Chapter 4 Our organisation

This chapter describes our governance and management arrangements, including our accountabilities to the Minister for Health, and the roles and responsibilities of the AIHW Board and the AIHW Ethics Committee.


The AIHW was established as a Commonwealth statutory authority in 1987 as the Australian Institute of Health. The composition of the Institute and its functions and powers in the analysis, reporting and dissemination of the nation’s health-related information and statistics 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.
  • The AIHW Act establishes the AIHW Board as our governing body.
  • We operate under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

The Institute's functions are prescribed in section 5 of the AIHW Act. In summary, these are:

  • to collect and produce health- and welfare-related information and statistics, and assist other bodies in these tasks
  • to develop methods and undertake studies designed to assess the provision, use, cost and effectiveness of health services and health technologies
  • to conduct and promote research into the health of the people of Australia
  • to develop specialised statistical standards and classifications relevant to health and welfare services
  • to enable researchers to have access to health- and welfare-related information and statistics held by the Institute or by bodies with which AIHW has contracts or arrangements
  • to publish methodological and substantive reports on work carried out by the Institute
  • to make recommendations to the Minister on the prevention and treatment of diseases and the improvement and promotion of the health and health awareness of the people.

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 other than in compliance with any written terms and conditions imposed by the data provider.

As a corporate Commonwealth entity, we are also subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), which imposes strict obligations in relation to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. Hence, the data in our care are protected by 2 sets of obligations: those contained in the AIHW Act and those in the Privacy Act.

In certain circumstances, the AIHW Ethics Committee may authorise the release of personal information for medical research that would otherwise constitute a breach of an Australian Privacy Principle in the Privacy Act.


We have a range of reporting mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in our operations. This is a short outline of our key documents:

  • AIHW Strategic directions—is the foundation for establishing, recording, refining and assigning priorities to our activities.
  • AIHW Corporate plan—is a requirement of section 35 of the PGPA Act.
  • Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)—the AIHW develops an annual statement specific to our organisation, informing members of the Parliament of Australia of the proposed allocation of resources to government outcomes and programs. Annual direct funding from the Parliament of Australia 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 Chapter 1 Our performance).
  • Annual report—is provided to the Minister for Health for presentation to the Parliament of Australia, required by section 46 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 $3 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 prescribed 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 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.

Photo of AIHM Board. Back row (left to right): Marissa Veld, Luise McCulloch, Zoran Bolevich, Philip Fagan-Schmidt, Gillian Adamson, David Conry, Lyn Roberts, Erin Lalor, Andrew Goodsall. Front row (left to right): Michael Perusco, Simone Ryan, Barry Sandison, Marilyn Chilvers. Absent: Caroline Edwards (bottom left), Louise Markus (bottom right).

AIHM Board

Back row (left to right): Marissa Veld, Luise McCulloch, Zoran Bolevich, Philip Fagan-Schmidt, Gillian Adamson, David Conry, Lyn Roberts, Erin Lalor, Andrew Goodsall.

Front row (left to right): Michael Perusco, Simone Ryan, Barry Sandison, Marilyn Chilvers.

Absent: Caroline Edwards (bottom left), Louise Markus (bottom right).

Board members

Information follows about individual board members as at 30 June 2018, including qualifications, current positions and affiliations. The AIHW Board met 5 times in 2017–18. Appendix 3 details the meetings attended by board members and lists outgoing board members during 2017–18.

Photo of Louise Markus, Chair

Louise Markus BSocWk

Non-executive Director
Term: 14 December 2016–13 December 2019

Mrs Markus was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and 2007 for the seat of Greenway and in 2010 for the seat of Macquarie.

During her time in the Parliament of Australia, Mrs Markus held the positions of shadow parliamentary secretary for immigration and citizenship and shadow minister for veterans’ affairs. Mrs Markus left the House of Representatives on 2 July 2016.

Mrs Markus holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of New South Wales. During her career as a social worker, she worked at the Department of Social Security, Wesley Mission and as a TAFE teacher. Mrs Markus is passionate about developing and delivering programs that provide opportunities for young people and being a strong voice for those in her community.

Photo of Barry Sandison, AIHW Director

Barry Sandison BBusMgt, FANZSG
AIHW Director

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, in 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. Before this, Mr Sandison was a deputy chief executive at Centrelink and held senior executive roles in the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. Mr Sandison is a board member of 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 (IT) agency responsible for planning, implementation and supporting the digital transformation of New South Wales 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 New South Wales 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, after which he moved to 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
Terms: 18 January 2016–17 January 2017; 19 January 2017–18 January 2018; 19 January 2018–18 April 2018; 19 April 2018–30 June 2018

Ms Chilvers is the Executive Director of Analysis and Research at the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). She is responsible for leading the development and dissemination of the agency’s evidence base to inform policy, service design and local planning. 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 New South Wales for the first time. Ms Chilvers’ previous roles include several senior statistical and economic roles in FACS, the New South Wales 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 Senior Housing Officials—a network of senior officials from Australian, state and territory governments)

Non-executive Director
Terms: 18 January 2016–17 January 2017; 9 January 2017–18 January 2018; 19 January 2018–18 April 2018; 19 April 2018–30 June 2018

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 subject areas, including health, housing, natural resource management, infrastructure and major projects.

Photo of Luise McCulloch

Luise McCulloch BA (Hons)
Nominated by Mr David Kalisch, Australian Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Non-executive Director
Term: Ex-officio appointment—from 4 August 2016

Ms McCulloch is the Deputy Australian Statistician leading the Statistical Services Group, which is responsible for producing the ABS demographic, economic and social statistics. Ms McCulloch joined the ABS in November 2015 after 7 years at the Commonwealth Treasury department, during which time she held a number of positions including: division head, Corporate and International Tax Division; acting executive director, Policy Coordination and Governance Division; general manager, Budget Policy Division; general manager, Infrastructure, Industry, Environment and Defence Division; head of the Sustainable Population Strategy Taskforce and principal adviser (2010 Intergenerational Report). Ms McCulloch previously held the positions of assistant secretary (tax, superannuation and workplace relations) and assistant secretary (fiscal policy) in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C). Ms McCulloch joined the public service in 1990 as a graduate with PM&C.

Photo of Caroline Edwards

Caroline Edwards BA Law (first class Hons)
Nominated by Ms Glenys Beauchamp PSM, Department of Health

Non-executive Director
Term: Ex-officio appointmentfrom 24 November 2017

Ms Edwards is Deputy Secretary, Health Systems Policy and Primary Care, of the Department of Health. Her responsibilities include strategic policy, hospitals funding, primary care and mental health, health economics and research and Indigenous health. Immediately before joining the department, Ms Edwards was deputy secretary of the Health and Aged Care Group in the Department of Human Services performing the role of chief executive officer (CEO) of Medicare. Ms Edwards has spent most of her career in social policy, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs with experience in land rights and native title, housing and remote program delivery. She spent 10 years living in the Northern Territory where she worked for Aboriginal Legal Aid, as a judicial registrar in the Northern Territory Magistrates Court and in the Federal Court where she mediated and case-managed native title and other cases as delegate of a judge. Ms Edwards is committed to leadership development in the Australian Public Service (APS) as well as to fostering diversity and innovation.

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; March 2016–22 March 2017; March 2017–23 March 2018; 24 March 2018–23 June 2018

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 recognised as one of the Financial Review/Westpac Top 100 Women of Influence in 2013.

Photo of David Conry

David Conry
Ministerial nominee with knowledge of the needs of consumers of welfare services

Non-executive Director
Terms: 19 December 2014–30 June 2015; 1 July 2015–18 December 2015; 18 January 2016–17 January 2017; 19 January 2017–18 January 2018; 19 January 2018–18 April 2018; 19 April 2018–30 June 2018

Mr Conry is Managing Director of Damarcon, a privately owned advisory and investment business. He contributes more broadly to the community as Chair of Brisbane Powerhouse and the Queensland Museum and holds non-executive directorships or board roles with PHN Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast and Inclusive Brisbane. Mr Conry was named Queensland’s Australian of the Year 2007 and Ernst & Young Global Limited Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 for his work in founding the national disability organisation Youngcare. He is an Australia Day Ambassador, provides support and advice to many Queensland not-for-profit organisations and remains a strong advocate for those with disabilities.

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; 24 March 2017–23 March 2018; 24 March 2018–23 June 2018

Mr Perusco is the CEO of Unison Housing in Melbourne (formerly Yarra Community Housing), Victoria’s largest provider of community housing which focuses particularly on housing people with a history of homelessness and disadvantage. Mr Perusco was previously CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society New South Wales. 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 Premier’s Council on Homelessness and the board of the NSW Council of Social Service. He is currently on the board of 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 DipAppSc, 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; 4 April 2017–3 April 2018; 4 April–3 July 2018

Dr Roberts has extensive experience in working within health non-government organisations, having spent over 25 years working at an executive level in state, national and international capacities. She has considerable expertise in strategic public health policy development and implementation, working with a wide range of stakeholders. She has been a member of a number of expert advisory committees for the government and non-government sectors. Dr Roberts holds a number of board positions and her current roles include the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University (board member); Deakin University Council (council member) and the Victorian Government Justice Health Ministerial Advisory Committee (member). She is currently working part-time as a Principal Adviser with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

Photo of Andrew Goodsall

Andrew Goodsall BA (Hons), GradDipAsianStudies, 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; 19 January 2017–18 January 2018; 18 January 2018–18 April 2018; 19 April 2018–30 June 2018

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 New South Wales 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, in addition to a management role within the Victorian Government, and an Australian Army Reserve officer.

Photo of Gillian Adamson

Gillian Adamson
Ministerial nominee

Non-executive Director
Terms: 1 September 2016–31 August 2017; 1 September 2017–30 March 2018; 31 March–30 June 2018

Ms Adamson worked with Pfizer Australia for over a decade as senior manager for public affairs and policy, heading a team responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with Australia’s peak bodies for medical and nursing professions and health consumer organisations. Her responsibilities also extended to the development and implementation of Pfizer’s quality use of medicines strategy and the effective implementation of Pfizer Australia’s community engagement strategy, including corporate volunteering and employee giving. She also represented Pfizer Australia on a number of industry committees. During her time at Pfizer, Ms Adamson was awarded the W.E. Upjohn Award, a global award for outstanding dedication and exemplary performance in her role. Since 2015, Ms Adamson has been a board member of Rare Cancers Australia and is currently working as a Management Consultant in the aged care sector.

Photo of Simone Ryan

Simone Ryan BMedSci, MBBS, FAFOEM (RACP), MOccEnvHlth, ACCAM, DAME
Ministerial nominee

Non-executive Director
Terms: 1 September 2016–31 August 2017; 1 September 2017–30 March 2018; 31 March–30 June 2018

Dr Ryan is a specialist occupational and environmental physician. She is the founder and current CEO of One Life. Live It, a multinational small–medium enterprise in the corporate health-care sector, leading teams across Australia, Asia and the United States of America. Dr Ryan has a keen interest in health-care data; her company is currently the only one in Australia that records return on investment for corporates regarding their health-care spend. Dr Ryan is a past board member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and past chair of the RACP College Trainees’ Committee. She is an active philanthropist, especially in the field of Australian Indigenous education and a current member of the RACP Foundation reference group.

Photo of Marissa Veld

Marissa Veld BAppSc, MA (Bus)
Staff-elected representative

Non-executive Director
Terms: 26 May 2017–25 May 2018; 26 May 2018–25 May 2019

Ms Veld has worked at the AIHW since 2013 as a Senior Project Manager across a range of subject areas, including family, domestic and sexual violence, and housing and homelessness reporting. Ms Veld has experience in policy and data reporting in welfare services and criminal justice sectors through her previous work for the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Capital Territory Government and the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Charter of Corporate Governance

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

Board performance review

In August 2015, the Australian Government asked the Department of Health to commission an independent review of the AIHW’s role. The report of the review, by the Nous Group, recommended some changes to the AIHW’s governance. In response to the Nous recommendations on board governance, the government introduced amendments to the AIHW Act in the spring 2018 session of parliament through the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Amendment Bill 2018. If passed, the representative-based structure of the AIHW Board will be replaced with membership comprising a collective mix of skills from a range of different fields. Parliamentary debate on the Bill is expected to resume in August 2018.

Education of board members

Board members are provided with information about the AIHW Board and the AIHW’s governance framework at the start of their first term. They are also briefed by the AIHW Director on the board’s role and key current issues for the Institute. In May 2018, the AIHW Board members participated in a risk management workshop. Information on the outcomes from this workshop are provided in the ‘Risk oversight and management’ section later in this chapter.

Remuneration and allowances for board members

Remuneration and allowances for board members are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. As at 30 June 2018, the relevant determination is Determination 2016/18: remuneration and allowances for holders of part-time public office which can be found on the tribunal’s website at Remuneration Tribunal.

Board members who were employed by an Australian Government, state or territory government department or entity did not receive remuneration for their work as a member of the AIHW Board.

Board committees

The AIHW Board has 2 committees: the Audit and Finance Committee and the Remuneration Committee (Figure 4.1). Details of their responsibilities and operations are provided in part 8 of the Charter of Corporate Governance, which is available at Our governance. Details of attendance by members at meetings held during 2017–18, including for members who departed during the year, are in Appendix 3.

Figure 4.1: Governance and management committees, 30 June 2018

Figure 4.1 shows the structure of the two AIHW board committees; the Governance committee and the Management committee as of 30 June 2018


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

  2. Operational committees are convened as required.

Audit and Finance Committee

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

As at June 2018, the committee comprised:

  • 3 non-executive board members—Mr Michael Perusco (Chair), Dr Erin Lalor and Mr Andrew Goodsall—whose details are provided under ‘Board members’ earlier in this chapter
  • 1 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, Chair of the Snowy Mountains Regional Council Audit Committee and a member of the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee. His prior experience includes 5 years with Walter Turnbull Chartered Accountants and 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 2 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 (ANAO) attend meetings of the committee.

The committee received the ANAO’s audit report on the 2016–17 financial statements. The committee also reviewed recommendations from internal audits on:

  • MBS/PBS database audit—to assess the readiness to adequately manage the MBS/PBS data collections conforming with the requirements of the AIHW Data Collection Management Principles
  • credit card controls—to provide assurance about the design and operating effectiveness of key controls related to payments made through corporate credit cards to ensure compliance with Australian Government requirements and internal policies and procedures.

Appropriate action in response to the recommendations of these internal audits is underway.

Protiviti began work in 2017–18 on a review of the privacy of information held at the AIHW, business continuity/disaster recovery planning and following up on the implementation of the data custodian checklist.

Remuneration Committee

The employing body of the AIHW Director is the AIHW Board. The Director position is within the Principal Executive Office structure administered by the Remuneration Tribunal, for which information can be found at Principal Executive offices. The AIHW 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.

As at June 2018, the committee comprised:

  • Chair of the AIHW Board—Mrs Louise Markus
  • 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 2018 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 provided to the council.

Subject to the requirements of the AIHW Act and the Privacy Act 1988, the AIHW may release personal health and welfare data for research purposes with the written approval of the committee, provided that release is consistent with 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 as at 30 June 2018. Appendix 3 details the meetings attended by committee members during 2017–18 and lists committee members who departed 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 Australian Government public servant, having served as deputy secretary in PM&C and in 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 was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2006 for outstanding public service in the development and implementation of social policy. He served as Director of Aboriginal Hostels Limited from 2009 to 2016.

Barry Sandison BBusMgt, FANZSG

AIHW Director
Term: 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 and treatment of people
Terms: 25 September 2014–24 September 2017; 25 September 2017–24 September 2020

Dr Bhat is a physician-scientist. She graduated with an MBBS from the University of Queensland, and obtained her specialist qualifications and PhD from the University of Melbourne. She is a gastroenterologist at Canberra Hospital and at Canberra Gastroenterology, and a Fellow at the Australian National University Medical School where she teaches and conducts medical research. Her current research interests include the development of novel immunotherapies for bowel cancer and hepatitis B virus infection, as well as studying the use of medical investigations in complex decision making within gastroenterology. Dr Bhat collaborates with many national and international institutes with shared global interests in disease management and best practice. She has a clinical interest in liver disease and the diagnosis and management of precancerous conditions of the gut through endoscopic procedures.

Photo of Tim Driscoll

Tim Driscoll FAVOEM, FAFPHM, PhD, MOHS, MBBS, BSc (Med)

Person experienced in areas of research regularly considered by the committee
Term: 1 July 2016–30 June 2019

Professor Driscoll is an occupational epidemiologist and a specialist physician in occupational and environmental medicine and public health medicine. He is a Professor in epidemiology and occupational medicine in the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney and is Director of the Master of Public Health. His main areas of research and professional interest are the burden of occupational disease and injury; occupational cancer and exposure to occupational carcinogens, particularly asbestos; occupational fatal injury; increasing the practical application and influence of epidemiological principles and findings; and improving the communication of epidemiological principles and findings to the general public. He leads the Occupational risk factors expert working group in the Global Burden of Disease study. Professor Driscoll has published more than 170 research papers in refereed journals and is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Epidemiology and the Journal of Occupational Safety and Health. He is Chair of the Scientific Committee on Occupational Medicine of the International Commission on Occupational Health and served for 8 years as chair of the Education Committee of the Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine of the RACP.

Photo of Amanda Ianna

Amanda Ianna GradCertChangeMgt, AGSM

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

Ms Ianna has extensive experience in the field of civil registration, organisational change and leadership. She is currently the 17th Registrar (since 1856) at the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages which she commenced in 2014; 1 of only 2 women to hold this position. In her role, Ms Ianna has championed the registry’s drive towards quality standards accreditation, building online solutions for the registry’s customers and developing community outreach programs, especially with the homeless and Indigenous communities throughout New South Wales. She is passionate about her staff, customers and keeping records safe for the people of New South Wales. Ms Ianna has been in the public service sector for 31 years and has been in a number of leadership roles over this time.

Photo of Nicholas White

Nicholas White BA (Hons), GradDipEd, PhD

Person who is a minister of religion
Term: 12 December 2017–11 December 2020

The Reverend Dr White is a social anthropologist and Anglican priest, currently Vicar of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Kew East, Melbourne. Before ordination in 2013, Dr White held social policy roles in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department for Victorian Communities and, most recently, as executive officer, Social Planning and Development with the Yarra Ranges Shire Council. His PhD at the University of Melbourne addressed the negotiation of nationhood and social identity in multi-ethnic Germany and was based on field research sponsored by the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies of the University of Osnabrück. Dr White is currently on the board of the Christian Research Association and has served on the Council of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

Photo of Maryjane Crabtree

Maryjane Crabtree BA/LLB, GAICD

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

Ms Crabtree was a partner of Allens Linklaters, until her retirement in 2016. Ms Crabtree has had previous experience on a human research ethics committee and is currently the President of the Epworth HealthCare Board of Management and Deputy Chair of the Racing Analytical Services Board. Her expertise has been built on her experience in running a large national professional services organisation as well as practising in many fields, including occupational health and safety, environment, product liability and sports law. Ms Crabtree is also involved in not-for-profit organisations in the areas of health, education and sport. She is currently a member of Chief Executive Women, the Victorian Legal Admissions Board, the Law Institute of Victoria Council, the Board of Ormond College, the Coronial Council of Victoria and the Board of Racing 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 2 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 was a board member of Northside Community Services in Canberra for 14 years and is a company member and past board chair of the National Folk Festival.

Photo of Margaret Reynolds

Margaret Reynolds BA, Dip Special Ed

Female representing general community attitudes
Terms: 17 August 2011–16 August 2014; 17 August 2014–16 August 2017; 17 August 2017–16 August 2020

The Hon Margaret Reynolds has a career in education and social issues public policy. As a Queensland senator, she served as minister for local government and the status of women. She spent 20 years in local and national government working with community organisations to develop new programs that offered greater equality for a range of marginalised groups. As CEO of National Disability Services in Tasmania, she was instrumental in responding to deinstitutionalisation and working to develop the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Ms Reynolds has worked closely with international human rights organisations and was an inaugural member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. Ms Reynolds now lives in Richmond, Tasmania, and is currently writing a book about women in politics.

Work of the committee

The AIHW Ethics Committee increased its number of meetings to 5 in 2017–18 compared with 4 in previous years. This increase has enabled the committee to better manage its increasing workload and to ensure that the approvals timetable does not act as a barrier to timely conduct of important research. The committee provided approvals regarding the ethical acceptability of 244 new or modified projects and data collections in 2017–18 increasing from 205 in 2016–17.

New project applications

In 2017–18, the committee considered 76 new project applications compared with 62 in the previous year. Of these, 63 were approved and 1 was withdrawn. A decision was pending in relation to 12 applications as at 30 June 2018 (Table 4.1).

Most (50) 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 Monash University, the University of Adelaide, the University of New South Wales, Griffith University and other major Australian universities. The committee also received applications from research organisations such as the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and various government agencies, including the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Department of Health, the Western Australian Department of Health. The AIHW submitted 26 new applications.

The Committee has responded to the heightened sensitivity of some of the new and emerging data collections being managed by the Institute, including MBS/PBS, NIHSI AA and the forthcoming My Health Record (MHR) for Secondary Use, by sharpening its focus on the data governance arrangements within the Institute and the related assurance mechanisms.

There were 33 applications that 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 NACDC and hospitals data. There is an increasing number of researchers requesting linkage to MBS and PBS data. Researchers may request access to more than 1 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, 2017–18
Research project Considered Approved Rejected/
Decision pending
Applications for approval
AIHW, including collaborating centres 26 26
External researchers 50 37 1 12
Subtotal 76 63 12
Applications for modification or extension
AIHW, including collaborating centres 8 8
External researchers 173 172 1
Subtotal 181 180 1
Total 256 243 1 12
Monitoring projects

The committee monitors approved projects to their completion, and considers requests for modifications to previously approved projects. Researchers submitted 384 annual monitoring reports during 2017–18.

Requests for modification or extension

In all, 181 requests for amendment were considered during the year (Table 4.1). Approximately 70% (128) were requests for an extension of time and/or proposed research staff changes.

Finalised projects

To ensure that research outcomes are freely available, the committee requires public dissemination of the results of approved projects. In 2017–18, the AIHW received 8 final project reports accompanied by associated research results, most of which were published in peer-reviewed journals or other publicly available reports. There are some limited exceptions where results are not released into the public domain: an example is when data are provided to a government department to enable it to create a model for internal use. In this situation, it is expected that any learnings are shared among other interested government agencies.

Organisational structure

The AIHW organisational structure comprises 8 groups. Information about the responsibilities of those groups during 2017–18 follows. Figure 4.2 shows the unit structure within each group as at 30 June 2018.

With an increasing focus on appropriate management of data and privacy, from 1 July 2018, the AIHW will introduce a new internal structure, with the establishment of a new Data Governance Group. This group will house a new unit: My Health Record Secondary Use Governance, focusing on the work we will be doing as data custodians for the My Health Record secondary use of data.

In recognising the volume of work related to primary health care and digital health, 2 new units will be established: Primary Health Care Data—to lead our work in establishing a national primary health-care data asset; and My Health Record Secondary Use Data Management—to focus on technical work with the My Health Record secondary use of data.

A second data linkage unit will also be created in order to enhance the AIHW’s capability to meet the growing demand for data-linking services.

Figure 4.2: AIHW Organisational chart, 30 June 2018

Figure 4.2 shows the organisational chart for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, as of 30 June 2018

Business and Governance Group

Providing leadership through corporate services

This group provides services and advice to enable optimal use of the Institute’s financial and human resources to achieve business objectives. More specifically, the group is responsible for:

  • 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 governance, management and release arrangements, ethics, privacy, development and negotiation of external agreements, the strategic management of internal and external relationships critical to our role, and the preparation of key corporate planning and reporting documents
  • pricing and contract advice, business analysis and preparation of financial statements (see Appendix 6)
  • 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 2017–18)
  • business improvement and project management support, including advice on planning, risk management and delivery of projects.

Communications and Primary Health Care Group

Delivering communications

This group is responsible for leading the Institute’s strategic external communications, including stakeholder engagement, and print and online services. The group produces the AIHW’s biennial flagship series, Australia’s welfare and Australia’s health. It has also recently established a work program to enhance the Institute’s capabilities in digital health and, for part of the year also conducted geospatial analysis and data visualisation, including for the purposes of independent and transparent monitoring and performance reporting on local health-care organisations.

Community Services Group

Developing person-centred data about the health and welfare of key populations

This group develops, maintains and analyses national data to support monitoring and reporting of:

  • 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
  • victims and perpetrators of family, domestic and sexual violence through the establishment of a new Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Data Clearinghouse.

The group has also recently established a program of work using income support (Centrelink) data to better understand experiences and outcomes for key population groups.

Data Strategies and Information Technology Group

Enabling richer research and supporting data security

This group works with Australian Government agencies, state and territory governments and other key stakeholders to promote access to health and welfare data for policy, research and community information. The group aims to increase the information value of existing data collections through data integration (linkage) work and data-sharing arrangements—for the AIHW and external researchers— that support innovative analyses. Examples of work supported in this way include patient and client pathways analysis and movements of people between health and welfare services.

The group also:

  • identifies, develops and promotes business process innovations, computing and communications infrastructure and technological leadership in support of our strategic directions
  • supports our ICT requirements.

‘Data security’ describes activities and achievements in 2017–18 in relation to the group’s corporate data security functions.

Health Group

Revealing the health of Australians

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

  • chronic diseases, both as a group and in relation to some key diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, musculoskeletal conditions and respiratory conditions. This disease monitoring work covers their level, impact, risk factors, prevention, treatment and outcomes
  • population health issues, such as health inequalities, broader determinants such as social and environmental, international health comparisons, mortality and burden of disease
  • specific population groups, such as veterans and people living in rural areas.

Hospitals, Resourcing and Classifications Group

Detailing the health-care system

This group develops data and information infrastructure, compiles the national hospital and health expenditure databases, undertakes analyses and disseminates policy-relevant statistical information about hospitals, resources in the health and welfare sectors, and health sector performance. Australian hospital statistics reports and MyHospitals website information are major products, as are health expenditure reports.

The group also has responsibility for the coordination of Australia’s international health classification work and manages the AIHW’s relationship with the National Injury Surveillance Unit, which is the AIHW’s collaborating centre.

Housing and Specialised Services Group

Providing statistics on a range of vulnerable groups

This 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.

The group is responsible for the administration, data analysis and reporting of 2 national surveys:

  • the National Drug Strategy Household Survey—a large triennial 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 NSHS—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 Maternal Health Group

Monitoring the next generation's wellbeing and delivering better evidence on Indigenous people and services they use

This group leads the development, monitoring and reporting of information and statistics in 2 main areas: the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and maternal and perinatal health.

The work of this group includes:

  • analysing and reporting on performance measures based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework, at the national and jurisdictional levels, in collaboration with the Department of the PM&C and states and territories
  • working with Indigenous primary health-care services and other service providers to improve the quality and usefulness of their data in order to support better outcomes for their clients
  • modelling geographical variation in access to services relative to need with a particular focus on identifying areas where Indigenous Australians experience service gaps
  • analysing and reporting on national data about pregnancy and childbirth of mothers, and the characteristics and outcomes of their babies.


The AIHW Director Mr Barry Sandison manages the day-to-day affairs of the Institute. Mr Sandison is supported by Deputy Director and Senior Executive, Mr Matthew James who, together with 7 senior executives, comprise the AIHW Executive Committee. During the year, the committee met regularly to consider policy, financial and other corporate matters.

During 2017–18, 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 follows about the AIHW’s senior executive team as at 30 June 2018.

Deputy Director and Senior Executive, Housing and Specialised Services Group

Photo of Matthew James PSM

Matthew James PSM BEc (Hons)

Matthew James is the Deputy Director of the Institute. He is also responsible for this group, which leads the Institute’s data development and reporting on housing and homelessness, mental health, palliative care and drugs and alcohol. Before joining the Institute in November 2016, he held leadership roles in performance, information and evaluation as assistant secretary, Indigenous Affairs Group in PM&C, and as a branch manager within FaHCSIA. Mr James was also a branch manager in the former Department of Education, Employment and Training, where he worked on employment policy and implementation as well as workplace relations policy and analysis. From 2002 to 2004, he was counsellor—Employment, Education, Science and Training in the Australian Delegation to the OECD in Paris. Mr James was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2016.

Senior Executive, Business and Governance Group

Photo of Andrew Kettle

Andrew Kettle MA (Hons), CA

Mr Kettle has held a senior executive position since starting at the AIHW in 2006. He is responsible for leading the management of the Institute’s finances, human resources, governance, business improvement services 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 for 6 months in 2015–16.

Senior Executive, Data Strategies and Information Technology Group

Photo of Geoff Neideck

Geoff Neideck BBusStud, GradCertMgt

Mr Neideck has been managing the AIHW’s Data Strategies and Information Technology Group since December 2015. Prior to that, he headed the former Housing and Specialist Services Group. Before joining the AIHW, Mr Neideck 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 Group

Photo of Louise York

Louise York BEc, BSc, GradDipPopHealth

Ms York has led the Community Services Group since January 2017. She has over 20 years’ experience at the AIHW, including leadership positions in both health and welfare areas, and 1 year at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

Senior Executive, Health Group

Photo of Lynelle Moon

Lynelle Moon BMath, GradDipStat, GradDipPopHealth, PhD

Dr Moon is responsible for the Health Group which reports and collects data on the health of Australians, including population health, disease monitoring and primary health care. Dr Moon has held a number of health leadership positions in the AIHW since 1995, particularly in relation to specific chronic diseases and the burden of disease, and spent 2 years working in the Health Division of the OECD in Paris.

Senior Executive, Communications and Primary Health Care Group

Photo of Michael Frost

Michael Frost BEc (Soc Sc) (Hons), GradDipPublicAdmin

Mr Frost transferred to the AIHW in April 2016 from his 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), GradDipPopHealth

Ms Hargreaves has served on the AIHW senior executive team since 2006, when she was appointed to head 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 expenditure, health sector performance indicators and health classifications.

Senior Executive, Indigenous and Maternal Health Group

Photo of Fadwa Al-Yaman PSM

Fadwa Al-Yaman PSM BSc, MA, PhD

Dr Al-Yaman has wide-ranging experience in statistical analyses and reporting, demographic techniques, data development, data quality assessment and improvement activities, and in building collaborative stakeholder relationships. She has a strong research background in health, and a keen interest in knowledge translation and the link between research, policy and practice. She holds a PhD in Immunology from the John Curtin School of Medical Research and a Masters of Population Studies from the ANU. Dr Al-Yaman was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1990 and the Australian Public Service Medal in 2008.

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, state and territory governments, 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.

With the exception of work that is required to be put out to competitive tender by the Department of Health, our work for the department is guided by a formal deed between the 2 organisations. The department provides funding for significant additional projects beyond work funded through appropriation. The AIHW Act stipulates that the Secretary of the Department of Health (or their nominee) is a member of the AIHW Board.

The AIHW provides the department with copies of all AIHW publications in advance of public release.

Department of Social Services

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

The AIHW is data custodian of the department’s Australian Government Housing Data Set and is a member of a panel of experts established to support organisations funded under the DSS’s Families and Children Activity. The AIHW acts as a release point for DSS’s researchable Centrelink data asset (DOMINO) and the agencies have established a collaborative work arrangement to support enhanced use of income support data for understanding population health and welfare outcomes.

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

Other Australian Government bodies

New collaborations with other Australian Government agencies were formed in 2017–18.

Australian Digital Health Agency

The AIHW and the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) are working closely on the implementation of a framework to guide the secondary use of My Health Record (MHR) system data, under which the function of data custodian for public health and research purposes will be undertaken by the AIHW. An implementation period commencing from July 2018 has been agreed to allow a deliberate, systematic and inclusive implementation process to ensure the quality of the data obtained from the MHR system is fit for public health and research purposes. An implementation plan is being developed with the aim of establishing the framework’s governance and other arrangements to enable access to the MHR data to commence in 2020.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

The AIHW and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, in conjunction with state and territory teacher registration authorities, are collaborating in the creation, ongoing operations and maintenance of the Australian Teacher Workforce Data Set. Establishment of this data collection, and the linkage of data between the various data sources, will enable research to be conducted into the demographic and educational background of teachers, the geographical distribution of teachers, and their experiences as teachers.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

The AIHW and the department 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. In 2017–18, new work began under an existing MoU to further strengthen and formally extend this strategic partnership to 30 June 2021. The overarching aim of the partnership is to develop a comprehensive profile of the health and welfare of Australia’s veteran population, and to facilitate a coordinated, whole-of-population approach to monitoring and reporting on the current status and future needs of veterans and their families, in support of the department’s strategic, research and data needs.

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia and the AIHW have a mutual interest (in consultation with other partner organisations and stakeholders) in compiling a national data set of mesothelioma cases and documenting information about asbestos exposure via the AMR. These accessible and credible data are integral to inform research, operational activities, development of policy and programs, and raise public awareness of asbestos exposure in Australia. The AIHW started managing the AMR (funded by Safe Work Australia) in July 2017 and this work will continue until August 2021.

Ongoing collaborations in 2017–18

During 2017–18, we continued to work with many other Australian Government agencies in developing, collecting, compiling, analysing, managing and disseminating health and welfare data and information. Some of these agencies included:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Cancer Australia
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Independent Hospital Pricing Authority
  • National Health Funding Body
  • National Mental Health Commission.

State and territory governments

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

During 2017–18, we continued to engage with jurisdictions through 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 the COAG.

The AIHW established 2 new committees in 2017–18. Both the following committees comprise all states and territories, the Department of Health, and other key agencies and stakeholders:

  • The Strategic Committee for National Health Information (SCNHI) provides strategic advice in relation to our national health information work, including overall priorities, and the AIHW’s health sector performance reporting. The SCNHI will also provide advice to support our engagement with the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC).
  • The National Health Data and Information Standards Committee provides advice in relation to its work in developing and maintaining national health data and information standards and related national health information infrastructure.

While these committees report directly to the AIHW, relationships will also be established with the Health Services Principal Committee (HSPC)—the new committee established under the AHMAC to advise on health services reform requiring national collaboration. The HSPC also comprises all states and territories, along with the AIHW and the ADHA.

The AIHW and numerous government entities from all 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.

Collaborating centre

During 2017–18, the AIHW continued the collaborating centre arrangements with the National Injury Surveillance Unit at Flinders University. The unit develops, analyses and reports national statistical information about injury and contributes to the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 11th Revision (ICD-11).

Other collaborations and partnerships

During 2017–18, we maintained and strengthened our engagement with the following allied organisations, including peak bodies and other national forums, to help satisfy their needs for information to assist policy development and program delivery. Examples of these collaborations are:

  • 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.

International collaborations

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

During 2017–18, the AIHW and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) continued to work together under an MoU to facilitate the temporary exchange of staff between the organisations. In addition, staff from both agencies are currently working on a joint project to create parallel reports on opioid-related harm, using similar definitions and data sources where possible. Opioid-related harm has been shown to be a major health concern in other countries and, increasingly, in Australia. Early results from the collaboration were presented at the Vancouver meeting of international health information organisations in April 2018. The final report from each country will be published in late 2018.

Financial management

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

  • AIHW Act
  • PGPA Act
  • Auditor-General Act 1997.

Our internal operations are funded by:

  • 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, business improvement services, communications and ICT services.

Our externally funded project work is undertaken by the AIHW’s statistical groups for external agencies. The fees charged for each project are 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 pricing template is updated each year. Expenditure incurred in each project is accounted for separately and monitored monthly.

Purchase contracts

For purchase contracts with suppliers, we use, wherever possible, template contracts prepared by legal advisers. These template contracts aim to manage risks and ensure value for money through provisions, 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 typically 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 (PGPA Rule) to comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which establish requirements for Australian Government entities regarding their procurement activities. The procurement rules are available at Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

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 2017–18.

Revenue contracts

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

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

Contract approval

Purchase and revenue contracts, involving receipt or payment of amounts over $3 million, must be approved by the Minister for Health.

Any contract over $200,000 must be approved by the AIHW Director.

Risk oversight and management

Effective risk management is integral to the AIHW’s business operations. During the year, the AIHW Board engaged a risk management specialist to facilitate a workshop on risk management, which was held in May 2018. The discussion identified several strategic risks and the need to review and update the AIHW’s Charter of Corporate Governance and Risk Management Framework. Work on the latter is continuing with the expectation that the Board will approve a new framework before the end of 2018.

The AIHW Fraud Control Plan 2017–19 adopts 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 2017–18, the internal auditors, Protiviti, completed 2 internal audits (see ‘Audit and Finance Committee’).

Data governance

Our Data Governance Framework 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 the 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.

The framework and a short overview document, Data governance—in-brief, are available at Data governance.

Our Data Governance Committee establishes an annual work plan of data governance activities, makes operational decisions, and provides advice and recommendations to the AIHW Executive Committee on data governance matters. In 2017–18, the Data Governance Committee met 5 times, convened 3 data custodian forums to discuss matters of interest and issues affecting AIHW data custodians, and reported regularly to the AIHW Executive Committee on the delivery and/or progress on a range of projects in its work plan. These included:

  • reviewing the AIHW’s internal guideline on the custody of data
  • publishing enhanced information about the AIHW’s data holdings on the redeveloped AIHW website
  • advising data custodians
  • assessing the first 6 months of operation of a checklist for data custodians designed to provide greater guidance on key responsibilities and the documentary evidence required for data audits
  • enhancing the AIHW’s internal data catalogue and creating an information sheet for internal data users.

Data security

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

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

  • reviewing compliance with the Australian Signals Directorate mandatory top 4 security requirements and Essential Eight mitigation strategies
  • refreshing the internet and mail gateway security environment.

The AIHW’s data holdings continue to grow and we have expanded our range of products and services. At all stages of data handling involving transfer, management, and release, the AIHW has appropriate governance and security policies and practices.

Protecting privacy

The AIHW protects the privacy of the information it holds under a comprehensive set of data governance arrangements involving designated data custodians, the AIHW Ethics Committee, audit activities and physical and IT security. These multiple layers of defence ensure that data are accessed only by authorised personnel for appropriate purposes in a secure environment.

Visit Privacy policy 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.

Freedom of information

Infographic of FOI Disclosure Log

In accordance with section 11C of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), the AIHW is required to publish information that has been released in response to a freedom of information access request. The AIHW is not required to publish:

  • personal information about any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • other information, covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner, if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above points.

In 2017–18, the AIHW received only 1 request made under the FOI Act. The AIHW responded to this request within the statutory timeframe.

Information Publication Scheme

Infographic of Information Publication Scheme

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.

The required information is published at Information publication scheme.


Freedom of information requests and enquiries 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].