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The GRDC places high value on continuously improving the organisation's corporate governance. Key advances in this area during 2005-06 included:
- detailed review of most polices and procedures
- the design and implementation of new approval authorities
- monthly reviews of business and fraud risks
- an external review of business and fraud risks.
In continuously improving the GRDC's corporate governance, the corporation is guided by the Australian National Audit Office's Better Practice Guide: Public Sector Governance.
The GRDC Operating Manual, which is available to the Board and all staff members, describes the corporation's:
- policies and procedures
- roles and responsibilities (including those of the Board and board committees)
- Code of Business Conduct and Ethical Behaviour
- approval authority schedule, which includes delegations
- general guidelines
- management manual.
Risk management has been embraced throughout the GRDC as a tool to assess risks at the strategic, operational and project levels.
The GRDC prepares a quarterly Business Environment Report to the Board. This report is used to update the GRDC's situation analysis and identify developing risks.
The Executive Management Team, in consultation with managers, updates the Business Risk Assessment Report and the Fraud Control Action Plan each month. The Board reviews these documents at each meeting.
Acumen Alliance, the GRDC's internal auditors, conducted a business risk assessment of the GRDC, and prepared a fraud control plan, in the first half of 2006. The outcomes are being progressively included in the GRDC's Business Risk Assessment Report and Fraud Control Action Plan, and communicated through staff training.
The GRDC's Quality Management System has ISO 9001:2000 quality assurance accreditation from SGS International Certification Services Pty Ltd. In 2006-07, the GRDC will seek to make greater use of quality assurance as a tool for continuous improvement.
In 2005-06, successful monthly internal audits were conducted by a contracted certified auditor. The GRDC also had a very successful triennial external surveillance audit conducted by SGS International Certification Services Pty Ltd.
These audits demonstrate that the quality management system, based on ISO 9001:2000, is robust, is being used correctly and is a useful tool for business improvement.
GRDC officers, including members of the Board, are insured by the GRDC against various liabilities that they may incur in their capacity as officers of the corporation. Since 31 January 1999, Comcover, the Australian Government's self-managed fund for insurance risks, has provided the necessary insurance cover. The Comcover insurance contract prohibits the GRDC from disclosing the nature or limit of the liabilities covered or the amount of premiums payable.
The GRDC is required to report annually on its performance in relation to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and other environmental matters discussed in section 516A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The principles of ecologically sustainable development have been incorporated into the decision-making systems and processes of the GRDC, as required under the EPBC Act. The corporation has in place paper-recycling arrangements and, where operationally viable, purchases energy-efficient equipment. Energy-efficient practices are encouraged within the corporation's premises, to reduce energy consumption wherever possible.
At the strategic level, Driving Innovation articulates the GRDC's vision for an Australian grains industry that is both profitable and environmentally sustainable. The GRDC strategic business plan, The Way Forward, outlines how the GRDC is implementing that vision. The corporation aims to balance its investments to provide long-term and short-term economic environmental benefits for its stakeholders. Part 2 of this annual report includes a discussion of how GRDC investments helped to achieve environmental objectives in 2005-06.
The GRDC's annual Personal Information Digest entry as at 30 June 2006 has been lodged with the Privacy Commissioner. The online digest may be viewed at the Commissioner's website, www.privacy.gov.au.
The GRDC is required to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
One request under the FOI Act was received during 2005-06.
Enquiries about access to documents and other matters relating to freedom of information should be directed during normal working hours to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Grains Research and Development Corporation
PO Box 5367
KINGSTON ACT 2604
Telephone: 02 6272 5525
Facsimile: 02 6271 6430
The GRDC provides a wide range of publications for government and grower stakeholders as well as the wider community. The GRDC Service Charter, available through www.grdc.com.au, outlines the corporation's commitment to delivering these important resources.