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APS Employee Census

An online, confidential and voluntary survey that tracks the views of APS employees about leadership, their workplace and conditions of work. The results are a key source of information for the State of the Service report.


The Australian Government’s web-based procurement system, which provides centralised access to all publicly available approaches to market, multi-use lists, annual procurement plans and reported contracts.

Australian Public Service (APS) employee

A person engaged under section 22, or a person who is engaged as an APS employee under section 72, of the Public Service Act 1999.


An insurer, regulator and scheme manager that supports healthy and safe workplaces, and reduces harm and injury.

Common law contract

An individual contract of employment between an employer and an employee that is not lodged or certified under federal or state legislation but is subject to award requirements and provisions.

Compliance notice

A notification that legally requires a person to do certain things to fix alleged entitlement-based Fair Work Act breaches. Non-compliance with these notices is actionable in a court and can result in penalties.

Corporate governance

The process by which agencies are directed and controlled. It is generally understood to encompass authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.

Customer Service Charter

A public statement about the services the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) will provide, what customers can expect and what they should do if unsatisfied.

Early intervention

Tailored assistance that aims to preserve employment relationships by keeping the matter in the hands of the parties. Customers are coached through their options, referred to online resources and supported to have effective workplace conversations.

Enforceable undertakings

Legally-binding documents that set out a company's written commitment to address workplace contraventions and prevent future breaches.

Enterprise agreement

An agreement made under the Fair Work Act 2009 (on or after 1 July 2009) between one or more employers and a group of employees in relation to terms and conditions of employment for those employees.

Fair Work Act 2009

The principal Commonwealth law governing Australia's workplace relations system.


Commonwealth financial assistance covered by the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.

Interactive guided user pathway

A website decision tree that directs customers to specific content, based on their selections and answers to questions.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Financial and non-financial measures used to help define and evaluate an organisation’s success. An indicator is usually selected on the basis of relevance as a measure of some aspect of a specific project or operation.


A dispute resolution process that focuses on assisting parties to reach a mutual agreement, and to resolve disagreements on their own terms.

Memorandum of understanding

A written agreement between the FWO and another organisation outlining how the collaboration will create and maintain harmonious, productive and cooperative workplaces and promote a level playing field for businesses in specific industries. The formal agreements are publicly available on the FWO website.

Modern awards

An award made by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission as part of the award modernisation process that commenced operation on 1 January 2010. Modern awards supplement the National Employment Standards by setting out additional minimum terms and conditions that apply in a particular industry or occupation, including monetary entitlements such as wages, penalty rates and allowances.

My account

Online self-service gateway where customers set up an account and save tailored information, such as pay rates, access previous searches and submit online enquiries.

National Australian Built Environment Rating System

A national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings through their energy efficiency, water usage, waste management, indoor environment quality and impact on the environment.

National Employment Standards (NES)

Ten minimum standards of employment that apply to national system employees from 1 January 2010. For a list of the NES, visit the FWO website.

Online learning centre

An online hub offering interactive courses for employers and employees to develop their workplace skills.

Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT)

An online tool that combines a pay, shift, leave and notice and redundancy calculator. It can be accessed on mobile devices and enables calculations to be saved for later reference.


Involves a company intentionally accumulating debts to improve cash flow or wealth and then liquidating to avoid paying the debt. The business is then continued as another corporate entity, controlled by the same person or group and free of their previous debts and liabilities.

Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)

Statements prepared by portfolios to explain the budget appropriations in terms of planned government outcomes.

Proactive compliance deed

A written commitment outlining how a business will work cooperatively with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to build compliance capacity.


Government programmes deliver benefits, services or transfer payments to individuals, industry, business or the community and are the primary vehicles for government agencies to achieve the intended results of their outcome statements.

Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

The primary piece of Commonwealth resource management legislation, replaced the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 on 1 July 2014.

Public Service Act 1999

The principal Commonwealth law providing for the establishment and management of the APS.

Purchaser-provider arrangements

Arrangements under which the outputs of an agency are purchased by another agency to contribute to outcomes. Purchaser-provider arrangements can occur between Commonwealth agencies or between Commonwealth agencies and state/territory government or private sector bodies.

Sham contracting

Where an employer tries to disguise an employment relationship as an independent contracting relationship. This may be done to avoid having to provide employees with their proper entitlements.

Shared Services Centre

Provides corporate and transactional services, including information technology support, to APS departments.

Small business

A business that employs fewer than 15 employees.

Small Business Fix-It Squads

A group of small business owners, intermediaries and representatives from federal and state government agencies that make improvements for small business owners and reduce red tape.

Taskforce Cadena

Taskforce Cadena is a joint initiative between the FWO and the Australian Border Force (ABF; under the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, DIBP). Initiated in July 2015, the taskforce shares intelligence and data to reduce visa fraud, and reinforces existing efforts to stamp out illegal and exploitative practices involving migrant workers.