
significantly in them. In this way we ensure that we continue to attract and retain the best possible people.
There is a direct relationship between the satisfaction of staff with their jobs, the environment in which they
work and the way our services are viewed by our customers. For these reasons I am very pleased to report that
staff approval against each of the 14 measures we have in place has increased and that in our June 2001 survey
more than 70 per cent of our staff rated their job satisfaction as good or better.

Helping the community
In the International Year of Volunteers, Centrelink officially recognised and acknowledged the outstanding
contributions of many of our staff in undertaking voluntary work in their local communities. Centrelink
strongly supports the ongoing commitment of its staff to voluntary work this year and beyond.

On 30 January 2001, following the release of the Humphry report, the Centrelink Board announced Centrelink
would not continue with the existing IT Infrastructure Outsourcing tender process. As a result, Centrelink is
currently developing a strategic sourcing assessment to determine how it will implement the Government’s
policy, with a focus on value and risk.

Centrelink has seen continued progress in its online capability through the development of new applications to
support electronic service delivery and through the further integration of existing systems. This year we
launched a new web site based on the life events model and designed to enable customers to more easily find
needed products and services. Our challenge for the future is to further enhance our systems to prepare for our
new role in service delivery, in line with the Australians Working Together initiative.

Overview of performance and financial results
This review gives an account of our achievements and challenges against our outcome, output and goals
measured by the Balanced Scorecard. I am pleased to report strong results in most measures, including that of
staff satisfaction, which we targeted for specific improvement last year.

While relationships with our client agencies continued to improve this year, Centrelink again encountered
significant challenges in striving to meet some key performance indicators (KPIs). This applies particularly to
the indicators in the Business Partnership Agreement (BPA) with DEWRSB.

There were a variety of reasons for this less than optimal result — some outside Centrelink’s control — and
many lessons were learned about the setting of targets and the management of achievement of those targets.
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As a result of these lessons, we have developed a set of core principles for negotiations with all client agencies.
These are:

•   all KPIs must be achievable, within Centrelink’s control and able to be measured;

•   performance pay that affects core funding will not be part of any agreement; and

•   no additional KPIs or increased benchmarks will be agreed to without appropriate additional funding.

One of the success stories in 2000–01 has been the overall improvement in customer satisfaction with
Centrelink’s people, services and information. We have received our highest ever customer ratings for our
Customer Service Centres and Call Centres. On top of this, our Call Centres have again been benchmarked as
best practice within the industry.

Financial results
Centrelink produced a sound financial result for the reporting year with its Annual Financial Statements again
being signed by the Auditor-General without qualification. We achieved:

•   a significantly improved operating result with a surplus of $26 million;

•   the return to Government of all required efficiency dividends totalling $225.2 million;

•   a positive cash position of $124 million; and

•   a positive net equity position.

To improve the business and cost efficiency of Centrelink services and government outcomes, Centrelink
continued work on strategic cost management, a new funding model and an output pricing review. The results
of these projects should be reflected in our performance in 2002–03.

The next 12 months and beyond
During the new year Centrelink will focus on addressing the expectations of Government, client agencies and

The theme for the Business Plan 2001–04 is Delivering Today and Transforming Tomorrow. The Business
Plan identifies eight key objectives and provides the context for making decisions about projects and other
activities, with a strong focus on positioning Centrelink to implement the Government’s Australians Working
Together initiative. The Business Plan will be used throughout the organisation as the basis for detailed
Business Improvement Plans.

As new Government initiatives are introduced, Centrelink will maintain and improve its core service
responsibilities and integrate new policy initiatives into the changing customer service offer from
Government. As Centrelink’s business grows in complexity, both in terms of the number of programs and
payments it delivers and in the delivery channels it makes available, we will be committed to strong leadership
and relationship management across Centrelink.

The Centrelink life events model of service delivery will be consolidated and offer customers a new and wider
range of options for accessing services and meeting their needs.

Working with Government agencies, Centrelink will be a focus for the Government’s online strategy by
providing a primary gateway for Australians who wish to access government services. As the face of
PR002.0111 — page 7 of 29

government, Centrelink’s vast physical and electronic network will help government agencies and community
organisations extend and integrate their reach into rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas.

The effective delivery of programs and services in rural, remote and Indigenous communities will continue to
be a key priority, with particular focus on creatively using new and emerging technologies.

Despite considerable improvement this year, people management will again be a priority target for substantial
effort at all levels throughout Centrelink to ensure that staff are properly supported in an environment of
continuous change.

During the new year, Centrelink will continue to improve its operations by reducing indirect and support costs,
improving productivity, enhancing the quality of services, and increasing the responsiveness with which it
meets new Government and client agency demand. Centrelink will continue to deliver efficiency dividends to
Government and the Australian community. While we have been able to demonstrate excellence in specific
areas, our challenge for the future is to exceed expectations across all activities at all times. We will need to
further refine and possibly reduce the present number of KPIs to better measure performance in an
environment of continuous improvement and the pursuit of excellence.

Farewell to Ross Divett, PSM
On 1 May 2001, Deputy CEO Ross Divett lost his battle with mesothelioma. Ross’s courage, humour and
determination during his illness were an inspiration to all his colleagues and many friends at Centrelink. Ross
was in many ways the architect of Centrelink, and his contributions were recognised by the award of the
Public Service Medal in the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. To honour Ross’s memory, Centrelink staff
are establishing the Ross Divett Foundation as a trust through which staff can contribute financially to
charities. An annual award for Service Improvement has also been established in Ross’s memory.

Thank you
I thank our client agencies for their support and feedback. I also thank members of the Board for their
contributions and continued support throughout the year. Most of all, I want to particularly acknowledge the
hard work of our people in embracing the year’s challenges with commitment and professionalism.

Centrelink will continue to make a difference to the people of Australia by delivering the Government’s social
policy agenda at increasing levels of customer service and cost efficiency. We intend to exceed the
Government’s expectations of our organisation.

Sue Vardon

Chief Executive Officer

…Centrelink will continue to improve its operations by reducing indirect and support costs, improving
productivity, enhancing the quality of services, and increasing the responsiveness with which it meets new
Government and client agency demand.

…Centrelink has evolved into a well regarded business with a reputation for delivering responsive, high
quality and cost-effective services.
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Business arrangements
Centrelink is a statutory authority within the Family and Community Services portfolio. Other agencies in the
portfolio are FaCS, the Child Support Agency, the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service Australia, the
Social Security Appeals Tribunal and the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Purchaser/provider arrangements
Centrelink operates under a purchaser/provider framework where policy departments and agencies enter into
BPAs or similar arrangements in order to purchase our services.

The majority of Centrelink’s revenue is provided through its BPAs with purchaser agencies, whereby funds
are appropriated to the purchaser agencies and paid to Centrelink in return for specified services.

Outcome and output
Centrelink has one Government directed outcome: effective delivery of Commonwealth services to eligible
customers. The outcome is supported by one output: efficient delivery of Commonwealth services to eligible

This outcome and output reflect Centrelink’s role in delivering specified outputs on behalf of client agencies,
which are outlined in detail in BPAs.

Our purpose
Centrelink was created to provide exceptional service to the community by linking Australian government
services and achieving best practice in service delivery.

Our vision
Centrelink will make a difference to the Australian community through responsive, high quality government
services and opportunities, and give value for money.

Our mission
Our mission states the scope of our unique business that sets us apart from other organisations and exhibits our
commitment to our stakeholders.

Centrelink will build a stronger community by:

•   providing opportunities for individuals and families during transitional periods in their lives;

•   delivering innovative, cost effective and personalised services for individuals, their families and
    community groups via the one-stop-shop;

•   being committed to quality;

•   making best use of available dollars;

•   listening to and enacting the community’s ideas for better service; and

•   building a quality relationship with customers.
PR002.0111 — page 9 of 29

Our goals
To achieve our mission, we have set ourselves six long-term goals. These goals are:

Client Partnerships

To build partnerships with client agencies that deliver the required results and provide value for money.

Customer and Community

To increase customer and community involvement and satisfaction with services.

Centrelink People

To create an environment where Centrelink’s people give value to customers, client agencies and the
community through their skills and commitment to service.


To manage our business efficiently and return a dividend to Government.


To provide innovative and personalised solutions, consistent with government policy.

Best Practice

To be first choice and benchmarked as the best practice in service delivery.

Centrelink’s corporate goals provide the basis for developing strategies to achieve our outcome and output.

Figure 1: our services
Centrelink delivers around 140 products and services on behalf of its 20 client agencies, thereby contributing
to the social and economic outcomes set by Government.

The full range of products and services provided by Centrelink is outlined below.

Note: Numbers in brackets relate to client agencies’ respective outputs as outlined in 2000–01 Portfolio
Budget Statements.


Newstart Allowance (Output Group 3.1)

Mature Age Allowance (Output Group 3.1)

Partner Allowance (Output Group 3.1)

Widow Allowance (Output Group 3.1)

Employment Entry Payment (Output Group 3.1)

Education Entry Payment (Output Group 3.1)
PR002.0111 — page 10 of 29

Mutual Obligation (Output Group 3.1) (DEWRSB 1.2.8)

Centrelink Employer Contact (Output Group 3.1)

Special Employment Advance (Output Group 3.1)

Advance Payments (Output Group 3.1)

Community Development Employment Project Participant Supplement (Output Group 3.1)

Preparing for Work Agreements (Output Group 3.1) (joint with DEWRSB)


Job Seeker Registration (Output 1.2.1)

Application of the Job Seeker Classification Instrument (Output 1.2.1)

Enrolment for Job Matching Services (Output 1.2.1)

Referral to Job Search Training (Output 1.2.1)

Referral to Intensive Assistance (Output 1.2.1)

Referral to New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (Output 1.2.1)

Referral to Self Employment Development Providers (Output 1.2.1)

Special Needs Assessment (Output 1.2.1)

Issue Wage Assistance Cards (Output 1.2.9)

Referral to Work for the Dole (Output 1.2.8)

Return to Work Program (Output 1.2.10)

Maintenance of Employment Self Help Facilities (Output 1.2.3)

Occupational Psychologists (Output 1.2.2)

Community Support Program (Output 1.2.5)

Indigenous Employment Program (Output 1.2.9)


Promotion of New Apprenticeships (Output Group 2.2)

Referral to New Apprenticeships Access Programme (Output Group 2.2)

Referral to Advanced English for Migrants Programme (Output Group 2.3)

Referral to Literacy and Numeracy Programme (Output Group 2.3)

Referral to National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition Courses (Output Group 3.2)


Youth Allowance (Output Group 1.2)
PR002.0111 — page 11 of 29

Austudy Payment (Output Group 1.2)

Pensioner Education Supplement (Output Group 3.1)

Student Financial Supplement Scheme (Output Group 1.2)

Reconnect Program (Output Group 1.2)

Fares Allowance (Output Group 1.2)

Youth and Student Line for Youth Allowance and Austudy Payment Enquiries

Parent Liaison Service (Output Group 1.2)


ABSTUDY (including Living Allowance and Incidental Allowance) (Output Groups 1.2 and 2.1)

Student Financial Supplement (Loans) Scheme for ABSTUDY customers (Output Group 2.1)

Assistance for Isolated Children (including Distance Education Allowance, Second Home Allowance and
Board & Additional Board Allowance) (Output Group 1.2)

ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement (Output Groups 1.2 and 2.1)

Referral to Job Pathways Programme (Output Group 2.3)

Referral to Job Placement, Employment and Training (Output Group 2.3)

Referral to Young Offenders’ Pilot Programme (Output Group 2.3)

Career Information Centres (Output Group 2.3)

Career Counselling (Output Group 2.3)

Referral to Green Corps (Output Group 2.4)


Age Pension (Output Group 3.4)

Wife Pension (Output Group 3.4)

Widow Allowance (Output Group 3.1)

Widow B Pension (Output Group 3.4)

Pension Loans Scheme (Output Group 3.4)

Pension Bonus Scheme (Output Group 3.4)

Financial Information Service* (Output Group 3.4)

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (Output Group 2.2)

Pension Concession Card* (Output Group 2.2)

Pharmaceutical Allowance* (Output Group 2.2)

Telephone Allowance* (Output Group 2.2)
PR002.0111 — page 12 of 29

Bereavement Payment* (Output Group 2.2)

Nominee Arrangements*

* Managed by Retirement Community Segment for all customers.


Income Assessment for Residential Care Fees (Administered Item 3)


Veterans’ Information and Community Support Services in selected sites (Output 4.1)

War Widows Pension (Output 1.2)


Family Tax Benefit (parts A&B) (Output Group 1.1)

Maternity Allowance (Output Group 1.1)

Maternity Immunisation Allowance (Output Group 1.1)

Double Orphan Pension (Output Group 1.1)

Child Support registrations (Output Group 1.3)

Child Care Benefit (Output Group 1.4)

Family Adjustment Payment (Output Group 1.1)

Parenting Payment (single and partnered) (Output Group 3.1)

Jobs, Education and Training (Output Group 3.1)


Disability Support Pension (Output Group 3.2)

Wife Pension (Output Group 3.2)

Newstart Allowance (Incapacitated) (Output Group 3.1)

Youth Allowance (Incapacitated) (Output Group 1.2)

Sickness Allowance (Output Group 3.2)

Mobility Allowance (Output Group 3.2)

Disability Services (Output Group 3.2)

Disability Employment Services (Output Group 3.2)

Carer Payment (Output Group 3.3)

Carer Allowance (Output Group 3.3)
PR002.0111 — page 13 of 29


Employment Services for Special Groups (People with Disabilities) (Output 1.2.5)


Disabled Apprentice Wage Subsidy Programme (Output 2.2)


Commonwealth Carelink Program (Outcome 3, Administered Item 2)

Hearing Services (Outcome 6, Administered Item 1)


Remote Area Allowance (Output Group 2.1)

Rent Assistance (Output Group 2.1)

Retirement Assistance for Farmers (Output Group 3.4)


Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payments (Output 1)

Farm Help (Output 1)

Dairy Exit Program (Output 1)

Ex-Gratia Payments for Farmers (Output 1)*

Sugar Industry Assistance Package (Output 1)*

Flood Relief Package (Output 1)

* in conjunction with Finance


Ex-Gratia Payments for Farmers (Output 2.1.3)*

* in conjunction with AFFA


Rural Transaction Centres (Administered Program 1.1)

Commonwealth Flood Assistance Package — Business Grants (Administered Program 1.1)

Other services

Rural Agents

WA Telecentres
PR002.0111 — page 14 of 29


Multicultural Service Officer Program

Centrelink Multilingual Call

Interpreter and Translation Services

Special Benefit* (Output Group 3.1)

Crisis Payment* (Output Group 3.1)

* Managed by Multicultural Community Segment for all customers.


Assurance of Support (Output 1.1)

Pilot Work Rights Information Line (Output 1.3)

Indigenous Service Officers (community development)

Indigenous Customer Service Officers (customer contact)

Community Agents

Interpreter Services

Indigenous Service Units

Indigenous Call Centres

Indigenous Employment Outreach Officers

Remote Visiting Teams

Social Work Services for customers with difficult personal and family issues

Domestic and Family Violence Policy and Procedures

Child Support exemptions

Assessment of Youth Allowance for young people in situations of extreme family breakdown

Assessment of Crisis Payment for people leaving situations of domestic violence

Portability of payments

International agreements

Foreign pension access and assessment
PR002.0111 — page 15 of 29

Centrelink Community Officers and other assistance for homeless customers


Customer Confirmation Service


Electoral Roll data update (Output 1.1.2)


Family Law Hotline (Output1.3)


Indigenous Tax Time program (Output 1.1.1)


Government Information Centre (Output 2.2)


Health Care and other Customer Concessions (Output Group 2.2)

Corporate Services


Australian Passport Information Service Call Centre (Output 2.1.2)


Rent Deduction Scheme


Service Tasmania


Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (Administered Program 1.1)

Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (Administered Program 2.1)

Figure 2: span of the centrelink service delivery
•   Australian Electoral Commission

•   Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Australia

•   Attorney General’s Department
PR002.0111 — page 16 of 29

•   Australian Dairy Corporation

•   Australian Taxation Office

•   Child Support Agency

•   Dairy Adjustment Authority

•   Dept of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

•   Dept of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

•   Dept of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business

•   Dept of Family and Community Services

•   Dept of Finance and Administration

•   Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade

•   Dept of Health and Aged Care

•   Dept of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

•   New South Wales State Government

•   State and Territory Housing Authorities

•   Tasmanian State Government

•   Dept of Transport and Regional Services

•   Dept of Veterans’ Affairs

•   20 client agencies

•   6.3 million customers

•   9.3 million individual entitlements

•   5.2 million new claims

•   $51.7 billion in payments

•   97.3 million letters

•   22.5 million successful telephone calls

•   9 million Internet web page views


Over 1000 service delivery points Australia wide including:

•   312 Customer Service Centres (incorporating FAO offices)

•   28 Call Centres

•   33 Separate Specialist Services

•   15 Area Support Offices
PR002.0111 — page 17 of 29

•   1 National Support Office

•   15 Veteran Information Services

•   16 Rural Transaction Centres

•   Around 70 Access Points

•   7 Service Tasmania Centres

•   260 Community Agents

•   Rural Visiting Services as required

•   24 356 staff

Centrelink’s highly skilled Board of Management has the collective experience that provides the vision to
drive our organisation in achieving excellence.

Centrelink operates under the direction of a Board of Management, while internally it is governed by a
Guiding Coalition. There are clearly designated roles for the Board and the Guiding Coalition.

Guiding Coalition
The Guiding Coalition is Centrelink's internal corporate Board. It comprises all the SES officers of Centrelink
and meets every six to eight weeks to discuss strategic issues of importance as well as make decisions about
Centrelink's management and business directions.

Meetings are held in various locations around Australia, most in capital cities but at least one in a major
country area. This provides a valuable opportunity for National and Area Managers to visit a range of offices
throughout the year and to have face-to-face contact with many Centrelink staff.

Management committees
The Business Improvement Committee assists the Guiding Coalition in its responsibilities. It has the primary
role of ensuring the most effective and efficient use of project and National Support maintenance program
funds within Centrelink.

Board of Management
Board structure

The Board of Centrelink comprises:

•   the Chairman, Mr John Pascoe, AM;

•   three non-Executive directors: Mr Don Fraser, Ms Chris Gillies and Mr John Thame;
PR002.0111 — page 18 of 29

•   principal officers of the Commonwealth: Dr David Rosalky, Secretary FaCS, and Dr Peter Shergold AM,
    Secretary DEWRSB; and

•   the CEO, Ms Sue Vardon (the sole Executive Board director).

Board committees

Three Board Committees assist the Board in its work.

•   The Audit Committee ensures that Centrelink operates with proper financial management and internal

•   The Information and Technology (I&T) Committee provides advice and direction on strategic I&T issues.

•   The Quality Committee is responsible for assuring the Board that Centrelink is delivering services that will
    see it remain as the ‘first choice’ for Government and customers and eventually be benchmarked as best
    practice in service delivery.

Operating result
Centrelink generated an operating surplus of $26 million for 2000–01, which represents 1.5 per cent of net
annual revenue. This result was achieved after taking into account an efficiency dividend of $225.2 million
that was returned to Government via a reduced revenue base.

Table 1: Net operating result 2000–01 and 1999–2000
                                                     2000–01                1999–2000a

                                                      $('000)                    $('000)

Revenue from Government                                 5 333                      4 746

Revenue from independent sources                   1 767 964                   1 676 419

Revenue (net of dividend)                          1 773 297                   1 681 165

Revenue (before dividend)                          1 998 497                   1 891 965

Expenses                                          -1 747 289                  -1 686 100

Operating Result before dividend                     251 208                    205 865

Efficiency Dividend                                 -225 200                    -210 800

Net Operating Result                                   26 008                     -4 935

a 1999–2000 comparative figures have been adjusted to conform with the revised presentation of the
    2000–01 Annual Financial Statements.
PR002.0111 — page 19 of 29


FaCS was the major source of revenue, providing 90.5 per cent of Centrelink's overall revenue. Centrelink's
operating revenue is primarily derived from those client agencies with whom Centrelink negotiates and agrees
BPAs. Centrelink is paid in accordance with arrangements specified in the BPAs for the delivery of services.

Prescribed efficiency dividend
In 2000–01, as in previous years, Centrelink successfully delivered government efficiency dividends in the
form of a reduction in revenue paid to Centrelink by client agencies. Centrelink is subject to three separate

•   the standard efficiency dividend of 1 per cent of total net running costs;

•   the special efficiency dividend, applied in recognition of Centrelink's ability to remove duplication and
    streamline government services previously provided by a range of government departments; and

•   the IT infrastructure efficiency dividend.

Since its inception Centrelink has returned a total of $586.2 million in efficiency dividends to Government.

Table 2: Centrelink revenue 2000–01
Source of revenue                                                 $('000)

FaCS                                                           1 602 787

DEWRSB                                                            109 664

DETYA                                                              14 095

AFFA                                                               10 798

Health                                                              2 747

Other revenue                                                      33 206

Total revenuea                                                 1 773 297

a Represents all revenue received, and includes revenue specified within the BPAs and revenue for services
    delivered outside those Agreements. Only the top five revenue sources from client agencies have been
    identified. All others are included under ‘Other Revenue’ .

Table 3: Government dividend requirements
                                          2000–01             1999–2000

                                                  $m                  $m

Standard                                         61.0                46.0

Special                                      139.4                  139.4

IT Infrastructure                                24.8                25.4

Total                                        225.2                  210.8
PR002.0111 — page 20 of 29

Figure 4: outcome and output structure 2000–01
The following diagram demonstrates how Centrelink’s goals, output and outcome link with desired client agency outcomes.

Our Goals                    Centrelink Output       Centrelink Outcome         Client agency outcomes relevant to Centrelink

                             Efficient delivery of   Effective delivery of      FaCS: Outcome 1 — Stronger Families.
                             Commonwealth services   Commonwealth services
                                                                                Outcome 2 — Stronger Communities.
                             to eligible customers   to eligible customers
                                                                                Outcome 3 — Economic & Social Participation.

Client Partnerships                                                             AFFA: Portfolio Outcome — Increasing the profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of
                                                                                Australian agricultural, food, fisheries and forestry industries and enhancing the natural resources
                                                                                base to achieve greater national wealth and stronger rural and regional communities.

                                                                                AEC: Outcome 1 — Australians have an electoral roll which ensures their voter entitlement and
                                                                                provides the basis for the planning of electoral events and electoral redistributions.

Customer & Community                                                            AGD: Outcome 1 — An equitable and accessible system of federal law and justice.

                                                                                ATO: Outcome 1 — Effectively managed and shaped systems that support and fund services for
                                                                                Australians and give effect to social and economic policy through the tax system.

People                                                                          DoCITA: Outcome 2 — A competitive and sustainable advantage in the global information

                                                                                DETYA: Outcome 1 — School systems provide their students with high quality foundation skills
                                                                                and learning outcomes.

                                                                                Outcome 2 — Post-school education and training providers assist individuals to achieve relevant
                                                                                skills and learning outcomes for work and life.

Cost-Efficiency                                                                 DEWRSB: Outcome 1 — An efficient and equitable labour market that links people to jobs and
                                                                                promotes the transition from welfare to work.
PR002.0111 — page 21 of 29

                                                         Finance: Outcome 2 — Improved and more efficient government operations.

Innovation                                               DFAT: Outcome 2 — Australians informed about and provided access to consular and passport
                                                         services in Australia and overseas.

                                                         Health: Outcome 3 — Improved and more efficient government operations.

                                                         Outcome 6 — Hearing Services.

Best Practice                                            DIMA: Outcome 1 — Lawful and orderly entry and stay of people.

                                                         DoTRS: portfolio outcome — Linking Australia through transport and regional services.

                             Centrelink delivers a       DVA: Outcome 1 — Eligible veterans, their war widows/widowers, and dependants have access
                             wide range of outputs on    to appropriate compensation and income support in recognition of the effects of war service.
                             behalf of client agencies
                                                         Outcome 4 — The needs of the veteran community are identified, members of the community are
                                                         informed about available community and specific services and they are able to access such
PR002.0111 — page 22 of 29

Performance at a glance

Our goal is to build partnerships with client agencies that deliver the required results and provide value for

Generally, Centrelink met most of the major client agency KPIs with significant improvements over 1999–2000 in some
areas, particularly timeliness. A number of the existing KPIs over which Centrelink has limited control remained a
challenge. Recent business partnership negotiations have resulted in the replacement of some of these KPIs with a smaller
number of outcomes focused measures.

Key achievements
•   retained 100 per cent of existing business during 2000–01 and gained new business;

•   joint participation with FaCS in the Rules Simplification Taskforce;

•   effectively delivered client agency outputs; and

•   provided input for policy development.

Key challenges
•   managing client agencies’ KPIs;

•   addressing issues identified by the ANAO about Age Pension new claims; and

•   providing additional value to our client agencies through feedback on policy implementation and contributing ideas
    for future policy consideration.

The Australian sugar industry, based mostly in central and northern Queensland, has experienced a severe downturn,
with canegrowers significantly affected by extensive damage to crops caused by cyclones and flooding, rust disease and
rat plague. In some areas, yields have been reduced by up to 40 per cent. These problems were compounded by sustained
low world sugar prices, and have resulted in significant hardship for canegrowers and local communities.

A comprehensive and rapid response was required by Centrelink on behalf of AFFA. Building on the already strong
networks with local farmer organisations and communities in the area, Centrelink had teams in place in less than a week,
running information seminars and ready to receive claims for financial assistance at local canegrowers organisations.

In January 2001, the Chairman of Queensland Canegrowers, Harry Bonanno, publicly stated on behalf of Queensland’s
6500 sugar cane growers that the successful working relationship between Centrelink and canegrowers was a model for
future community support schemes, paying tribute to the outstanding cooperation, understanding and flexibility shown by
PR002.0111 — page 23 of 29

Our goal is to increase customer and community involvement and satisfaction with our services.

The results show a comparison of customer satisfaction across a range of Centrelink services between 1999–2000 and
2000–01, and with an overall target of 80 per cent. From June to December 2000, overall satisfaction with the quality of
Centrelink’s services rose by 10 per cent to reach 76 per cent nationally. From 2001, customer satisfaction surveys will be
undertaken annually; the next survey will be in November–December 2001.

Key achievements
•   launched 312 Family Assistance Offices in various sites on 1 July 2000;

•   launched the Statement of Centrelink’s Commitment to Reconciliation on 14 December 2000;

•   strengthened and supported the life events approach;

•   increased customer satisfaction in Customer Service Centres and Call Centres;

•   established a range of community partnerships and strategic alliances; and

•   expanded Centrelink services for Indigenous customers in rural and remote areas.

Key challenges
•   settling in the Family Assistance Office;

•   dealing with increasing demand on Call Centre services, as well as the changing nature and complexity of caller

•   introducing key messages and concepts from the Australians Working Together initiatives to our people;

•   providing consistent and equitable access to services across all customer groups;

•   strengthening and supporting the life events approach;

•   becoming a key part of local communities;

•   continuing to improve service delivery to rural, remote and Indigenous customers;

•   reducing the number of letters sent to customers and regulating the creation of new letters; and

•   managing the different channels for customer contact (face-to-face, phone, online, mail) as customer needs become
    more complex.

Moving Forward is an innovative method of service delivery designed specifically for job seekers from Indigenous
backgrounds. This personalised service aims to ensure that each contact with Centrelink moves Indigenous job seekers
closer to their employment goals. Moving Forward has been fully implemented in Cairns, Queensland, and is being
extended to other offices in the region.

Moving Forward is run by specially trained staff who can deliver Centrelink services in creative and innovative ways that
move beyond the traditional office setting. These include conducting Centrelink business outdoors using remote access
PR002.0111 — page 24 of 29

technology and developing strong relationships with external bodies such as the Job Network, DEWRSB, the Group
Training Scheme, TAFEs and the New Apprenticeship Centre.

Our goal is to create an environment where Centrelink’s people give value to customers, client agencies and the
community through their skills and commitment to service.

Very positive results from the December 2000 and June 2001 staff polls assisted Centrelink to improve on its previous
year’s performance by 20 per cent.

Key achievements
•   developed the Centrelink Leadership Qualities;

•   established the Centrelink Virtual College;

•   achieved outstanding performance in the National Pay Centre;

•   signed the Statement of Centrelink’s Commitment to Reconciliation;

•   developed the Indigenous Employees’ Action Plan; and

•   achieved a 4 per cent productivity-based pay rise for our people.

Key challenges
•   a risk assessment approach to managing customer aggression;

•   skilling and supporting Customer Service Officers; and

•   implementation of the Centrelink Development Agreement and associated human resources policies.


As 2001 is the International Year of Volunteers, Centrelink has taken the opportunity to recognise the enormous
contributions many Centrelink employees make to our community.


Andreas Bischof is part of Centrelink Call Moreland (Victoria) and has been a member of the Victoria State Emergency
Service since early 1998. His volunteering duties have included storm damage repair, flood assistance, search and rescue
for missing persons, and the rescue of victims from vehicles at the site of an accident.

Andreas says his involvement gives him a sense of purpose in giving back to the community of which he is a part.
PR002.0111 — page 25 of 29

Our goal is to manage our business efficiently and return a dividend to Government.

The graph shows the 2000–01 operating performance, and the end-of-year cash and equity positions compared to the
equivalent period last year. Centrelink earned a net operating surplus of $26 million in 2000–01.

Key achievements
•   improved operating result with a surplus of $26 million;

•   returned to Government all required efficiency dividends totalling $225.2 million;

•   achieved a positive cash position of $124 million; and

•   achieved a positive net equity position.

Key challenges
•   management of the Comcare premium, especially high cost claims;

•   increasing Call Centre automation;

•   implementing robust cost management methodologies;

•   effectively using service delivery channels; and

•   developing the new funding model and the output pricing review.

Centrelink is the third largest consumer of energy (in terms of gigajoules) of Commonwealth agencies. This is largely due
to the fact that Centrelink has the largest single property network among all Commonwealth agencies. Centrelink
therefore aims wherever possible to minimise its impact on the environment through energy management and waste
minimisation programs.

Centrelink has embarked on a two stage program for outsourced energy management services through the Australian
Gas Light Company (AGL). This program aims to reduce Centrelink's energy consumption to meet government targets.
Stage one, a detailed feasibility study, has been completed and final evaluation of the stage two proposal is nearly
complete. Subject to final approval, the program will be delivered via an energy performance contract, funded and
managed by AGL, with guaranteed energy reduction outcomes. The contract will be the largest yet undertaken by a
Commonwealth agency and will establish Centrelink as a leader in the energy management field.

The majority of Centrelink's offices have programs in place for recycling of confidential paper waste and smaller scale
schemes for recycling glass, plastic and cans. Recharged toner cartridges and paper with recycled content are also used.
At Tuggeranong Office Park, Canberra, in addition to recycling, remaining waste is compacted on site to minimise its
volume, while all landscaping and kitchen wastes are composted on site and reused.
PR002.0111 — page 26 of 29

Our goal is to provide innovative and personalised solutions consistent with Government policy.

Centrelink coordinated and consolidated a range of business improvement projects in 2000-01. These projects focused on
improving current operations, as well as positioning for future service delivery.

Projects focused on the outcomes specified in the Centrelink Business Plan and included:

•   Centrelink Online, which provides the infrastructure to support the Call Centre and Families Tax System;

•   Call Centre Automation, which will improve the timeliness and effectiveness of services;

•   various initiatives to explore and progress the life events approach to service delivery;

• initiatives to improve servicing in rural and regional areas, and to Indigenous customers;

•   Centrelink Education Network to improve the delivery of training to Centrelink employees; and

•   initiatives to improve the accuracy of our decision making.

Key achievements
•   conducted Community Connections trials in four sites;

•   achieved major growth in the Centrepay facility;

•   extended Remote Access Service technology allowing better access to Centrelink;

•   completed the Centrelink online project;

•   launched the new Centrelink web site; and

•   developed a standalone configuration of Edge (Decision Support System) in partnership with FaCS and Softlaw

Key challenges
•   business process re-engineering to capture the advantages of the service delivery model and e-technology;

•   removing the complexity from customer service in order to meet the expectations of the community for service
    anywhere, anytime;

•   finding a balance between accessibility and convenience, and cost, complexity and risk; and

•   developing people strategies for the new business process.

Centrelink is using video-conferencing in selected Areas to take specialist services to some of the remotest parts of

Centrelink's video-linking facilities are currently involved in a trial with the South Australian Government's Justice Unit
and Legal Services Commission. This three-way partnership, known as Bushlink, connects Centrelink Ceduna with Port
Augusta Prison, so that inmates and their families in remote communities can have face-to-face contact without having to
travel for five or more hours. This was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in
PR002.0111 — page 27 of 29

Custody. Prisoners may also use these facilities to access advice from the Legal Services Commission, while witnesses
can give evidence at trials, to avoid lengthy travel to urban centres. The facilities have even been used by a magistrate to
witness the signing of a legal document by a signatory based in a remote area. In return for providing access to its
facilities, Centrelink gains access to the other partners' facilities sited in Indigenous communities in the north-west of
South Australia.

Our goal is to be first choice and benchmarked as best practice in service delivery.

Performance against the best practice goal is not measured individually as it is the sum of the total achievement against
the other five goals and will be validated through external benchmarking.

Key achievements
•   conducted over 50 Risk Assessment Workshops;

•   implemented the Getting it Right strategy;

•   conducted several benchmarking projects;

•   conducted mystery shopping trials in 152 Customer Service Centres;

•   received a wide range of awards; and

•   hosted a wide range of international visits.

Key challenges
•   exploring internal and external benchmarking;

•   increasingly being benchmarked as best practice; and

•   sharing best practice.

Centrelink recognises best practice through internal award programs and is in turn recognised in a wide variety of forums
for innovative best practice. Participation in various award programs at the local, national and international levels gives
recognition to Centrelink people for service delivery excellence. It also provides a further opportunity to benchmark
performance against other organisations in the public, private and community sectors.

Centrelink has received a wide range of external awards in 2000–01 in recognition of best practice in areas of our
business. Centrelink Call in particular was very successful in winning numerous industry and community awards during
2000–01, reflecting its high level of innovation and best practice.

Centrelink is recognised around the world for expertise in fraud control. Specialised staff are sought to undertake
consultancies to assist in the development of fraud programs for domestic and international organisations.
PR002.0111 — page 28 of 29

•   IBM, FaCS and Centrelink are conducting a Consultancy Study on Risk Management on Social Security Schemes for
    the Government of Hong Kong represented by the Social Welfare Department. Ray White, Detection and Review, will
    reside in Hong Kong for the six-month duration of the consultancy.

•   Brian O’Malley, Detection and Review, is on a two-year outposting to Canada's Human Resources Development
    Department to assist with the development of their fraud control programs.

•   A whole-of-government, proof of identity scoping study is under way with the Criminal Justice and Security Division
    of the Attorney-General's Department.


Centrelink also hosts an extensive program of visits by international counterparts. Centrelink received around 17 study
tours and delegations from overseas countries in 2000–01, with particular interest shown by the People's Republic of
China. Areas of common interest are Centrelink's service delivery and I&T capabilities.

Centrelink will continue to make a difference to the people of Australia by delivering the Government’s social policy
agenda at increasing levels of customer service and cost efficiency.

Statement of Centrelink’s commitment to reconciliation
A united Australia which respects this land of ours: values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and provides
justice and equity for all.

Centrelink is committed to working in practical ways with Indigenous peoples and their communities, Client Departments
and other Agencies to achieve integrated services which improve economic and social outcomes for Indigenous

Centrelink is committed to making a difference to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through responsive
high quality government services and opportunities.

Centrelink affirms the fundamental importance of reconciliation for a community which values diversity and the
contribution of all people. For Centrelink, reconciliation means working with our people, Indigenous customers and their
communities to deliver improved outcomes for Indigenous people.

Centrelink recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Australians, with unique cultures,
languages and the spiritual relationships to the land and seas.

Centrelink acknowledges the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and commits to working with
Indigenous Australians to achieve:

‘A united Australia which respects this land of ours: values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and
provides justice and equity for all’.

Vision of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation
Centrelink acknowledges the diversity and differences within and between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
PR002.0111 — page 29 of 29

For Indigenous Australians and their communities Centrelink is committed to:

•   Acknowledge and overcome the barriers faced by Indigenous Australians in accessing Centrelink services. We will
    develop partnerships with Indigenous communities and agencies to improve the design, delivery and access to
    Centrelink services.

•   Improve access to employment, education and training.

•   Increase the satisfaction of Indigenous Australians with Centrelink services.

•   Ensuring an Indigenous voice in developing Centrelink services, and encouraging the active involvement of our
    Indigenous employees in shaping future directions.

As an employer Centrelink values its Indigenous employees and is committed to:

•   Providing greater employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians, reflecting the indigenous customer profile in
    our staffing levels.

•   Ensuring Indigenous employees receive appropriate support.

•   Assisting Indigenous employees to fulfill their career goals through the provision of development and learning

•   Increasing our understanding of the identity and experiences of Indigenous Australians and reflecting this awareness
    in our internal relationships and external service delivery.


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