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Fair Work Ombudsman annual performance statement

I, Natalie James, as the Entity’s accountable authority, present the 2016–17 annual performance statement, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The statement is based on properly maintained records, accurately reflects the entity’s performance, and complies with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Agency purpose

The FWO is the Australian Government agency responsible for ensuring compliance with workplace relations laws through advice, education and, where necessary, enforcement.


Performance criteria Indicator Target Achieved Further information on results
The FWO manages requests for assistance in a timely manner. Average number of days requests for assistance involving a workplace dispute are finalised. 30 days 15 days Activities and recoveries
The FWO provides information and advice that is accessible, timely and reliable. Availability of website services (time available as a percentage of total time). 99% 99% Online services
Availability of contact centre services (percentage of availability during advertised hours). 99%  99% Phone services
The FWO takes a risk-based and proportionate approach to its compliance and enforcement activities. Requests for assistance involving a workplace dispute finalised through education and dispute resolution services. at least 90% 94% Assisted dispute resolution services
Requests for assistance involving a workplace dispute finalised through compliance and enforcement tools. no more than 10% 6% Enforcement outcomes

Performance criteria: The FWO has a positive impact on sectors/regions or issues of importance to the community.

Achieved: The FWO responded to trends in enquiry and dispute data and reports of potential workplace issues from the public through self-initiated activities. These activities recovered more than $8 million in underpayments. Activities were targeted at understanding the issues contributing to, and finding long-term solutions for, migrant and young worker exploitation, non-compliance in the hospitality industry and in labour procurement and supply chain practices.

Further information on results: FWO-initiated activities.

Source: FWO Corporate Plan 2015–19 and FWO 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements: Programme 1.1 (p 129–130).

Analysis of performance against FWO purpose

In 2016–17, the FWO met its performance indicators. We delivered activities that were effective, had a positive impact and contributed to our purpose.

New and improved digital services provided convenient and accessible advice and assistance to more of the community in shorter timeframes. Reflecting this, visits to the FWO website increased by 7% and online enquiries increased by 15% compared with 2015–16.

We focused on providing employers and employees with the right level of information and support to resolve workplace disputes through education and dispute resolution activities. Ninety four percent of requests for assistance were resolved in this manner. Over the last year, the average time taken to resolve requests for assistance also reduced to 15 days, as compared with 19 days in 2015–16.

This enabled us to target compliance activities to matters and sectors of the labour market that our enhanced intelligence-gathering and analysis indicated involved serious and systemic non-compliance with workplace laws.

One of the common features of these matters was that they often involved people more vulnerable to exploitation.

We participated in a number of activities focused on addressing worker exploitation, including two senate inquiries and a ministerial working group on visa holder matters. The agency provided information and advice with respect to the Government’s commitments to increase penalties for serious contraventions of the law and enhance our formal evidence gathering powers under the Fair Work Act.