The 2019 Australian Federal Government Budget –
agency funding from a Workplace Health and Safety Perspective
Nathan Winter, Chair of the Finance, Risk, Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of the Safety Institute of Australia, has dug in to the Portfolio Budget Statements for each of the safety related Federal Government Agencies. He has done so again this year to provide a baseline funding overview of the Federal Budget from a health and safety perspective – an area which is generally not covered well by mainstream media.
This year’s budget from a health and safety perspective is overall, unremarkable.
From the Portfolio Budget Statements, we can see the following:
In an area of ongoing interest relating to education, The Tertiary Education Quality and Education Standards Agency (TEQSA) is budgeted for a decrease of 0.3% on its FY19 Budget, but an increase of 3.2% on the estimated FY19 actuals. There is a budgeted increase in TEQSA’s average staffing from 67 to 95 full-time equivalents or 42% in FY20 with budget funding for employees increasing from $8.61m to $11.227m as a result of a one-year delay in implementing full cost recovery.
Similar to last year, a disappointing aspect of this year’s Federal Budget from the Safety Institute’s perspective is the total resourcing provided for the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). Although it is budgeted to increase by $0.9m (1.7%) over FY19 (from $54.296m to $55.198m), this is still a decrease of $10m or 13.9% compared with FY15 levels. Average staffing numbers are budgeted to remain the same as the FY19 budget at 199 full-time equivalent people with employee expenses remaining stable. Given the ongoing issues with the quality of VET sector WHS training, this is a Federal Government agency that would certainly benefit from more funding.
Summarised as a visual graphic these figures are as follows:
Chair Finance, Risk, Audit and Compliance Committee (FRACC)
Safety Institute of Australia