Our Performance

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Goal 1: Promoting fiscal sustainability
Government Goal: Sustainable Finances
Background

Since 2017‑18, Treasury has led a major project designed to improve the quality and availability of data for research, evaluation and policy making.

The Social Investment Data Resource – or SIDR – is a linked, administrative database containing de‑identified information on individuals who have had contact with key government agencies. The SIDR aims to build upon WA’s long and successful history of linking data for research purposes, and to progress recommendations outlined in a 2016 review of data linkage by Professors Fiona Stanley AC and Peter Klinken. It seeks to do so by improving access to data for researchers and policy analysts, including by reducing cost and wait times.

Approach

Development of the SIDR has been a collaboration between the Data Linkage Branch in the Department of Health, Curtin University’s Centre for Data Linkage (CDL) and partner agencies, including the Departments of Communities, Justice, Health and Education and WA Police. Treasury’s role has been to broker the data linkage arrangements for the SIDR, including negotiating the release of datasets from agencies, and to manage and oversee the contract with CDL.

Outcome

Completion of the SIDR is expected by the end of 2019, with annual updates planned thereafter.

Initially, the SIDR will be used to support research relating to the Government’s Target 120 program. In this regard, Treasury’s Data Analytics and Service Redesign team has been granted ethics approval to use SIDR to conduct research into risk factors associated with youth reoffending, as well as to evaluate the success of the program over time.

Treasury is also working actively with stakeholders, including policy analysts and the broader research community, to make the SIDR available for other approved research projects, including to support the Government’s Our Priorities agenda. Looking forward, Treasury is seeking to increase the breadth and coverage of the SIDR, with the objective being to embed and enhance its status as a major research asset for policy making in WA.

Goal 2: Promoting a strong, competitive and diversified economy
Government Goal: Sustainable Finances
Background

The scope of the Government Trading Enterprise (GTE) Reform Program was shaped by the GTE‑related recommendations of the Service Priority Review and Special Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects. A principles-based approach was adopted to articulate the desired outcomes of the Program.

Approach

The GTE Reform Program is reviewing the governance arrangements of GTEs and, through broad stakeholder engagement and consultation, has developed a framework to strengthen how GTEs collaborate with other parts of the Western Australian Government.

The GTE Reform Program was established on 1 July 2018 and during its first six months, through extensive consultation and engagement, sought out best practice in GTE governance. This involved consultation with the 16 GTEs taking part in the first stage of the Reform, as well as research and inter‑jurisdictional visits to consider the practices of other government‑owned businesses.

Consultation and collaboration is at the heart of the GTE Reform Program and central to its success to date. From the outset of the Program, there has been a strong drive to do consultation differently, with genuine collaboration and feedback underpinning the stakeholder engagement approach. This was effectively demonstrated in the Program's Operational Forums, which were designed to build community while capturing information about each organisation’s governance activities.

The Forums used multiple feedback mechanisms to gain insights across operational areas, recognising that different communication avenues would stimulate different conversations. These included discussion papers, face‑to‑face forums, key ‘takeaway’ documents and formal written submissions.

Engagement has been enhanced through regular contact with the Executives and Boards of each GTE to ensure they understand the rationale of each step of the consultation approach. A regular newsletter to GTE and agency representatives has also supported dissemination of information about the Program’s progress within entities.

Outcome

The GTE Reform Program is a demonstration of how authentic collaboration and proactive stakeholder engagement can accelerate the rate of public sector reform. The Program is reviewing the governance arrangements of Government Trading Enterprises (GTEs) to build a framework that will strengthen how they collaborate with other parts of the State Government. The framework will provide clarity, accountability and efficiency in how government‑owned businesses deliver their services in partnership with the State Government.

Goal 3: Promoting an efficient and sustainable energy sector
Government Goal: Sustainable Finances
Background

Generator access to Western Power’s electricity grid has historically operated on an unconstrained basis, meaning that each generator was able to connect to the transmission network and transmit its maximum electricity output through the grid at any time. This arrangement operated well when demand was increasing and the network was expanding to cater for increasing peak loads, as was historically the case at the time of its design.

However, in an environment of rapidly falling renewable generation costs and decreasing demand on the grid due to rooftop solar PV penetration, the unconstrained network access arrangement has created a significant hurdle to new large‑scale generation projects wanting to connect to Western Power’s transmission system. The unconstrained network access arrangement requires new generators connecting to the transmission network to pay for the augmentation required to achieve and maintain unconstrained network connection for all existing generators, even though available network capacity is not fully utilised at most times as demand is highly variable.

As a result, many new low‑cost renewable generators may be unable to connect due to the expensive capital cost required to upgrade or expand Western Power’s network capacity. A change of regulatory approach to network access has been a key component of the electricity reform agenda and is being progressed under the Government’s Energy Transformation Strategy.

Approach

With agreement of the Minister for Energy, the Public Utilities Office, alongside the Australian Energy Market Operator and Western Power commenced work in 2017 to design a temporary solution to allow new generators to connect to the Western Power transmission network without affecting the unconstrained access of existing generators.

This process required extensive discussion and consultation to determine the amount of additional energy output that could be safely managed under this arrangement, without exceeding the safe operating limits of the entire electricity grid. The result of the collaboration was the development of the Generator Interim Access (GIA) solution.

The GIA arrangements feature use of existing market mechanisms, together with a ‘bolt‑on’ solver to constrain the maximum output of new generators in situations where network capacity is limited and existing generators would otherwise be prevented from transmitting their output first.

The Public Utilities Office also progressed changes to the Wholesale Electricity Market Rules, made by the Minister for Energy. These new rules included arrangements to allow new generation projects connected under the GIA solution to be eligible for capacity payments, that recognise the contribution of each generation facility in meeting electricity system requirements during peak demand periods. These capacity payments assist in meeting the capital costs of new electricity generation projects.

Kalamunda electricity generation
Outcome

In December 2018, Western Power made GIA related electricity network access offers to eight generation projects representing around 900 megawatts of new large‑scale renewable energy generation capacity. The GIA is an interim solution, which is intended to operate until a constrained network access framework is put in place as part of the Energy Transformation Strategy. The new constrained access arrangements are expected to commence in October 2022.

Goal 4: Enhancing organisational capability and agility
Government Goal: Sustainable Finances
Background

To enhance organisational capability and agility, Treasury rebooted its graduate attraction and recruitment strategy to proactively navigate succession risks as well as transfer and sustain vital knowledge that supports and develops Treasury’s ‘big picture’ thinking.

The 2019 Graduate Program recruitment campaign welcomed four graduates from over 150 applications, a strong result after a three year pause in the graduate market. These graduates have begun to rotate through various Treasury business units, building skills and networks as well as partaking in the Public Sector Commission Graduate Development Program, collaborating with graduates from across the sector.

To continue attracting the best and brightest student and graduate talent, Treasury developed a strategy to elevate its employer brand and build mutually beneficial relationships with Western Australian Universities as well as interstate institutions such as Australian National University (ANU) and Deakin University.

Approach

To increase the profile of the Treasury employer brand, relationships with relevant Schools and Faculties at Western Australian Universities as well as career centres, locally and interstate, were developed. On‑campus engagement through career fairs and speaking opportunities such as Public Sector Panel events were of great benefit with Treasury representatives reaching over 450 students, providing insights into the dynamic opportunities at Treasury and a career in the public sector.

To continue the ‘conversation’ after campus engagement activities, the Treasury Talent Community was established. The Community allows students to register for Treasury updates and find out about employment opportunities such as the Treasury Graduate Program and Vacation Programs. Currently over 360 students are registered on the Community with continuous growth due to online promotion by Universities.

In addition to the Treasury Talent Community, Treasury needed to be visible on high traffic platforms that students and graduates interact with. Tailored communications plans were created and distributed to all Universities, which resulted in coverage promoting Treasury on student Facebook sites and direct email campaigns.

22% increase in new graduate applications

Today, students seek authentic career prospects and to meet this need, Treasury established a Treasury Alumni Registry where current Treasury employees self‑nominate to represent Treasury at their former University. Having this form of authentic representation provides a connection between Treasury and students currently completing a qualification at that institution. Universities are constantly seeking employer representatives to speak with cohorts and the Registry supports their need whilst offering Treasury the opportunity to promote its employer brand.

Underpinning these engagement initiatives was the development of an eye‑catching campaign for the 2020 Graduate Program recruitment - ‘Tell Your Friends Where to Go’ which was launched in March 2019. The campaign was fun and inviting with a playful call to action that was well received by students, graduates, Universities and within Treasury.

In addition to the graduate programs Treasury will launch Summer and Winter Vacation Programs ranging from 4‑8 weeks. The Vacation programs allow current University students to have an introductory experience to Treasury which will assist in building suitable candidates for future graduate programs. In addition to Vacation opportunities for students, Treasury will welcome students seeking placements for academic credit as a direct result from the relationships between Universities and Treasury.

To attract this great talent is one thing but to retain it is a central focus as well. Treasury has this forward outlook front of mind with the launch of a Young Professional Program for employees 30 and under. This program will provide engagement opportunities with Executive management, knowledge transfer and sharing as well as social and community‑based activities.

Treasury is aware that the talent pool doesn’t just sit at University level, with opportunities to engage with high school students also occurring simultaneously to the University commitments. To date, Treasury has engaged with Shenton College and Albany College as well as the annual High School Economics Conference held by Curtin University.

Outcome

Treasury’s commitment to building the next generation of talent has been stepped up in the past year, with more engaging initiatives to come. To attract more students and graduates to Treasury, an attractive program package has been designed that will launch in 2020 to further recruit, develop and retain Treasury’s next generation.

I have had the opportunity to work across multiple business units within Treasury, develop a broad range of skills and make meaningful contributions to Government decision-making. Matthew Keohane (Graduate) and Kirsten Pereira (Treasury mentor).