The Department of Communications and the Arts revised 2018–19 Corporate Plan is prepared for section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, for the 2018–19 reporting period. It covers the period from 2018–19 to 2021–22.
I am pleased to present a revised issue of the Department of Communications and the Arts 2018–19 Corporate Plan.
This revised plan incorporates new impact-oriented performance measures, informed by the needs we are meeting and what success against our purposes looks like for Australians. We'll report results against these measures in our 2018–19 annual report.
The Australian Government's policy, regulatory and program settings for communications and the arts have a significant influence on enabling economic and social activity, particularly as Australia is an increasingly digital economy. A range of services, across diverse sectors, are now predominantly delivered via digital platforms enabled by communications infrastructure.
Our purposes—connectivity, creativity and culture—are at the centre of our work plan. Our nation's communications, creative and cultural sectors are interdependent and complementary. We promote an innovative and competitive communications sector so that new communications technologies can not only enable business and government service transformation, but can also provide new ways to access Australia's social, creative and cultural products. Demand for digital content, in particular creative and cultural content, is a significant driver of the rapid changes we are experiencing in communications technology. In an increasingly global marketplace for creativity, our work to protect and promote Australian, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, content and culture supports national growth and makes a significant difference to social inclusiveness.
Over the life of this 4-year corporate plan, the NBN rollout will be completed, 5G mobile technology introduced and high levels of investment in communications infrastructure will continue. Together, these will provide a powerful platform to allow more data to be transferred more widely, quickly and reliably than ever before. This has opened up the potential for wider-scale process automation, always-on interconnection between millions of devices, and complex interactions being handled through technology alone.
Our role in this complex environment is to develop the policy, regulatory and support structures to ensure that sectors can invest confidently, operate effectively, consumers can connect and are appropriately protected, and creative and cultural objectives are achieved.
As we work to implement this plan, we will be guided by our strategic vision: to be the pre-eminent national entity for communications policy, planning, investment and research; to be an effective and accountable leader on telecommunications, broadcasting and digital regulation; to foster and promote Australian content and creativity domestically and abroad on a variety of platforms; to have a view on the right outcome; to be outstanding program managers; and to foster an inclusive, high-performing workplace.
Our role is to provide an environment in which all Australians can access and benefit from communications services, creative experiences and culture.
Our purposes are:
Enabling all Australians to connect to effective communications services and technologies, for inclusiveness and sustainable economic growth.
Creativity and culture
Supporting inclusiveness and growth in Australia's creative sector, and protecting and promoting Australian content and culture.
We carry out our role and deliver our purposes through 2 budget programs (activities).
Program 1.1 Digital Technologies and Communications Services
Through program 1.1, we provide high-quality, strategic advice to the government on communications infrastructure and markets, consumer protections and regulatory reform opportunities and deliver related programs and services.
Program 2.1 Arts and Cultural Development
Through program 2.1, we administer a range of activities to: support excellence in the arts and culture; develop and promote access to cultural activities including in regional and remote Australia; preserve and develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture; support Australian screen production; and protect Australia's movable cultural heritage
Sustainable development goals
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development apply to all nations. To implement the agenda, governments worldwide are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of 17 identified sustainable development goals and mobilise their efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
We are a supporting agency for:
Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
In terms of these goals, Australia has long-standing arrangements to provide universal access to telephony, and has encouraged the development and uptake of the internet and high speed broadband. The NBN will provide all Australian premises with access to affordable, high-speed next-generation broadband by 2020, enhancing connectivity and with particular benefits for regional, rural and remote regions. In light of the NBN's rollout, the government is developing options for a new universal service guarantee to provide all Australian premises, regardless of location, with access to both voice and broadband services, better reflecting consumer needs. Our Mobile Black Spot Program, in partnership with mobile network operators, state and territory and local governments, is improving mobile coverage and competition in telecommunications across Australia in areas where commercial investment alone is not sustainable.
Australia is home to diverse creative arts and cultures. Our vibrant creative and cultural sector contributes to fostering inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and innovative cities and human settlements. Creativity is key to innovation, driving sustainability and prosperity. We support a broad range of activities that encourage a sustainable, innovative creative sector and the protection, preservation and promotion of Australian culture.
How we will achieve our purposes, and measure achievement
We provide an environment in which all Australians can access and benefit from communications services, creative experiences and culture. We do this through delivering:
strategic advice and policy development—providing government with the best options and policy advice on issues relating to communications and the arts, including on the delivery of services to regional Australia. Our advice is evidence-based and is informed by research, stakeholder consultation and critical analysis of sectoral developments and market trends
effective program and grants management—delivering efficient and effective programs, grants and services to achieve the government's policy outcomes. We adhere to the highest standards of public administration
regulatory management—administering portfolio legislation efficiently and effectively. We review and shape regulatory frameworks and we assist the Minister for Communications and the Arts, and the Minister for Regional Services to fulfil their parliamentary obligations
collaborative stakeholder engagement—working with portfolio entities, government stakeholders, international organisations, industry, research institutions and the community to generate innovative advice and ensure that the advice and services the department delivers are effective and meet the needs of the community. We engage proactively with our stakeholders with a clear understanding of their issues and challenges and we value diverse perspectives and ideas. Given the global nature of our portfolio's remit, we also engage extensively across other jurisdictions
We recognise that the achievement of our purposes is not solely our responsibility. Industry, consumer bodies and other government entities, including our portfolio entities, all have important contributions to make.
For each purpose, we have developed a small number of performance measures, which we will use to assess our performance in achieving our purposes over the next 4 years and to prepare our annual performance statements.
Results against effectiveness measures will show whether the needs we are addressing through our purposes are being met and whether we, and our partners, are making a difference to the right people.
Program resourcing (input), output and efficiency measures complement effectiveness measures. Results against these types of measures support us in monitoring our output and in improving delivery and resource allocation over time.
Enabling all Australians to connect to effective communications services and technologies, for inclusiveness and sustainable economic growth.
Demand for communications is increasing, in an environment of rapid technological change
Connecting to communications services is increasingly necessary for people to participate in our economy, society, education and democracy. Supporting the market to deliver access to effective communications—post, telephone, internet, mobile—has been a constant of Commonwealth policy. In particular, we have a long-standing Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation in place for telephone services, and Australia Post has long delivered against community service obligations. However, expectations are changing as technology rapidly evolves and as delivery faces new challenges.
Reflecting the economy's digital transformation, demand for communications goods and services is growing faster than that for other goods and services in the economy. In terms of household appetite for data, it's forecast to jump from 95 gigabytes a month in 2016 to around 420 gigabytes a month by 2026.
In this environment, it's critical that our role includes ensuring inclusive access for consumers to quality, affordable communications services, supported by modern infrastructure, technology and digital platforms. Our regulatory settings must maintain a safe digital environment for Australians and must also continue to provide the right incentives to support growth and investment in communications infrastructure, to remove barriers to innovation and to be sufficiently flexible to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions. We monitor complaints for insight into the effectiveness of Australia's communications services.
Improvements to telecommunications are disrupting traditional business models
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is significantly changing the telecommunications market by progressively making fast broadband access available to all Australian premises. After the NBN rollout is completed in 2020, Australia will be the only continent where every household and business has access to affordable high speed broadband services. Minimum peak wholesale speeds will be at least 25 megabits per second (mbps). This change will give industry and businesses the opportunity to harness significant productivity benefits, as well as to innovate and develop new products and services. It will also continue the trend of Australians having flexibility to digitally manage aspects of life and work in different ways.
Australians are already amongst the world's most prolific users of mobile services and we have a highly competitive, high quality industry. Our policy and regulatory settings support mobile services availability to more than 99% of our population, including with our Mobile Black Spot Program focusing on extending mobile coverage to areas that are not otherwise commercially viable. Increased connectivity and capacity provided through fixed and mobile networks is contributing to the disruption of traditional business models, in particular traditional broadcasting activities (including television and radio), and models of work, changing social communication and how Australians experience culture.
The digital economy is also having a profound impact on the postal sector, leading to a significant decline in letters, while the parcels and logistics sectors are transforming and growing rapidly to support e-commerce.
Spectrum is more and more important
Spectrum is a valuable input in enabling the digital economy, and efficient allocation is essential to move spectrum to its highest value use. Spectrum is required to enable 5G mobile services which will support machine-to-machine, internet of things and smart city applications.
Addressing safety and consumer protection supports social inclusion
Security, safety and consumer protections have also become higher priorities for the communications sector. Addressing these priorities protects consumers from harm (including harmful content), and is important to social inclusion, but to do so is not without challenges. Responding to threats requires us to stay one step ahead of rival interests and to coordinate across government activities.
Performance measures, targets and assessments
We are supporting the market to deliver Australians access to quality communications services, including in regional, rural and remote areas.
Effectiveness measures: enabling all Australians to connect to effective communications service (access)
Inclusiveness means all Australians can benefit from connectivity, including people with a disability and people in low-income households. Also important are effective community safeguards to inform and protect digital consumers.
Effectiveness measures: inclusiveness
Our policy settings support economic growth by enabling the communications sector to invest and innovate, compete internationally and meet consumer needs.
Supporting inclusiveness and growth in Australia's creative sector, and protecting and promoting Australian content and culture
Our creative and cultural sectors enrich the lives of Australians and keep our economy strong
Australia's creative and cultural sectors are already prominent in the economy and their contribution is expected to grow further in coming years. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that in 2016–17 cultural and creative activity added approximately $111.7 billion to Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to over 6%. The data also shows that from 2008–09 to 2016–17 there has been substantial employment growth in the sectors—nearly twice the rate of the total Australian workforce.
Our national cultural institutions play an important role in preserving and providing access to Australia's cultural heritage and are vital to Australia's innovation agenda.
The broadcasting sector is also integral to a thriving creative economy. Broadcasters are an important source of quality news journalism, content diversity and Australian content in a converged, digital environment of almost limitless choice and multiple delivery systems, and a key mechanism for achieving cultural policy objectives. They will be an important means by which Australian audiences can find, see and hear quality Australian content, and are the connection between the creators of Australian content and a mass audience.
Our focus is on contributing to the broader Australian Government agenda of encouraging productivity, growth, inclusiveness and innovation, through supporting the links between innovation, arts and creativity. This creates a modern regime to enable creators to have the confidence to produce world-quality Australian products. One important way we are promoting creativity, cultural works and economic activity is through a balanced copyright framework.
Australians are highly engaged with the arts
Creativity and cultural experiences contributes to a cohesive Australian society and are essential to our national identity and prosperity. Approximately 98% of Australians engage with the arts, and we promote inclusive access, appropriate protections and the sustainability, diversity and recognition of the sector. This includes: regulating classification for screen content; delivering grant programs which support creative industries, Indigenous arts and culture and Australian literature; strengthening the Major Performing Arts Framework; and contributing to the National Arts and Disability Strategy. We also recognise the importance of philanthropic funding to the creative and cultural sectors, including corporate sponsorship.
The marketplace for creativity and culture is increasingly global
Australian arts and culture will continue to compete for audiences in an increasingly global marketplace over the next 4 years. New access pathways are opening up through technological innovation and Australia's cultural institutions continue to adapt in order to take advantage of new technology, while preserving their important collections for future generations. We undertake a range of work to promote Australia's arts and culture internationally, including Indigenous arts and culture, performing arts, visual arts and literature.
We support our sectoral institutions and portfolio entities, including the national broadcasters and the national cultural institutions to: engage with new audiences in new ways; increase creative participation; build creative skills and attract and support new talent; to be sustainable and internationally renowned; and meet the needs of Australian consumers.
Our support to the national elite performing arts training organisations helps to educate and train the next generation of professional performing artists and associated arts workers. Graduates are instrumental in sustaining the financial and cultural success of the national and international entertainment industries.
Australian media and culture is diverse and vibrant
The changing digital environment is defined by the wide range of media voices and perspectives available to consumers. We are adaptive to this changing environment and we are committed to ensuring Australia's culture, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, are heard, preserved and protected for generations to come.
Inclusiveness means all Australians have the opportunity to participate in diverse creative and cultural experiences, including people in regional, rural and remote areas, and people with a disability
Effectiveness measures: inclusiveness
We want growth for sustainable and innovative creative and cultural sectors
Effectiveness measures: growth
We contribute to preserving, protecting and celebrating Australia's arts and culture, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, for generations to come
Effectiveness measures: protecting and promoting Australian culture
Our content and media frameworks provide appropriate classifications for screen content and supports creators, industry and consumers so everyone can access the communications, creative and cultural benefits of Australian content and media
Effectiveness measures: protecting and promoting Australian content
Program resourcing (input), output and efficiency measures
Capability: Our key strategies and plans for achieving our purposes
Over the 4 years covered by this Corporate Plan, we will focus on building employee understanding of our new overarching strategic vision and develop a workforce plan to build on our capabilities under our vision:
to be the pre-eminent national entity for communications
policy, planning, investment and research
to be an effective and accountable leader on
telecommunications, broadcasting and digital regulation
to foster and promote Australian content and creativity
domestically and abroad on a variety of platforms
to have a view on the right outcome
to be outstanding program managers
to foster an inclusive, high-performing workplace
In 2018–19, we will develop a department-wide strategic workforce plan which will inform high level recruitment, capability development and talent management strategies, and ensure we have the optimal workforce in place to respond to rapidly changing operating conditions.
Our workforce plan will be developed in 4 phases to help us identify our:
future operating environment and organisational priorities
current workforce profile and forecast supply of labour
gaps between current and future workforce and risks
mitigation strategies and accountabilities
We will also develop operational workforce plans that include actionable strategies for each division to address workforce gaps. Our plans aim to ensure we are able to deliver against environmental pressures and have a workforce with the right mix of people, knowledge, skills and behaviours.
A Skills and Experience Register will be implemented in 2018–19 to capture and report capabilities and development for each employee, in a central, easily accessible system (Learnhub). Information from the register will help to inform our assessment of our internal workforce supply and will give greater visibility of employee skills, knowledge, experience and interest in mobility.
While we develop our plan around our vision, we will continue to focus on:
We demonstrate leadership and corporate citizenship across government, the portfolio and within the department. At all levels, we seek evidence-based and proactive thought leadership, underpinned by genuine curiosity, and an appetite to engage intelligently with risk. We also seek clear communication skills and shared vision, and a pragmatic approach to implementing decisions that are free from bias.
Change is communicated and managed effectively, informed by business planning processes and priorities.
Our leaders provide feedback and engage in ongoing quality conversations with employees so that performance expectations are clear and development opportunities are acted upon. Leaders actively support and promote capability development with a focus on building core skills, strengthening governance and operational management practices. Capability development is aligned with current and future workforce needs.
policy and program skills
We continue to:
build skills and best practice public administration capabilities in policy development, the development of quality measures for programs, and risk management
build a strong and integrated evidence-based research capability
focus on economic analysis of communication technologies and their impact on markets and the role of arts in supporting cultural and broader outcomes
enhance our understanding of markets, competition and commercial performance ensuring we provide authoritative policy advice
strengthen our ability to identify, analyse and report on the arts, digital technologies, communications services and market trends to inform policy priorities.
We are building on our capabilities which support our engagement and contribution across the department, the APS, all levels of government, industry and the community.
We value our alliances and professional relationships within the communications and arts sectors, the broader Commonwealth and our international as well as state and territory counterparts. Working closely with stakeholders ensures our policy advice is strategic, innovative, connected and achievable, and our programs deliver quality outcomes for all Australians.
Information and communications technology (ICT)
Our 4 year strategic ICT plan will align with this Corporate Plan, our internal business plans, and whole of government directions while leveraging advances within the wider technology environment. The ICT strategic plan is built on 5 core strategic directions.
Focus on business value
IT will focus on creating, building and maintaining business value for the department by the prioritisation, definition and selection of technology services.
Leverage data and information Making information, regardless of source, easy to discover and accessible.
Prepare for disruption
Selecting and designing IT with the understanding that the business functions they support could be re-engineered, removed or relocated at any time.
Delivering better, more innovative and intuitive technology faster and cheaper than ever before.
Align to Whole of Government strategies
Aligning to WoG strategies that exist across a range of IT functions and services.
We have established systems of risk oversight, management and internal controls in accordance with section 16 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy. This includes regular monitoring and reporting on the risk environment to both the Audit Committee and during the business planning and review process. The Executive, through our whole of department business planning process, are active in identifying emerging risks and provide support to the Secretary in the strategic management of the department's risks. Our strategic risks are matters which are fundamental to the function of the communications and arts sectors, material in delivering government agendas, and important in supporting the wellbeing of the Australian community.
We actively identify emerging risks and have identified 5 enterprise risks which we face over the next 4 years. These are closely linked to our ability to achieve our purpose.
Failing to fulfil the government's strategic priority to enhance telecommunications infrastructure and consumers' access to reliable communications services.
We provide the government with advice about short, medium and long-term options to reduce telecommunications market and technology risks. In addition, we engage closely with, and leverage processes and expertise of, other bodies such as portfolio entities, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Regulatory and market interventions are designed to be technology neutral so that they do not differentiate between the underlying network or device used to deliver or receive the communications service. We are considering options to ensure that, as the Australian telecommunications sector evolves, Australian premises continue to have access to adequate voice services as well as high quality broadband services. We monitor relevant market developments, and provide early advice to government on major risks, opportunities and relevant policy options in response.
Our interaction with stakeholders and consumers is inadequate to enable us to provide authoritative advice to the government on portfolio issues.
We have a stakeholder engagement framework which, as part of normal business processes, actively seeks stakeholder views and reports on these views as required. In addition, we actively seek stakeholder views about the level of engagement through existing relationships and forums and other mechanisms.
Our focus and resources are not aligned appropriately to deliver on policy, program, regulation or corporate outcomes.
Our strategic and business planning processes provide oversight of the delivery of departmental and portfolio activities and align with our budgeting process. Our risk management processes align with our activities. Capital projects are considered by our IT Governance and Finance and HR committees and are approved by the Secretary. IT and finance projects follow set governance guidelines and are actively monitored and reported on a monthly basis. We utilise agile work practices and deploy taskforces and short-term project teams to bring necessary expertise and resourcing to urgent and strategic work priorities. In addition, we:
undertake reviews of our program delivery
utilise an internal audit capacity
research economic drivers and international approaches which inform improved policy and program delivery.
Our policy advice is sub-optimal as it is not forward looking and strategic.
Our business plans reflect the government's agenda and emphasise expectations around strategic advice. Emerging strategic issues are collectively progressed in Executive forums including the business planning and review process. We review plans regularly to ensure ongoing strategic relevance.
We do not have the capability or capacity to achieve our purpose.
We work with peak bodies and other stakeholders to encourage consumer and sector participation in the delivery of our purpose. We also work with other portfolio, and state and territory governments to leverage government investment and capability to achieve our outcomes. We have implemented performance and capability strategies including talent management and a secondment program. We have completed enabling programs in policy essentials and public policy. We utilise agile work practices and deploy taskforces and short-term project teams to bring necessary expertise and resourcing to urgent and strategic work priorities.
Our Chief Risk Officer role is now at First Assistant Secretary level, giving increased oversight in implementing measures to:
develop and maintain the capacity and capability of risk management
effectively and efficiently manage risk
encourage and build a positive risk culture
oversee the department's enterprise risk management system
Risk management has been integrated into our new business planning processes so that:
our purpose and strategic priorities set the context for risk management
high priority risks influence business planning, and their treatments are integrated into business plans
risk treatments which require resources are considered and provided for in branch, operational and/or project plans and budgets
all major change activities include structured risk management
business processes and capabilities which function as risk controls and treatments are maintained as required by a relevant risk assessment
The enhanced risk framework facilitates a culture that promotes an open and proactive approach to managing risk. It encourages risk assessment, informed risk-taking and the anticipation and treatment of risk in delivering our priorities.
We are committed to achieving our strategic priorities and encourage prudent risk-taking based on sound judgement and the best available information to facilitate innovation leading to the provision of better processes and services.
Our risk appetite is defined through the business planning and review process, and conveys:
an explanation of the concept of risk appetite and the importance of effective engagement with risk
an expression of our relative tolerance for different natures or categories of risk
examples of areas of high and low tolerance to enable employees to better interpret the guidance
areas where risk is to be minimised wherever possible.
Compliance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014
Matters to be included
a statement that the plan is prepared for section 35(1)(b) of the Act
the reporting period for which the plan is prepared
For each reporting period covered by the plan, a summary of:
how the entity will achieve the entity's purposes
how any subsidiary of the entity will contribute to achieving the entity's purposes*
how the entity's performance will be measured and assessed in achieving the entity's purposes, including any measures, targets and assessments that will be used to measure and assess the entity's performance for the purposes of preparing the entity's annual performance statements.
A summary of the risk oversight and management systems of the entity for each reporting period covered by the plan (including any measures that will be implemented to ensure compliance with the finance law).