The Office of the Secretary provides an interface between the Minister, the Department and other areas of the Minister's portfolio of responsibilities. The Division provides high-level support and advice in the areas of infrastructure, regulations and business management arising from the Minister's diverse and complex portfolio.
The Office of the Secretary is responsible for the coordination of activities, provision of support and Ministerial liaison for the two broad arms of the Agency - physical infrastructure and regulatory infrastructure - and incorporates Communications and Marketing and Ministerial Liaison.
The Office of the Secretary comprises the Secretary, Deputy Secretary (Regulation), Deputy Secretary (Infrastructure), Executive Manager, Ministerial Liaison Unit, and the Communications and Marketing Branch.
The Deputy Secretaries assist the Secretary with the operation of regulatory and infrastructure policy responsibilities of the Department to meet government objectives.
The regulatory arm consists of the Racing Services Tasmania, Workplace Standards Tasmania and Land Transport Safety Divisions and provides support to the Forest Practices Board. The Infrastructure Group comprises the Infrastructure Policy, Roads and Public Transport and Mineral Resources Tasmania Divisions with support responsibilities for Private Forests Tasmania.
The Office of the Secretary also performs a number of corporate activities. The Ministerial Liaison Unit is the interface between the Minister, the Minister's Office, the Secretary and the Department and also, for some functions, for Government Business Enterprises and State-owned Companies under the portfolio responsibility of the Minister.
The activities of the Communications and Marketing Branch are impacted on by the outputs of departmental divisions, the needs of the Minister's office, the requirements of the Government Media Office, newsworthy events and internal departmental communication needs.
The Communications and Marketing Branch produces a weekly electronic newsletter for all staff (DIER Log), a regular magazine (DIER Straits) and maintains the Department's website (www.dier.tas.gov.au).
As the primary interface between the Minister, Department and the media, the major stakeholders for the Office of the Secretary are the Minister, staff of the Minister's Office, departmental staff, GBEs and SOCs staff, media and the community in general.
Provision of services
The services are provided by departmental staff.
Achievements Against Strategies Identified For 2001-02
Through coordination of ministerial advice and information, coupled with a staff communication strategy, the Department has made substantial progress towards achieving consistency among the Department's diverse structural elements.
Other Achievements In 2001-02
The Office of the Secretary has undergone a review of some of its processes and from this it has:
been involved in developing the Corporate Plan;
improved reporting on Whole of Agency issues;
developed a co-ordinated approach to major projects; and
developed a co-ordinated Whole of Agency legislative program.
Ministerial Liaison Unit
The ministerial administration and tracking system, which ensures an efficient, uniform and effective process for all ministerial correspondence, continued to be enhanced during 2001-02. Improvements were also made to the electronic routing system for ministerial requests by coordinating other ministerial and departmental processes and procedures through the system.
The Ministerial Liaison Unit deals with around 2500 ministerial-related documents each financial year. In order to ensure the most efficient and effective communication between DIER and the Minister's Office, during 2001-02 the Ministerial Liaison Unit reviewed some of its functions.
As part of this review, an assessment was made of existing processes for dealing with written communication between the Department and the Minister's Office. A project entitled "Communication and Liaison between the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources and the Minister's Office" was initiated.
A project team formulated a questionnaire and all departmental staff were given the opportunity to provide feedback to the Ministerial Liaison Unit on processes, procedures and related issues.
A Report recommended the preparation of a comprehensive Ministerial Handbook, Intranet access to style sheets or templates for ministerial communication, training for staff on the ministerial communication processes and how to write ministerial documents, and the provision of a quality reporting system.
The recommendations will be addressed by the Ministerial Liaison Unit during the early part of 2002-03.
Infrastructure and Resource Information Service (IRIS)
The Department continued development of the Infrastructure and Resource Information Service (IRIS). This provides access from a single website to integrated information required for infrastructure planning and investment to support the economic development of Tasmania. The service currently provides:
a targeted web portal;
attractor or general information about Tasmania's infrastructure and investment opportunities;
meta data on available sources of information.
When development is complete in December 2002, IRIS will also provide:
detailed, spatially referenced data on infrastructure items; plus
structured information on Tasmania's investment and approval processes.
IRIS is being implemented as a series of major releases. During 2001-02 there were three major releases:
Release 1 (24 July 2001) provided system installation, initial technology and application frameworks for web data;
Release 2 (30 November 2001) provided more web data, metadata, metadata repository, additional applications, revision and extension of technical frameworks;
Release 3 (7 June 2002) provided integration of attractor web site, more web data and metadata, integration of recommended user enhancements, additional applications and revision, refinement and extension of technology framework.
Land Infrastructure Information Systems
During 2002 DIER and the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment recognised that the Land Information System Tasmania (the LIST), Tasmanian Information on Geoscientific and Exploration Resources (TIGER), Road Information Management System (RIMS), Infrastructure and Resource Information Service (IRIS) had become interdependent on one another. These systems/services were either in production or coming to the end of their initial development phase; they lacked recurrent ongoing funding; and there needed to be an allocation for ongoing maintenance and development.
A successful joint submission was put forward for recurrent funding for 2002-03. The submission identified a range of synergies, including data handling, data storage, research and development, usage of open standards, common system architecture, and management of human resources. These identified synergies are being further explored and actions undertaken during 2002-03 to obtain efficiencies and cost savings.
Communications and Marketing
The Communications and Marketing Branch ensures the effective management of DIER's external and internal communication. It undertakes this role in all areas of DIER with the exception of the work and activities of the WorkCover Tasmania Board, the Private Forests Board and the Road Safety Task Force.
Its broad aims are:
To provide information to the public and its own employees about DIER policies, programs and services that is accurate, complete, objective, timely, relevant and understandable.
To take into account the concerns and views of the public and DIER employees in establishing priorities, developing policies and implementing projects.
To ensure that DIER projects a positive and professional public image, and is visible, accessible and answerable to the Minister, the Government and the public that it serves.
To provide information through a range of communication tools and to manage those tools effectively.
To ensure that communication is an integral component of the management process of DIER and that communication plans are implemented for each major project or initiative.
The Communications and Marketing Branch played a key role in the provision of advice and documentation on a number of communication strategies for major projects. These included the development of attenuation zones for the new natural gas pipeline; the Southwood transport planning study in Ranelagh and Judbury; the new Sorell Causeway bridge; the introduction of a 50 km/h urban speed limit on non-arterial roads; mandatory loss of licence for excessive speed; and the introduction of licence changes for novice drivers.
The Branch also played a significant role in a number of other activities, including the implementation of The Will and the Way, media liaison for the Department at the Coroner's hearing on the Cradle Mountain bus accident and the co-ordination of the biennial Infrastructure Conference.
The Communications and Marketing Branch continues to promote the use of the intranet as the primary internal communication tool and the principal channel for corporate information. DIER Log, an electronic newsletter, is provided weekly to staff in all regions. Distributed every four months is a hard copy newsletter, DIER Straits, highlighting departmental activities and achievements.
The production of a comprehensive style manual for the Department was completed this year. The manual is a useful guide for anyone producing written material in the Department and provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide to best practice. It also details commonly made mistakes and areas of confusion in the use of English.
User-friendly transport website
Work has continued on the development of a user-friendly transport website with input sought from both local and international end users. Substantial work has also been undertaken on getting real-time traffic management information on line. This will be further progressed in the next financial year with the migration of existing content onto the new site already under way.
Local Government Partnerships
The Office of the Secretary is responsible for the coordination of Local Government Partnerships as they apply to the Agency. By the end of 2001-02 the Agency was actively involved in the implementation of eight Local Government Partnerships. Further Partnerships are to be negotiated in the next financial year. Some of the achievements resulting from these Partnerships are:
Continuation of the Regional Integrated Transport Plan under the Northern Tasmania Municipal Organisation Regional Partnership in the north-east of Tasmania;
Initiation of the Integrated Transport Plan under the Cradle-Coast Authority Partnership Agreement;
Upgrading of the Black River and Detention River Bridges in the Circular Head Region;
The start of an extensive study project to assess and provide solutions to parking, traffic and port access issues for Sullivans Cove - a prime tourist attraction for Hobart;
A joint undertaking between DIER and the Hobart City Council to monitor and evaluate road and safety programs that use best practice engineering, education and enforcement measures, which target vulnerable road users and key problems;
Establishment of a process for exchange of information on road improvement projects in the Derwent Valley, following the completion of a Transport Planning Study for the area; and
Development and improvement of the Tourism Visitor Information System (TVIS) through collaboration with Councils, State Government Agencies and Tourism Tasmania and other relevant organisations, to help provide new and/or replacement of directional and guide signs across the State.
The Department is working in conjunction with other State Government Agencies, the Tasmania Together Progress Board and community organisations to implement the goals of Tasmania Together.
The Department is involved in 20 of the Tasmania Together benchmarks and is coordinating seven of these benchmarks on behalf of the Government.
One of the key goals in which the Department is involved is having a community where people feel safe and are safe in all aspects of their lives. The road safety strategy will contribute to the achievement of this goal. All other benchmarks are progressing.