Part 4 Management and accountability
Corporate governance practices
As the Commission is a small organisation, it requires less complex corporate governance structures than those of larger bodies such as Government departments. The Commission considers its corporate governance arrangements to be appropriate for its small size and consistent with its statutory role and responsibilities. There are two parts to the governance arrangements. The first of these addresses the Commission's responsibilities under the International Air Services Commission Act 1992 (the Act). The second part of the governance structure concerns staffing of the Commission's Secretariat and the expenditure of the Commission's budget.
Part 4 of the Act sets out procedures with which the Commission must comply. The Commission considers that it meets these requirements in full. The most significant of the requirements concerns the holding of meetings. The Commission usually meets at its offices in Canberra. However, when urgent issues arise and it is not practicable to have a face-to-face meeting in Canberra, the Commission conducts meetings either by email or by teleconference. The use of electronic media for conducting meetings reduces travel costs associated with face-to-face meetings, representing a saving to the Commission's budget. A quorum of members is present at all meetings and minutes are kept of proceedings at all of its meetings.
During its meetings, the Commission discusses the applications from carriers and make determinations and decisions in accordance with the Act and the Minister's Policy Statement. Additionally, administrative issues such as staffing, financial and risk management issues, as appropriate, are discussed at these meetings. Commissioners and the Secretariat maintain regular contact via email and telephone about matters requiring the Commission's attention in the periods between meetings.
Part 4 of the Act enables the Commission to hold hearings at its discretion. No hearings were held this year.
Part 5 of the Act deals with the membership of the Commission. The Chairperson and members are appointed by the Governor-General after approval by Cabinet, which considers recommendations of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport (the Minister). A member may be appointed on a full-time or part-time basis and the Minister may determine the terms and conditions of appointment on matters not provided under the Act. The Act also provides that a Commissioner may be appointed for a period not exceeding five years. Currently, all Commissioners have been appointed as part-time and for a period of three years. The Remuneration Tribunal sets members' remuneration pursuant to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.
The Act further provides that the Minister may appoint a person to act as Chairperson or Member of the Commission under certain circumstances. The Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, extended the appointment of Mr John King as Commission Member on an acting and part-time basis from 1 July to 31 December 2016.
Section 47 of the Act requires members to disclose any interest that could conflict with the performance of their functions in relation to proceedings conducted by the Commission. Commissioners are fully aware of this obligation.
Section 53 of the Act requires the Commission to prepare and give to the Minister a report of its operations for the financial year. The Commissioners review drafts of the annual report during its preparation. The final report is cleared and signed off by them and provided to the Minister in accordance with the requirements of the Act. The report is tabled in both Houses of Parliament.
The second part of the Commission's corporate governance arrangements arises from the Commission's relationship with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department). Secretariat staff members are officers of the Department and are subject to the same responsibilities and obligations applying to all departmental staff. The Commission's Executive Director is responsible for the day to day management of the Secretariat, in accordance with these obligations and responsibilities. Secretariat staff members are expected to adhere to the Australian Public Service's Values and Code of Conduct.
There was no formal external scrutiny of the Commission this year and no determinations or decisions made by it were the subject of judicial (or administrative) review1.
Management of human resources
As at 30 June 2017, the Secretariat was comprised of one full-time Executive Level 2 officer as Executive Director (Ms Marlene Tucker) and one part-time APS 5 officer as Administrative Officer (Ms Anita Robinson). During the reporting period, an external officer (Mr Christopher Samuel) in October 2016 acted as Executive Director during Ms Tucker's absence.
As officers of the Department, Secretariat staff members' employment conditions are determined by the Department's normal employment arrangements. However, as part of the arrangements to ensure independence of the Commission from the Department, Secretariat staff members are responsible directly to the Commissioners on Commission matters.
The Department's human resource management policies and practices apply to Secretariat staff. These include performance management arrangements, including six-monthly discussions about work performance and professional development. The Commissioners support the professional development of Secretariat members by encouraging participation in appropriate study, training courses and conferences.
In August 2016, the Chairperson, Dr Douglas, was one of the panel discussants at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit 2016 in Brisbane. The Executive Director, Ms Tucker, attended the CAPA aviation summits in Brisbane (in August 2016) and Canberra (in March 2017).
Secretariat staff support the Commission's work through the preparation of briefing and agenda papers for meetings; preparing all Commission meeting requirements; drafting determinations and decisions for consideration by Commissioners; responding to queries from the public; and providing advice to the Commissioners and other external stakeholders.
Asset management is not a prominent aspect of the business of the Commission.
The Commission made no significant purchases during the year.
Consultants, contractors and competitive tendering
During the reporting period, the Commission did not engage the services of consultants or contractors and did not engage in competitive tendering.
1 Decisions made by the Commission are not subject to merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.