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Part 5: The department's response

The Department would like to thank the Senior Review Team: Bill Farmer, Gary Sturgess and Susan Page for providing their considered analysis of the capability of the Department as part of the Australian Public Service Commission's Capability Review Program. The review reflects the significant progress
made beyond the baseline set by a Strategic Audit commissioned in 2009, highlighting many areas of strong capability in the Department and some areas for improvement. The report makes a number of valuable observations about the work and culture of the Department as well as about the recognition and perception
of the Department by the Minister, by Commonwealth and State/Territory government agencies and by the private sector.

The review confirms our strong commitment to making high quality, evidence based choices and our reputation as a responsible fiscal manager; it recognises we are well placed to address the majority of challenges likely to emerge in the short to medium term. The review also highlights two development
areas around better articulating our strategic approach and addressing workforce issues including retention, performance management and risk around losing key personnel.

In the short term, it is clear we need to work towards developing a more cohesive narrative about our role in national infrastructure and as a key driver of economic reform. This is a continuation of work underway to develop, describe and deliver a strategic vision for national infrastructure planning,
investment reform and development. We acknowledge that clarification of our role, and that of Infrastructure Australia, would enable the private sector to identify more easily the appropriate approach points when raising strategic infrastructure development issues.

It is also clear we need to maintain our strong focus on our people. We have a highly talented workforce with a wealth of specialist knowledge in areas as diverse as transport safety and security regulation, vehicle safety engineering, transport statistical analysis, strategic planning for cities and
of Australia's domestic and international markets for aviation, surface transport and maritime transport. We have highly talented program and financial managers and regulatory specialists, and we have a strong leadership team. While our contemporary experience is that we attract large and quality fields
for recruitment processes, we recognise that, as is the case for any large organisation, managing and maintaining specialised knowledge as people progress through their careers presents a challenge for the Department.

In the medium and longer term the Department will continue its work to build upon our reputation as a respected economic and policy reform agency, driving improved efficiency and safety in the transport sector and supporting growth through sensible and targeted infrastructure investment. We will continue
to deliver on the Government's infrastructure agenda and on the broader productivity and economic reform agenda. Our activities in the short term will better position the Department to shape our relationships with government and the private sector to achieve these goals.

Like all agencies operating in a fiscally constrained environment we will continue to carefully consider and prioritise our allocation of resources and monitor the performance of our workforce to ensure we meet the expectations of us. We will place a particular focus in the next two years on regulatory
reform – improving both our regulatory performance and the effectiveness of the statutory regulatory regimes as they impact on industry and the community.

The Department has viewed the review process as a welcome opportunity to gain an objective assessment of our capability on a number of fronts in a complex and challenging policy environment. We are pleased to have received such a strong assessment and, as a Department, we will address the issues outlined
in the report.

Mike Mrdak
Secretary
Department of Infrastructure and Transport