Chapter 4 Our organisation


The AIHW was established as a Commonwealth statutory authority in 1987 as the Australian Institute of Health. The composition, functions, powers and obligations of the Institute in reporting on the nation's health were set out in its enabling legislation, the Australian Institute of Health Act 1987.

In 1992, our role was expanded to include welfare-related information and statistics, and the organisation was renamed the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The amended Act became the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 (AIHW Act).

  • Information on the AIHW Act is in Appendix 1—our functions are specified in section 5 (see also 'Who we are and what we do').
  • The AIHW Act establishes the AIHW Board as our governing body.
  • We operate under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

Our main functions are to collect, analyse and disseminate health- and welfare-related information and statistics. Although the AIHW Act requires the AIHW to place information in the public domain, it also contains a strict confidentiality provision. Section 29 of the Act prohibits the release of documents and/or information 'concerning a person' held by the AIHW, unless one of the specific exceptions in the Act applies. The Act also expressly provides that the AIHW's data providers may attach such conditions to the use of their data as they deem appropriate, and release of data is subject to compliance with any written terms and conditions imposed by those data providers.

The AIHW Act therefore facilitates the release of information designed to ultimately benefit the public, protects the identity of individuals and organisations, and ensures that data providers can be confident that we will comply with data supply terms and conditions.

As a Commonwealth entity, we are also subject to the Privacy Act 1988, which establishes obligations on private and Australian Government public sector organisations for collecting, using or disclosing personal information. Hence, the data in our care are protected by two sets of obligations: those contained in the Privacy Act and those in the AIHW Act.

Importantly, both Acts recognise the importance of data being made available for the purposes of research that benefits the community. Subject to strict requirements and considerations, the AIHW Ethics Committee may authorise the release of personal information for medical research that would otherwise be a breach of an Australian Privacy Principle in the Privacy Act, and/or the release of health- or welfare-related information under section 29 of the AIHW Act.


We have a range of reporting mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in our operations. Key documents are:

  • AIHW strategic directions—provide the foundation for establishing, recording, refining and assigning priorities to our activities.
  • AIHW corporate plans—are a requirement of section 35 of the PGPA Act.
  • Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)—annual statements informing members of the Australian Parliament of the proposed allocation of resources to government outcomes and programs. Annual direct funding from the Australian Parliament is appropriated to us on the basis of outcomes. Our outcome and program structure under the PBS consists of 1 outcome and 1 program (see 'Understanding our performance').
  • Annual work plans—internal management documents that provide the AIHW Board, AIHW Director and AIHW staff with an overview of proposed activities for the next year, against which progress is monitored.
  • Annual reports—provided to the Minister for Health for presentation to the Australian Parliament, required by section 46 of the PGPA Act and which, for the first time in this 2015-16 annual report, includes an annual performance statement required by section 39 of the PGPA Act.

Ministerial accountability

The AIHW Board is accountable to the Parliament of Australia through the Minister for Health. It informs the minister of its activities as required. This includes occasions when we receive or expend significant funds; for example, when we undertake contract work valued over a certain amount (currently $1.5 million) for other agencies and organisations. This amount is specified in Regulations made under the AIHW Act (see Appendix 1).

We ensure that the Minister for Health—and other relevant ministers in the Australian Government and state and territory governments—have early embargoed access to our products.

AIHW Board

The Institute is managed by the AIHW Board. The board is an 'accountable authority' under the PGPA Act.

The board's composition is specified by section 8(1) of the AIHW Act. Board members are appointed by the Governor-General and hold office for a specified term not exceeding 3 years. In addition, there are 3 ex-officio board members: the AIHW's Director, the Australian Statistician or nominee, and the Secretary of the Department of Health or nominee. The AIHW Director is appointed by the Minister for Health on the recommendation of the Institute and may hold office for a term not exceeding 5 years.

Board members

Information follows about individual board members at 30 June 2016, including qualifications, current positions and affiliations. Appendix 3 details the meetings attended by board members during 2015-16 and lists board members outgoing during 2015-16.

Photo of Mukesh C Haikerwal AO.

Mukesh C Haikerwal AO MB, ChB, Dip IMCRCS (Ed), DRCOG, FAMA, FRACGP (Hon)

Non-executive Director
Terms: 19 July 2014-18 July 2015; 19 July 2015-18 July 2016; 19 July 2016-18 October 2016

Dr Haikerwal is a medical general practitioner in Melbourne. He is Chair of the Council of the World Medical Association, having held that position since May 2011. Dr Haikerwal is also a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Flinders University, South Australia. He is Chair of the beyondblue Doctors' Mental Health Program and Co-Chair of the Australian Asian Medical Federation, and sits on the Advisory Board of Brain Injury Australia. Dr Haikerwal was the 19th federal president of the Australian Medical Association and, before that, the association's Victorian state president.

Dr Haikerwal was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for distinguished service to medical administration, to the promotion of public health through leadership roles with professional organisations, particularly the Australian Medical Association, to the reform of the Australian health system through the optimisation of information technology, and as a general practitioner.

Photo of Barry Sandison.

Barry Sandison BBusMgt, FANZSG
Director, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Executive Director
Term: 5 May 2016-4 May 2021

Mr Sandison has extensive public sector experience, with previous roles in both policy and service delivery. Most recently, he was the Deputy Secretary, Health and Information, within the Australian Government Department of Human Services where he was responsible for the administration and delivery of a range of programs in the health, government and business areas. Prior to this role, Mr Sandison was a deputy chief executive at Centrelink and held senior executive roles in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Mr Sandison is a board member for L'Arche Genesaret, an Australian Capital Territory community organisation for people with intellectual disabilities.

Photo of Zoran Bolevich.

Zoran Bolevich DM, MBA, FRACMA
Nominee of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council

Non-executive Director
Term: 11 February 2016-10 February 2019

Dr Bolevich is the Chief Executive and Chief Information Officer of eHealth NSW, a dedicated health information technology agency, responsible for planning, implementation and support of the largest digital health program in Australia—the digital transformation of NSW Health.

During his 25-year career in health, he has worked in a range of senior health management and information and communications technology (ICT) leadership roles in Australia and New Zealand. Before joining eHealth NSW, Dr Bolevich worked at the NSW Ministry of Health as executive director for Health System Information and Performance Reporting and, most recently, as acting deputy secretary for System Purchasing and Performance. Earlier, he spent several years leading a regional shared services agency for district health boards and, after that, took up a role with New Zealand's Ministry of Health where he was responsible for the national health information strategy and architecture.

Photo of Marilyn Chilvers.

Marilyn Chilvers BEc (Hons), Grad Dip Tert Ed, MAppSc, MAICD
Nominee of the Children and Families Secretaries Group (of state and territory departments)

Non-executive Director
Term: 18 January 2016-17 January 2017

Ms Chilvers is the Executive Director of Analysis and Research at the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), a government agency that directly supports around 800,000 people each year, and reaches an additional 1 million people through local community-based programs. She is responsible for leading the development and dissemination of the agency's evidence base to inform policy, service design and local planning, with the objective of improving the lives of the most vulnerable members of the community. She leads a team of researchers and analysts to examine a diverse range of social policy issues. Ms Chilvers is also co-investigator on a number of linkage research projects, and Chief Investigator for the FACS Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study, which examines the outcomes of children and young people entering out-of-home care in NSW for the first time.

Ms Chilvers' previous roles include several senior statistical and economic roles in NSW FACS, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, and at Macquarie University.

Photo of Philip Fagan-Schmidt PSM.

Philip Fagan-Schmidt PSM MPublicPolicy
Representative of the State Housing Departments (nominated through the Housing and Homelessness Chief Executives Network of state and territory departments)

Non-executive Director
Term: 18 January 2016-17 January 2017

Mr Fagan-Schmidt was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Housing SA in 2009. He was awarded a Public Service Medal for his work in social housing policy and practice in 2015. Mr Fagan-Schmidt has worked in both academic and government spheres and in a range of areas, including health, housing, natural resource management, infrastructure and major projects.

Photo of David Kalisch.

David Kalisch BEc, AICD
Australian Statistician

Non-executive Director
Term: Ex-officio appointment

Mr Kalisch was appointed the 15th Australian Statistician on 11 December 2014. As head of the ABS he is accountable for its functions and operations. He has also been appointed as the non-judicial member of the Australian Electoral Commission.

Mr Kalisch is an economist with public sector experience in research and analysis, policy development and service delivery. He has an interest in labour markets, macroeconomics, retirement incomes, welfare-to-work strategies and health policy. He has pursued organisational performance and renewal through recent leadership responsibilities.

Mr Kalisch was previously the AIHW Director for four years, a commissioner at the Productivity Commission and a deputy secretary in the Australian Government Department of Health. He has had senior executive roles in a range of departments since 1991, has had two appointments at the OECD in Paris, and was a member of the Australian delegation to the organisation. He is a Public Policy Fellow at the Australian National University.

Photo of Paul Madden.

Paul Madden
Representing Mr Martin Bowles, Secretary, Department of Health

Non-executive Director
Term: Ex-officio appointment

Mr Madden holds the position of Deputy Secretary/Special Adviser, Strategic Health Systems and Information Management. His role includes supporting the government in leading the national rollout of digital health initiatives, including foundation technologies and related services across Australia, the continued and improved operation of the My Health Record and the trials of opt-out. He is also responsible for setting and operation of governance policies and processes for data and information management.

He is a member of the Departmental Executive Committee, Chair of the My Health Record Operations Management Committee, and a member of the Australian Digital Health Agency Board.

Before joining the Department of Health, Mr Madden was program director of the Standard Business Reporting Program led from the Australian Treasury from 2007 to 2010.

Photo of Erin Lalor.

Erin Lalor BSc (Hons) (Speech and Hearing), PhD, GCCM
Ministerial nominee with knowledge of the needs of consumers of health services

Non-executive Director
Terms: 21 November 2012-20 February 2013; 1 March 2013-29 February 2016; 23 March 2016-22 March 2017

Dr Lalor was the CEO of the National Stroke Foundation from 2002 to 2015. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Stroke Organization and Chair of the World Stroke Campaign Committee. Dr Lalor was a Victorian finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Awards 2013 and was recognised as one of the Financial Review/Westpac Top 100 Women of Influence in 2013.

Photo of David Conry.

David Conry BBus (Marketing)
Ministerial nominee with knowledge of the needs of consumers of welfare services

Non-executive Director (acting appointment)
Terms: 19 December 2014-30 June 2015; 1 July 2015-18 December 2015; 18 January 2016-17 January 2017

Since 2011, Mr Conry has been Managing Director, Damarcon, which provides services in business development and strategy. He also serves as Chair of the Queensland Museum, Chair of Brisbane Powerhouse and is a director of several private entities. Career history includes roles with News Ltd, National Group Sales Director for Pacific Magazines and Printing, National Head (Channel Marketing) for Flight Centre Ltd, and founder and chairman of disability group Youngcare—work that resulted in his being named Queensland's Australian of the Year in 2007. Mr Conry also has experience and expertise in governance frameworks for not-for-profit organisations.

Photo of Michael Perusco.

Michael Perusco BBus (Acc)
Ministerial nominee with knowledge of the needs of consumers of housing assistance services

Non-executive Director
Terms: 21 November 2012-20 February 2013; 1 March 2013-29 February 2016; 23 March 2016-22 March 2017

Mr Perusco is the CEO of Yarra Community Housing (YCH) in Melbourne, which is Victoria's largest provider of community housing and has a particular focus on housing people with a history of homelessness and disadvantage. Prior to joining YCH, Mr Perusco was CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, one of NSW's largest and most diverse community organisations. His experience also includes 9 years as CEO of Sacred Heart Mission, a Victorian organisation that works with people experiencing homelessness. Mr Perusco has also chaired the Council to Homeless Persons and Australians for Affordable Housing and been a member of the NSW Premiers Council on Homelessness and the board of the NSW Council of Social Services. He is currently on the board of the the Community Housing Federation of Victoria. Mr Perusco also has experience in the commercial sector with KPMG and Arthur Andersen.

Photo of Lyn Roberts AO.

Lyn Roberts AO Dip App Sc, BA (Hons), PhD
Ministerial nominee with expertise in research into public health issues

Non-executive Director
Terms: 12 November 2009-11 November 2012; 21 November 2012-20 February 2013; 1 March 2013-29 February 2016; 3 April 2016-2 April 2017

Dr Roberts resigned as CEO (national) of the National Heart Foundation of Australia in late 2013 having held that position since 2001. She was vice-president of the World Heart Federation from 2009 to 2010 and participated in the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance. Dr Roberts has also held the following positions: member, Australian National Preventive Health Agency Advisory Council; vice-president-elect, World Heart Federation; chair, Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance; treasurer, Asia-Pacific Heart Network; board member, Asia-Pacific Heart Network; board chair, Child and Youth Health, South Australia; board member, Child, Adolescent and Family Health Service, South Australia; and vice-president, Family Planning Association, South Australia.

Dr Roberts was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015 for distinguished service to community health through executive and governmental advisory roles in a range of public outreach and education initiatives aimed at improving cardiovascular wellbeing.

Photo of Andrew Goodsall.

Andrew Goodsall BA (Hons), Grad Dip Asian Studies, MBA
Ministerial nominee

Non-executive Director
Terms: 19 December 2014-30 June 2015; 1 July 2015-18 December 2015; 18 January 2016-17 January 2017

Mr Goodsall has been Managing Director (Healthcare Analyst) with financial services firm UBS Australia since 2006. He serves on the boards of the North Shore Local Health District (Sydney), the NSW Bureau of Health Information, and the Australian Institute of Policy and Science. Mr Goodsall's previous positions include chief of staff and senior adviser to a Victorian Health Minister, manager with the Victorian Government, and an Australian Army Reserve officer.

Vacant (2 positions)

Ministerial nominee

Non-executive Director


Staff-elected representative

Non-executive Director

Charter of Corporate Governance

The AIHW Board has adopted a Charter of Corporate Governance that outlines the governance framework of the Institute to assist board members meet their legislative and other obligations. The charter is available on our website at 'AIHW Board'.

Board performance review

Consistent with best practice, the AIHW Charter of Corporate Governance provides that the board reviews its performance every two years. Matters reviewed may include the board's success in pursuing the AIHW's objectives, protocol and clarity of roles, procedural matters, and the individual performance of board members.

A review of the board was last conducted in 2012-13, with findings considered and adopted by the board at its 2013 meeting.

A review of board performance scheduled for 2014-15 was deferred pending clarification of the AIHW's status and responsibilities expected to follow the Australian Government's announcement in the 2014 Federal Budget of the potential merging of a number of agencies in the Health portfolio. In August 2015, the Australian Government decided that the AIHW's responsibilities will change from 1 July 2016 to encompass some of the responsibilities of the National Health Performance Authority. Concurrently, the Australian Government requested the Department of Health to commission an independent review of the AIHW's role and the scheduled review of board performance was further deferred. The report of the independent review, by the Nous Group, remains under consideration by the minister.

Education of board members

Board members are provided with information about the AIHW Board and the AIHW's governance frameworks at the start of their first term. They are also given the opportunity to meet the AIHW Director to discuss the board's role and key current issues for the Institute.

In 2015-16, the board received presentations on the Australia's welfare2015 report, using data to improve health-care service delivery, the Australian Burden of Disease Study and Clinical Commissioning Groups in the United Kingdom's National Health System.

Remuneration and allowances for board members

Remuneration and allowances for board members are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. As at 30 June 2016, the relevant determination is Determination 2016/03: Remuneration and allowances for holders of public office and judicial and related offices which can be found by searching the tribunal's website at 'Remuneration Tribunal'.

Board members who were employed by a Commonwealth, State or Territory Government department or entity did not receive remuneration for their work as a member of the AIHW Board.

The total remuneration received or due and receivable by 7 board members during 2015-16 was $67,234.

Board committees

The AIHW Board has two committees: the Audit and Finance Committee and the Remuneration Committee (Figure 4.1). Details of their responsibilities and operation are provided in part 8 of the Charter of Corporate Governance, which is available at 'AIHW Board'. Details of attendance by members at meetings held during 2015-16, including for members outgoing during 2015-16, are in Appendix 3.

Figure 4.1: Governance and management committees, 30 June 2016

Figure 4.1 details the AIHW’s governance and management committees at 30 June 2016.


  1. The AIHW Director is a member common to the AIHW Board, the AIHW Ethics Committee and the AIHW Executive Committee.

  2. MBS and PBS data refers to Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data.

Audit and Finance Committee

The Audit and Finance Committee authorises and oversees the AIHW's audit program and reports to the board on strategic, financial and data audit matters (see 'Financial management' and 'Risk oversight and management' sections below).

At 30 June 2016, the committee comprised:

  • three non-executive board members—Mr Michael Perusco (Chair), Dr Erin Lalor and Dr Lyn Roberts whose details are available under 'Board members' earlier in this chapter
  • one independent member—Mr Max Shanahan.

Photo of Maxwell Shanahan.

Maxwell Shanahan BA, FCPA, CGEIT, CISA, MACS (Senior), MIIAA

Independent member
Term: from 8 December 2011

Mr Shanahan is the Director of Max Shanahan & Associates. He is currently an independent member of the ABS Audit Committee and the Chair of the Snowy Mountains Regional Council Audit Committee and a member of the Queanbeyan Palerang Council Audit committee. His prior experience includes 5 years with Walter Turnbull Chartered Accountants, 15 years with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) where he was a member of the Senior Executive with responsibility for IT auditing. Mr Shanahan was the project editor for two governance-related standards: AS/NZ 8016: 2013 Governance of IT enabled projects and ISO/IEC TR 38502: 2014 Governance of IT, Framework and Model.

Senior representatives from our internal auditors (Protiviti) and external auditors (the Australian National Audit Office) attend meetings of the committee.

Major matters reported to the board by the committee in 2015-16 included: the audit of the 2014-15 financial statements (in September 2015); our draft 2016-17 budget (in June 2016); our 2015-16 and 2016-17 internal audit programs; and reviews of our business risks. The committee also reviewed recommendations from internal audits completed in 2014-15 and 2015-16 on:

  • Implementation of the project management framework—to determine the design and operating effectiveness of our framework and the extent to which our project management system is effectively supporting the framework.
  • Term deposits—to provide assurance of the design and operating effectiveness of AIHW's term deposits controls and that surplus cash is invested in line with the AIHW Investment Policy.
  • Information technology security—to assess the AIHW's implementation of the top four mitigation strategies, consistent with the requirements of the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework and examine the AIHW's management of privileged user access in key systems and applications.

Appropriate action in response to the recommendations of these internal audits is under way. Work by Protiviti commenced in 2015-16 on reviews of:

  • Private Rental Assistance data collection
  • National Hospital Morbidity Database
  • data release management.

Remuneration Committee

The employing body for the AIHW Director is the AIHW Board. The position is within the Principal Executive Office structure administered by the Remuneration Tribunal, for which information can be found at 'Remuneration Tribubal - Principal Executive Offices'. The board Remuneration Committee advises the board on the AIHW Director's performance and remuneration, within the constraints of the Remuneration Tribunal's Determination 2015/19: Principal Executive Office—classification structure and terms and conditions.

At 30 June 2016, the committee comprised:

  • Chair of the AIHW Board—Dr Mukesh C Haikerwal AO (Chair)
  • Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee—Mr Michael Perusco
  • 1 other board member—Dr Erin Lalor.

AIHW Ethics Committee

The AIHW Ethics Committee is established under section 16(1) of the AIHW Act. Its main responsibility is to advise on the ethical acceptability or otherwise of current or proposed health- and welfare-related activities of the AIHW, or of bodies with which the AIHW is associated. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Ethics Committee Regulations 2006 prescribe the committee's functions and composition (see Appendix 1).

The committee is recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council as a properly constituted human research ethics committee, and an annual report of its activities in each calendar year is presented to the council.

Consistent with the AIHW Act and the Privacy Act 1988, we may release personal health and welfare data for research purposes with the written approval of the committee, provided that release does not contravene the terms and conditions under which the data were supplied to us. The committee also approves the establishment of new health and welfare data collections.

Committee members

Information follows about individual AIHW Ethics Committee members at 30 June 2016. Appendix 3 details the meetings attended by committee members during 2015-16 and lists committee members outgoing during the year.

Photo of Wayne Jackson PSM.

Wayne Jackson PSM BEc (Hons)

Terms: 1 July 2014-30 June 2016; 1 July 2016-30 June 2019

Mr Jackson is a retired public servant, having served as deputy secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and in the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). He chaired a wide range of interdepartmental and corporate committees, including the FaHCSIA Risk Assessment and Audit Committee and the Research Committee, and was a member of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council. After leaving the public service, Mr Jackson undertook a number of projects as a consultant to FaHCSIA and the Department of Finance relating to disability income support, employment, and care and support (including the National Disability Insurance Scheme).

Mr Jackson is currently a director of Aboriginal Hostels Ltd and a board member of L'Arche Geneserat, a community organisation providing supported accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities living in Canberra.

Mr Jackson was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2006 for outstanding public service in the development and implementation of social policy.

Photo of Barry Sandison.

Barry Sandison BBusMgt, FANZSG

Director, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Terms: 5 May 2016-5 May 2021

Information about Mr Sandison is provided in his entry under 'Board members'.

Photo of Purnima Bhat.

Purnima Bhat MBBS, FRACP, PhD

Person experienced in the professional care, counselling or treatment of people
Term: 25 September 2014-24 September 2017

Dr Bhat is a practising gastroenterologist and research scientist, having completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne on 'Hepatitis B virus in polarised epithelia'. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University Medical School, where she lectures in gastrointestinal immunology and tumour immunology, and is also involved in student admissions.

Dr Bhat's recent research papers include: 'The kinematics of cytotoxic lymphocytes affect their ability to kill target cells' and 'mRNA structural constraints on EBNA1 synthesis impact on in vivo antigen presentation and early priming of CD8+ T cells'. Her current research interests include the development of immunotherapies for bowel cancer, and investigating the role of gut microbiota in disease and health.

Photo of Malcolm Sim.

Malcolm Sim BMedSc, MBBS, MSc, GDipOccHyg, PhD, FAFOEM (RACP), FAFPHM (RACP), FFOM (RCP)

Person experienced in areas of research regularly considered by the committee
Terms: 29 June 2007-28 June 2010; 29 June 2010-30 June 2013; 1 July 2013-30 June 2016

Professor Sim is an occupational and public health physician who is Director of the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He is chief investigator on several projects or programs funded by National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Research Council grants, including a centre for research excellence in the population health effects of electromagnetic energy, a study of mental health in firefighters and a long-term study of workers' compensation claimants. He is also an investigator on several national and international studies investigating the role of workplace and environmental hazards in the development of chronic diseases, such as cancer, respiratory disease, and musculoskeletal and psychological disorders.

Professor Sim has published more than 180 research papers in refereed journals. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a specialty journal of the British Medical Journal, and is on the Editorial Board of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration. Professor Sim is an elected member of the Board of the International Commission on Occupational Health and led a successful bid to host the commission's congress in Melbourne in 2021. He has strong collaborative research links in the Asia-Pacific region and has led several projects in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to help build occupational health research and professional capacity in those countries. In recognition of his international activities, he received the Dean's Award for Excellence in External Engagement at Monash University in 2014. Professor Sim has had several roles with the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, for which he was awarded a College Medal for outstanding service.

Photo of Amanda Ianna.

Amanda Ianna Grad Cert Change Mgt, AGSM

Nominee of Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Term: Ex-officio appointment

Amanda has extensive experience in the field of civil registration, organisational change and leadership. She is passionate about her staff, customers and keeping the records safe for the people of New South Wales. She is the 17th NSW Registrar since 1856, and only the second female to hold the post. Amanda's focus is on driving change and improving business processes, internally for staff and externally for customers and business partners.

Photo of James Barr.

James Barr BA (Hons), BTheol (Hons), MAppSci

Person who is a minister of religion
Terms: 12 December 2008-11 December 2011; 12 December 2011-11 December 2014; 12 December 2014-11 December 2017

The Reverend Barr has a background in leadership development, and pastoral and community work. His work has ranged from organising communities in Third World slums to consulting for companies and government agencies in the fields of corporate ethics and leadership development. An ordained Baptist minister, he has served as minister of the Collins Street Baptist Church, Melbourne, where he was founding director of the Urban Mission Unit (now Urban Seed), director of the Zadok Institute for Christianity and Society, pastoral associate of Melbourne City Mission, and senior minister of the Canberra Baptist Church. The Reverend Barr is also a former member of the Human Research Ethics Committee of RMIT University and is currently co-Minister of the Melbourne Welsh Church.

Photo of Maryjane Crabtree.

Maryjane Crabtree BA/LLB, GAICD

Person who is a lawyer
Term: 14 April 2016-13 April 2019

Ms Crabtree joined Arthur Robinson and Hedderwicks in 1990, becoming a partner in 1994. Ms Crabtree continued working with the firm, now known as Allens, until her retirement in 2016. Ms Crabtree has had previous experience on a Human Research Ethics Committee and is currently the Deputy President of the Epworth HealthCare Board of Management. Her expertise has been built on her experience in the running of a large national professional services organisation as well as practising in many fields, including occupational health and safety, environment and product liability and sport law. Ms Crabtree is also involved in not-for-profit organisations in the areas of health, education and sport. Retirement has enabled Ms Crabtree to continue to pursue board roles in the not-for-profit sector. She is currently a member of Chief Executive Women, the Victorian Women Lawyers' Association, the Victorian Legal Admissions Committee, the Law Institute of Victoria Council and the Board of Racing and Analytical Services Ltd.

Photo of David Garratt.

David Garratt BEd, GradDipRE

Male representing general community attitudes
Terms: 26 March 2010-25 March 2013; 26 March 2013-25 March 2016; 26 March 2016-25 March 2019

Mr Garratt is a retired school principal. His last appointment was as principal, Daramalan College, Canberra, from which he retired in 2008. He has extensive experience in education in the Australian Capital Territory and has served on committees administering government programs. Mr Garratt was on the founding boards of two schools, St Francis Xavier and the Orana School for Rudolf Steiner Education, and was chair of the latter. He was a community representative on the Dickson Neighbourhood Planning Group, and is a board member of the Northside Community Service in Canberra and a member of the Company of the National Folk Festival.

Photo of Margaret Reynolds.

Margaret Reynolds BA, Dip Special Ed

Female representing general community attitudes
Term: 17 August 2011-16 August 2014; 17 August 2014-16 August 2017

Ms Reynolds has a background in education, public policy and human rights advocacy, and has served in various local government roles. She served as a senator for Queensland from 1983 to 1999, and, for periods during that time, as Minister for Local Government and Regional Development, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, and representative of the Minister for Immigration in the Senate. She has also served as the Australian Government representative on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (1991-1996), chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (1993-2004) and national president of the United Nations Association of Australia (1999-2005).

Ms Reynolds has been a visiting professor at the University of Queensland and University of Tasmania, and currently holds a similar position at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she works with the Australian Centre of Excellence in Local Government. In addition, she has spent the last ten years working in the disability sector advising state and federal governments on the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and is the Tasmanian Expert with the Flinders University Team evaluating trial sites (2013-2016) for the scheme.

Ms Reynolds has also written two books: The last bastion: Labor women working towards equality in the parliaments of Australia and Living politics.

Work of the committee

The AIHW Ethics Committee met 4 times in 2015-16 and the ethical acceptability of 186 projects and data collections, either new or seeking modification, were approved. A large proportion of the committee's work concerned assessments of the ethical acceptability of research applications from external researchers and the AIHW.

New project applications

In 2015-16, the committee considered 68 new project applications. Of these, 60 were approved and a decision was pending for 8 applications at 30 June 2016 (Table 4.1). The relatively high approval rate reflects in part efforts by the committee secretariat, in conjunction with the committee chair, in ensuring draft applications meet committee information requirements before formal submission.

Most (47) of the new applications were submitted by researchers from external organisations, such as departments and research centres affiliated with universities or large metropolitan teaching hospitals. For example, applications were received from the Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne), the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne as well as many of Australia's major universities. The committee also received applications from government agencies; for example, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, NSW Treasury and WA Health.

The AIHW submitted 21 new applications. These related to a variety of data, including veteran health, maternal health and perinatal data, diabetes and child development.

Most applications sought approval for linkage to the National Death Index which is held at the AIHW. Other AIHW-held databases to which access was sought included the Australian Cancer Database, the National Perinatal Data Collection and the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection. There is an increasing number of researchers requesting linkage to Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data. Researchers may request access to more than one database in each application; for example, some applications sought access to both the National Death Index and the Australian Cancer Database.

Table 4.1: Research project applications considered by the AIHW Ethics Committee, 2015-16

Research project Considered Approved Rejected Decision pending
Applications for approval  
AIHW, including collaborating centres 21 20 1
External researchers 47 40 7
Subtotal   68   60     8  
Applications for modification or extension  
AIHW, including collaborating centres 14 14
External researchers 131 131
Subtotal   145   145      
Total   213   205     8

Monitoring projects

The committee monitors approved projects to their completion, and considers requests for modifications to previously approved projects. A total of 268 annual monitoring reports were received from researchers during 2015-16.

Requests for modification or extension

In all, 145 requests for amendment were considered during the year (Table 4.1). More than half (83) included a request for an extension of time and/or proposed research staff changes.

Finalised projects

To ensure that research outcomes are freely available, the AIHW Ethics Committee requires public dissemination of the results of approved projects. In 2015-16, the AIHW received 19 final project reports accompanied by associated research results, most of which were published in peer-reviewed journals or other publicly available reports.

Trends in research applications

Access to AIHW data continues to be sought by external researchers (Figure 4.2). Applications from the AIHW itself that were approved by the AIHW Ethics Committee were higher in 2015-16 (22) than for any of the previous 5 years (6-14) and included 8 applications related to new data collections.

The number of requests for amendments to existing projects has increased in recent years. This is due in large part to:

  • more rigorous enforcement of the requirement for formal project amendment requests where project details have changed
  • increased identification of instances where an amendment is required to maintain compliance; for example, where the project approval date has expired.

Figure 4.2 compares the number of new and modified research project applications approved by the AIHW Ethics Committee over 7 years from 2009–10 to 2014–15 for both external researchers and for the AIHW itself. New project approvals were steady over the period with about twice as many approved for external researchers compared to those for the AIHW. Approvals for modified or extended external projects rose markedly over the period. Data are available in Table A8.24.


  1. AIHW projects include those for AIHW collaborating centres.

  2. Data for this figure are available in Table A8.24.

Organisational structure

Information about the responsibilities of our 8 groups follow. Figure 4.3 (Organisational chart) shows the unit structure for each group.

In April 2016, the Institute increased the number of groups from 7 to 8. This reflected the movement of some staff of the National Health Performance Authority to the AIHW ahead of the closure of the authority on 1 July 2016. Responsibilities of the authority were concentrated in a new Health Performance and Accountability Framework Group as were the capabilities of staff needed to continue work to calculate national health system indicators in the Performance Accountability Framework and to prepare and publish associated reports and websites. There were no other significant changes to the AIHW's group structure during the year.

Figure 4.3: Organisation chart, 30 June 2016

Figure 4.3 details the AIHW’s organisation chart at 30 June 2016.

See the .

Business and Governance Group

Leadership through corporate services

The Business and Governance Group provides services and strategic and policy advice to enable optimal use of the Institute's financial and human resources to achieve business objectives. More specifically, the group provides:

  • executive support and secretariat services for the AIHW Director, AIHW Board, AIHW Executive Committee and a number of national information committees
  • leadership and support in governance and legal matters, including data management and release arrangements, ethics, privacy, development and negotiation of external agreements, and the strategic management of internal and external relationships critical to our role
  • pricing and contract advice, business analysis and preparation of financial statements (see Appendix 9)
  • recruitment services, coordination of learning and development activities, workforce planning, performance management support, management of people and building safety, facilities management and accommodation planning (see Chapter 5 Our people for more detailed descriptions of activities and achievements in 2015-16 in relation to the group's human relation and facilities functions).

Community Services and Communication Group

High-quality data on community services

The group develops, maintains and analyses national data to support monitoring and reporting on:

  • the health and welfare of key subpopulations—including children and youth, older Australians and people with disability
  • use of services within a range of health and welfare sectors—including community-based services focused on aged care, child protection, juvenile justice and disability services.

Delivering corporate communications

The group also:

  • manages the AIHW's website, intranet and other related websites to deliver our online communication activities
  • promotes the Institute and its work through the media, and marketing and client relations activities
  • helps AIHW staff produce interesting and informative work
  • provides a range of print-ready publishing, production and distribution services for the organisation
  • manages the production of biennial editions of both the Australia's welfare and Australia's health publications.

Chapter 3 Our communications provides detailed descriptions of activities and achievements in 2015-16 in relation to the group's corporate communication functions.

Data Strategies and Information Technology Group

Enabling richer research

The group works with Commonwealth agencies and state and territory governments to promote access to health and welfare data for policy, research and community information. The group works to increase the information value of existing data collections through data integration (linkage) work—for the AIHW and external researchers—that supports innovative analyses. Examples of work supported in this way include longitudinal studies and movements of people between health and welfare services.

Supporting data security

The group also:

  • provides technological leadership, computing and communications infrastructure, and applications development and maintenance services to the organisation
  • identifies, develops and promotes business process innovations in support of our strategic directions
  • supports our information and communications technology requirements.

'Data security' describes activities and achievements in 2015-16 in relation to the group's corporate data security functions.

Health Group

Revealing the health of Australians

The group develops, maintains and enhances national data to support monitoring and reporting on the health of Australians, covering:

  • chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer (including cancer screening), musculoskeletal conditions and respiratory conditions
  • health-related issues, such as population (preventive) health, health inequalities, risk factors, social determinants of health, international health comparisons, mortality, burden of disease and chronic disease management, particularly in primary health care.

Health Performance and Accountability Framework Group

Reporting on health system performance

The group was created on 21 April 2016 in order to facilitate the transition, from 1 July 2016, of functions, staff and other resources from the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA).

The group provided services under contract to the NHPA and undertook planning for 2016-17.

Hospitals, Resourcing and Classifications Group

Detailing the health-care system

The group leads the development, compilation, analysis and dissemination of policy-relevant information about hospitals and health sector performance.

The group focuses on shaping our future role in hospital data management and reporting, and health sector performance reporting, against a backdrop of national health reforms. It also publishes policy-relevant statistical information about health and welfare expenditure and the health workforce.

The group also contributes to national and international data and information infrastructure development by maintaining and improving statistical infrastructure, such as:

  • classifications and standards, including coordinating aspects of Australia's international health classification work
  • national metadata standards, as published in METeOR, our electronic repository of metadata for the health, community services, housing assistance and homelessness sectors, and early childhood education and care.

Housing and Specialised Services Group

Statistics on a range of vulnerable groups

The group produces statistics, analysis and information on:

  • homelessness
  • community housing
  • housing assistance
  • mental health and palliative care services
  • drug use and treatment services, including tobacco and alcohol.

Surveying alcohol and drug use

The group is responsible for the administration, data analysis and reporting of two national surveys, both of which are being conducted in 2016:

  • the National Drug Strategy Household Survey—a large triennial household survey which collects information on alcohol and tobacco consumption, illicit drug use and attitudes and perceptions relating to tobacco, alcohol and other drug use
  • the National Social Housing Survey—a biennial survey of tenants in selected housing programs, designed to collect information for national reporting about tenant satisfaction with housing amenities, facilities and services.

Indigenous and Children's Group

Monitoring the next generation's wellbeing

The group leads the development, monitoring and reporting of information and statistics on the health and welfare of children, youth, families and Indigenous people.

Delivering better data on Indigenous people

A particular emphasis in 2015-16 was calculating burden of disease estimates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.


The AIHW Director, Mr Barry Sandison, manages the day-to-day affairs of the Institute. He is supported by 8 senior executives, who together comprise the AIHW Executive Committee. During the year, the committee met regularly to consider policy, financial and other corporate matters.

Of the 8 senior executives, 4 managed organisational groups that oversaw specific statistical areas only; 1 managed a group that provided solely corporate support services to the whole organisation; and 3 managed groups that delivered both statistical and corporate services.

Senior executive team

Information on the AIHW's senior executive team, as at 30 June 2016, is given below. More detailed information on each person is available at 'AIHW senior staff'.

Senior Executive, Business and Governance Group

Photo of Andrew Kettle.

Andrew Kettle MA (Hons), CA

Andrew Kettle has held a senior executive position since he first arrived to work at the AIHW in 2006. He is responsible for leading the management of the Institute's finances, human resources, governance operations and office accommodation. Mr Kettle qualified as a chartered accountant in the United Kingdom. He worked as a professional accountant for Coopers and Lybrand in Canada and Australia and was chief financial officer at the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. Mr Kettle acted as Director of the AIHW from 14 December 2015 to 17 June 2016.

Senior Executive, Data Strategies and Information Technology Group

Photo of Geoff Neideck.

Geoff Neideck BBusStud, Grad Cert Management

Mr Neideck has been managing the AIHW's Data Strategies and Information Technology Group since December 2015. Before that, he managed the AIHW's housing and homelessness collections since mid-2006 when he came to head the former Housing and Disability Group. Prior to joining the AIHW, he managed large national social and economic statistics programs at the ABS and Statistics Canada, where he gained experience in data design and statistical infrastructure projects.

Senior Executive, Community Services and Communication Group

Photo of Mark Cooper-Stanbury.

Mark Cooper-Stanbury BSc (acting)

Mr Cooper-Stanbury has acted as a senior executive since November 2015. He is responsible for work associated with disability, ageing, child welfare and prisoner health; oversees the AIHW's communications activities; and leads development of our Australia's health and Australia's welfare reports. Mr Cooper-Stanbury has more than 20 years' experience at the AIHW, including over 10 years as an out-posted statistical consultant.

Senior Executive, Health Group

Photo of Louise York.

Louise York BEc, BSc, Grad Dip Population Health (acting)

Ms York has acted as a senior executive since May 2016. She is responsible for work associated with burden of disease, chronic disease monitoring, cancer screening, population health, veterans' health, nutrition, primary health-care data improvement, AIHW's mortality data and international health reporting obligations. Ms York has almost 20 years' experience at the AIHW, including an out-posted role at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

Senior Executive, Health Performance and Accountability Framework Group

Photo of Michael Frost.

Michael Frost BEc (Hons), Grad Dip Public Administration

Mr Frost transferred to the AIHW in May 2016 from a position as Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives, in the former National Health Performance Authority. His experience in policy advice, performance reporting and administrative roles spans 17 years in federal and state governments, including as the deputy head, Secretariat for the COAG Reform Council.

Senior Executive, Hospitals, Resourcing and Classifications Group

Photo of Jenny Hargreaves.

Jenny Hargreaves BSc (Hons), Grad Dip Population Health

Ms Hargreaves gained her first position on the AIHW senior executive team in 2006 when she headed the former Economics and Health Services Group. Her experience with Australian hospital statistics, for which she is responsible, is extensive. She is also responsible for the Institute's work related to health sector performance indicators, health classifications and management of national health and welfare data standards.

Senior Executive, Housing and Specialised Services Group

Photo of Tim Beard.

Tim Beard BSc, BComm (acting)

Mr Beard has acted as a senior executive since January 2016 and has worked at the AIHW since 2001 across a range of health and welfare areas. His responsibilities include producing information on homelessness, community housing, housing assistance, mental health services, palliative care services, and drug use and treatment services. He has been a staff representative on AIHW's Consultative Committee.

Senior Executive, Indigenous and Children's Group

Photo of Fadwa Al-Yaman.

Fadwa Al-Yaman PSM BSc, MA, PhD

Dr Al-Yaman has been on the AIHW Executive Committee since 2008. She has been instrumental in driving development of statistics on Indigenous health and welfare within the AIHW's data collections since she first came to the AIHW in 2002. In 2008, Dr Al-Yaman was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in improving the accuracy and reliability of the data on Indigenous Australians contained in information collections for health, housing and community services.

Other staff

Further information about staff leading our units is in Appendix 4 and about staff more generally is in Chapter 5 Our people.

Collaborating to achieve common objectives

In successfully performing our functions, we rely on forging and maintaining positive, productive relationships with many agencies and organisations across the Australian Government, state and territory government, and non-government sectors. The multisectoral nature of our work is reflected in the statutory composition of the AIHW Board and the AIHW Ethics Committee and the diverse range of entities with which the AIHW has entered into agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

Australian Government

Department of Health

The AIHW is an independent corporate Commonwealth entity in the Health portfolio. The Institute has a strong relationship with the Department of Health.

The Secretary of the Department of Health or his/her nominee is an AIHW Board member. We also provide the department with copies of all AIHW publications in advance of public release.

With the exception of work that must be put to competitive tender by the department, our work for the Department of Health is guided by an MoU between the two organisations. The department directly funds us to undertake significant additional projects beyond work funded through appropriation. During 2015-16, the parties extended the existing MoU arrangements for a further year.

Department of Social Services

Our relationship with the Department of Social Services (DSS) is also very important, particularly in areas such as housing and homelessness, disability services and child protection.

Under formal deed arrangements, the AIHW is data custodian of the department's Australian Government Housing Data Set and is a member on a panel of experts to support organisations funded under the DSS' Families and Children Activity. Additionally, an MoU guides work undertaken by the AIHW for the DSS that has not otherwise been subject to competitive tender. During 2015-16, the parties extended the existing MoU arrangements for a further year.

We also provide the DSS with copies of all AIHW publications relevant to DSS functions in advance of public release.

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The AIHW interacts regularly with the ABS as a key partner on a range of activities. This relationship is enshrined in the AIHW Act, which provides that the collection of health- and welfare-related information and statistics by the AIHW must be with the agreement of the ABS and, if necessary, with its assistance. The Act also provides that the Australian Statistician (or his/her nominee) is a member of the AIHW Board.

The AIHW and the ABS are collaborators in a number of national information agreements with the Australian Government and state and territory governments, covering ongoing availability of health, community services, early childhood education and care, and housing and homelessness information.

Other Australian Government bodies

During 2015-16, we collaborated with many agencies in developing, collecting, compiling, analysing, managing and disseminating health and welfare data and information. These organisations included:

  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care: The AIHW and the commission are parties to an MoU reflecting our joint commitment to working collaboratively towards a more informative and usable national system of information to enhance the safety and quality of health care. During 2015-16, the AIHW worked with the commission on data development activities and the Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation.
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies: The AIHW and the family studies institute work collaboratively under an MoU acknowledging that sharing of information and expertise are critical to effective and meaningful research by both bodies.
  • Cancer Australia: The AIHW and Cancer Australia are parties to an MoU reflecting the commitment of both parties to work in a planned and coordinated manner (in consultation with partner organisations and stakeholders) to ensure that national cancer data needs are met effectively. In 2015-16, the AIHW undertook work to support Cancer Australia's Staging, Treatment and Recurrence Project and provided data to report against Cancer Australia's National Cancer Control Indicators.
  • Department of Education: Our relationship with the Department of Education focuses on areas such as the development of information on early childhood education and care.
  • Department of Human Services: The AIHW and the Department of Human Services are parties to an agreement facilitating the sharing of advice and services in data and information areas where the agencies share common interests and responsibilities. This includes the provision of services to the department by the AIHW in our capacity as an accredited Commonwealth Data Integrating Authority.
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: The AIHW and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are parties to an MoU that facilitates provision of data and information services by the AIHW to the department. During 2015-16, we provided services regarding Indigenous health expenditure and analysis of Indigenous health by region.
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs: The department and the AIHW are parties to an MoU that reflects their commitment to the development of information sources for the delivery of world-class health-care policies and services to veterans. At an operational level, the MoU facilitates provision of services to the department, including research and analytical work, reporting, data linkage and integration and data custodianship.
  • Department of Agriculture: The AIHW and the Department of Agriculture are parties to an MoU for the development of data standards for agricultural diseases that may pose a risk to human health.
  • Independent Hospital Pricing Authority: The AIHW's MoU with the authority supports cooperative work to improve national data on hospitals and exchange of hospitals-related data.
  • National Health Funding Body: The AIHW and the National Health Funding Body are parties to an MoU facilitating the exchange of information and assistance on matters of mutual interest, particularly with respect to data and information on public hospitals.
  • National Health Performance Authority: An MoU underpinned the AIHW's work in supporting the authority's development of performance indicators and the publishing of its performance indicator specifications in METeOR. During 2015-16, consistent with the Australian Government's decision to close the NHPA from 1 July 2016, the AIHW and the NHPA worked collaboratively to transition the requisite functions and staff of the authority to the AIHW.
  • National Mental Health Commission: The AIHW works with the commission under an MoU to source and analyse data for the commission's mental health and suicide prevention activities. We also provide technical assistance to the commission in formulating advice on national mental health performance reporting and monitoring issues.

State and territory governments

Much of the government services data reported by the AIHW at a national level is received from state and territory government departments that fund those services. Close working relationships with state and territory governments are therefore critical to developing and reporting nationally consistent and comparable health and welfare data.

During 2015-16, we continued to engage with all jurisdictions through the various national and ministerial committees and forums charged with achieving this aim. We also maintained strong relationships with state and territory government departments, including those working under the auspices of COAG. Some of these relationships are formalised by agreements, such as our MoUs with the Australasian Juvenile Justice Administrators, the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and state and territory departments responsible for health, children and families, and prisoner health.

The AIHW and numerous entities from all Australian jurisdictions are parties to national information agreements that underpin the activities of national information committees. Separate agreements cover health, community services, early childhood education and care, and housing and homelessness. The agreements ensure that effective infrastructure and governance arrangements are in place for the development, supply and use of nationally consistent data for each of these areas.

In engaging with other national committees in various areas of health, welfare and housing assistance (see Appendix 5), we focus on actively contributing evidence to policy debates and improving information arrangements. We contribute to these committees in various ways, for example as chair, member, observer and/or providing secretariat services.

Collaborating centres

During 2015-16, the AIHW had collaborating centre arrangements in place with four research organisations, based mainly at universities. These organisations were the:

  • Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research Ltd, which monitors asthma and linked chronic respiratory conditions and aims to help reduce the burden of asthma and other airways diseases by developing, collating and interpreting data relevant to airways disease prevention, management and health policy
  • Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health at the University of Adelaide, which operates the Dental Statistics and Research Unit for the collection, analysis and reporting of statistics relating to dental care and oral health and aims to improve the oral health of Australians through research on dental health status, dental practices, use of dental services and the dental labour force
  • National Injury Surveillance Unit at Flinders University, which develops, analyses and reports national statistical information about injury and its control and contributes to the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 11th Revision (ICD-11)
  • National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit at the University of New South Wales, which develops and analyses information about perinatal health and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies through
    • research, analysis and reporting on reproductive, maternal and perinatal health—including assisted reproduction, pregnancy outcomes, maternal morbidity and mortality, admission to neonatal intensive care and perinatal mortality
    • assessing needs and opportunities for new information sources and mechanisms and improvement of existing information sources
    • developing new information sources and other relevant infrastructure
    • providing advice and other services to assist others who are engaged in perinatal health monitoring and research.

Other collaborations and partnerships

During the 2015-16 year, we maintained and strengthened our engagement with allied organisations, including peak bodies and other national forums, to help satisfy their needs for information to assist policy development and program delivery.

The AIHW also has data-sharing agreements with other specialist centres, such as:

  • Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course: Under a multiparty agreement administered by the University of Queensland, the AIHW provides data and technical data expertise to assist activities undertaken by the collaborating parties.
  • University of Western Australia: Under this arrangement, the AIHW participates in the Population Health Research Network—a network made possible through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. The strategy is administered by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

At an international level, the AIHW plays an important role in data standards and classifications work through the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Family of International Classifications, and reports health statistics to the OECD.

During 2015-16, the AIHW and the Canadian Institute for Health Information signed an MoU to formalise the temporary exchange of staff between the organisations. We also provided information to two Vietnamese delegations.

Photo of AIHW staff.

AIHW staff, including the former AIHW Director, Ms Kerry Flanagan, and a delegation from Vietnam that came to the AIHW to discuss metadata and METeOR, on 14 September 2015.

Financial management

Financial management in the AIHW operates within the following legislative framework:

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 (sections 20-26)
  • Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
  • Auditor-General Act 1997.

We separate our financial and budget operations into internal and external arrangements. Our internal operations use funds received from:

  • parliamentary appropriations
  • contributions from income received for project work undertaken for external agencies to provide corporate services for that work
  • miscellaneous sources, such as bank interest, ad hoc information services and publication sales.

These funds are allocated in a detailed budget process conducted in May-June each year. Funds are spent on:

  • project work undertaken by our statistical groups
  • collaborations with universities that undertake specialist activities
  • corporate services, such as financial, human resources, executive support, governance and legal, records management and ICT services.

Our externally funded project work is undertaken by our statistical groups for external agencies. The fees charged each project is determined using a pricing template set to cover our costs, which include salaries and on-costs, other direct costs and a corporate cost-recovery charge which recovers infrastructure and corporate support costs. The template is updated on an annual basis. Expenditure incurred on each project is accounted for separately and monitored monthly. Explanations are sought for projects that appear to be over budget or behind schedule.

Contract management

Our contracts include:

  • contracts for the purchase of services—most commonly these are for standard support services, such as rent, cleaning, payroll processing, internal auditing, ICT equipment and consultancies
  • revenue contracts for the provision of services—most commonly these are
    • schedules under MoUs with Australian Government departments for information services, which we treat as revenue contracts—though some are not contracts in a strictly legal sense
    • contracts with Australian Government departments awarded under competitively tendered arrangements
    • contracts with state or territory departments, usually through a ministerial council arrangement, or with non-government organisations
  • binding agreements—these typically underpin our collaborating centre arrangements with universities.

Purchase contracts

For purchase contracts, we use, wherever possible, template short- and long-form contracts prepared by legal advisers as the basis of contracts with suppliers. These template contracts aim to manage risks and ensure value for money through provisions that cover a range of matters such as: deliverables and performance standards linked to milestone payments; necessary insurances and indemnities; intellectual property ownership and requirements; and requirements for privacy and confidentiality.

Purchase contract payments are often linked to delivery of services to a satisfactory standard.

Procurement requirements

The AIHW is required by section 30 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 to comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules available at 'Commonwealth Procurement Rules', which establish requirements for Commonwealth entities regarding their procurement activities.

The AIHW must comply with the mandatory procedures for all procurements above the $400,000 threshold.

We complied with our obligations under the procurement rules during 2015-16.

Revenue contracts

Most revenue contracts centre on provision of services related to projects being managed by our statistical units.

Our revenue contracts and standard schedules to MoUs detail the scope, timing, deliverables and budget for most externally funded projects we undertake.

Contract approval

Purchase and revenue contracts, but not MoU schedules, involving receipt or payment of amounts more than $1.5 million must be approved by the Minister for Health.

Purchase or revenue contracts and schedules must all be signed by the appropriate AIHW delegate.

Internal clearance and approval arrangements in place in 2015-16 specified that:

  • any purchase contract worth more than $25,000 must be approved by a Senior Executive Service (SES) officer
  • purchase contracts worth more than $100,000 must also be cleared by the Senior Executive, Business and Governance Group, and approved by the Director
  • revenue contracts or schedules for amounts up to and including $100,000 must be cleared by the relevant senior executive and, if there are non-standard clauses, by the Senior Executive, Business and Governance Group
  • revenue contracts or schedules worth more than $100,000 must be cleared by the relevant senior executive officer and the Senior Executive, Business and Governance Group, and approved by the Director.

Purchase contract managers must be satisfied that the supplier is meeting their obligations under the contract before recommending the payment of invoices.

Risk oversight and management

Risk management is integral to the AIHW's business operations. During the year, we twice updated our register of significant organisational risks and necessary mitigation actions in accordance with our Risk Management Framework. Both updates were reviewed by the Audit and Finance Committee and considered by the board. A statement of risks of special relevance to board members was prepared. At the operational level, project managers are now required to identify, assess and monitor risks related to their project and record them in our project management system.

Areas of risk that we monitor closely include:

  • the AIHW's position as a major national agency providing information and statistics on health and welfare matters, including
    • clarity about our purpose
    • our reputation for accurate, independent and timely reporting
    • relationships with funders, data providers and other stakeholders
    • security over confidentiality of data
    • competition from other organisations that analyse health and welfare data
  • the AIHW's ability to attract and retain highly skilled staff
  • the AIHW's commercial operations, including
    • financial matters such as external funding, cash flow, cost management and appropriate internal controls
    • up-to-date and effective technology
    • the effectiveness of organisational operations and planning.

The AIHW Fraud Control Plan 2014-2016 provides for a proactive approach to minimising the potential for instances of fraud within the AIHW. It contains appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures and processes to meet the specific needs of the AIHW and comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

We engage external contractors to perform our internal audit function. In 2015-16, the internal auditors—Protiviti—completed two internal audits (see 'Audit and Finance Committee' section above).

The AIHW has a wide range of its own policies and practices to reduce and manage business risks, including those relating to:

  • business continuity
  • corporate governance
  • data governance and management
  • data custody
  • data linkage
  • embargoed release of reports and other information products record keeping
  • ethical clearance
  • financial delegations and guidelines
  • fraud control
  • indemnities for officers
  • information privacy, confidentiality and reliability
  • information security
  • media engagement
  • physical security
  • publications review and refereeing
  • social media
  • tenders and procurements
  • work health and safety.

During 2015-16, we:

  • monitored our intranet-hosted data confidentialisation decision register, which provides a central place to document our decisions on managing data confidentiality and reliability
  • provided workforce reports to the AIHW Board every 6 months
  • worked with other agencies to actively manage the risks around the transfer of staff and resources from the NHPA.

Managing ethically

Several measures are in place that promote and maintain high ethical standards at the Institute and protect the privacy and confidentiality of data, both of which are of prime importance to the AIHW in carrying out its responsibilities (see 'Legislation' section above).

  • All employees are required to maintain appropriate ethical standards of behaviour (see 'Managing performance and behaviour'), including adherence to the Australian Public Services (APS) Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct. These standards are exemplified by senior management and expected of all staff throughout the Institute. They are actively promoted to all new staff.
  • We periodically refresh our policies and practices to reduce and manage fraud, to ensure that protecting privacy is central to our work and to manage other business risks (see 'Risk oversight and management' section above, for details of activities in 2015-16).
  • Specific physical and electronic security measures are in place to maintain the confidentiality of AIHW data (see 'Data security' section below). These measures are particularly secure for specific projects undertaken by the AIHW's Data Integration Services Centre—an Integrating Authority accredited by the Commonwealth's Cross Portfolio Data Integration Oversight Board. The work of the centre often involves the use of administrative records containing personal information.
  • As detailed, the AIHW Ethics Committee considers the ethical acceptability of certain data-related activities.
  • New AIHW staff members are required to sign undertakings that draw to their attention the section 29 confidentiality provisions of the AIHW Act.
  • Members of committees set up by the AIHW may, as part of their role, have access to information of a confidential nature, and are therefore required to sign a deed agreeing to certain measures designed to protect against disclosure and unauthorised use of confidential information.

Protecting privacy

The AIHW protects the privacy of the information it holds under a coordinated set of arrangements covering data governance, the AIHW Ethics Committee operations and physical and information technology security. These multiple layers of defense ensure that data is only accessed by authorised personnel for appropriate purposes in a secure environment.

For a general overview of how the AIHW protects the privacy of individuals, its legal obligations and the Institute's data custody and governance arrangements visit: 'Privacy of data'.

Data governance

Our Data Governance Framework identifies and provides an overview of the AIHW's robust data governance arrangements, including:

  • a description of key concepts in data and data governance
  • the legal, regulatory and governance environment in which AIHW operates
  • core data governance structures and roles
  • an overview of AIHW data-related policies, procedures and guidelines
  • systems and tools supporting data governance
  • compliance regimes.

These data governance arrangements apply to:

  • data collected and/or enhanced by the AIHW
  • data collected on behalf of others (for example, under collaborative or contractual agreements)
  • data obtained from all external sources.

The framework and a short overview document are available at 'Data governance framework'.

Our Data Governance Committee establishes an annual work plan of data governance-related activities and provides advice and recommendations to the AIHW Executive Committee on these matters. In 2015-16, the Data Governance Committee met 3 times, established a work plan, began projects under the work plan and convened a data custodian forum to discuss matters of interest and issues affecting all AIHW data custodians.

Data security at the AIHW is a high priority and is constantly adjusted to meet the changing needs of the organisation in response to the security threats and vulnerabilities, security standards and measures required of government agencies and available technology solutions to deal with security issues.

Data security

Actions undertaken during the year to further improve our data security arrangements included:

  • audited compliance with the Australian Signals Directorate mandatory top four security requirements
  • implementing a Security Event and Information Management system that collects security related logs and events, and correlates the information on issues and vulnerabilities
  • progressing an Independent Security Registered Assessor review/assessment
  • training and certifying three security specialists on staff.

AIHW's data holdings continue to grow and we have expanded our range of products and services. At all stages of data handling, from transfer, data management and storage to release of data, AIHW has in place appropriate governance and security policies and practices. No data breaches have been experienced in the reporting period.

Project management

Four years ago, the AIHW adopted a new project management system which provides an indication of the number of projects we undertake. In 2015-16, 207 projects were formally completed (Table 4.2).

Table 4.2: Projects under management, 2015-16

Year Formally completed in the year Started in the year Active at year's end
2015-16 207 245 321

Note: Figures reflect projects managed through the AIHW's project management system. Figures published in earlier annual reports are not comparable due to a change in counting rules.

Freedom of information

Requests received

In 2015-16, there were 6 requests for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Fol Act), and no requests for internal review.

FOI Disclosure Log logo.

Details of freedom of information requests and records accessed under the FoI Act are published in the disclosure log on the AIHW website: Freedom of information disclosure log.

Information Publication Scheme

Information Publication Scheme logo.

Part II of the FoI Act requires the AIHW to publish information under the Information Publishing Scheme that is accurate, up to date and complete. The FoI Act established the Information Publication Scheme for Australian Government agencies subject to the FoI Act. Under the scheme, agencies are required to publish a range of information, including an organisational chart, functions, annual reports and certain details of document holdings.

During 2015-16, the AIHW complied with the scheme. The information is published at 'Information publication scheme (IPS)'.


Enquiries about making a formal request under the FoI Act should be emailed to '[email protected]'.

Freedom of information requests should be sent to:

FoI Contact Officer
Governance Unit
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
GPO Box 570
Canberra ACT 2601

or emailed to '[email protected]'.