Australian Customs Service
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Sustainability

In recognition of increased government focus on sustainability, this report provides additional information on the environmental, social and economic impact of its activities. Customs has chosen indicators from the Global Reporting Initiative that are relevant to Customs and for which data is available. In the year ahead, Customs will seek to improve its focus on sustainability to better reflect the social, economic and environmental impact of our activities.

This section incorporates mandatory reporting requirements under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and voluntary reporting on social justice and equity.

Customs has always endeavoured to meet principles of ecologically sustainable development and social justice and equity in policy development and operational activity. Risk management is applied at planning and project levels and includes assessment of environmental, geographic, social, commercial and trading relationships that may impact on corporate performance. Established reporting and review processes ensure that the risks are assessed regularly, and that systems and processes support continuous improvement.

Customs Corporate Plan commits the organisation to being responsive and accountable to Parliament, community and industry. This year, Customs Corporate Priorities include a focus on protecting Australia’s health and safety by working cooperatively with partner agencies involved in issues associated with:

These priorities also include international capacity building initiatives that support Australia’s interests, and the need to contribute to national and international efforts to achieve secure trade.

Customs officers on remote area patrol in the Pilbara.

Customs officers on remote area patrol in the Pilbara.

Customs teams – making a difference in remote areas

While Customs work in protecting borders at international air and seaports is well known, a significant amount of lesser known work is undertaken by Customs district offices in remote areas of Australia. 

An example is the patrols undertaken from district offices in Western Australia where Customs officers gather information and inform the public on how to detect and report illegal activity. The range of threats in these isolated areas includes smuggling of native flora and fauna, narcotics smuggling and illegal entrants. To ensure exchange of information with a wide range of groups, Customs regularly visits local businesses, remote communities, park rangers, schools and state and federal government agencies. It asks them to provide information on unusual activity in their area —such as suspicious aircraft or sea craft activity, hidden camp sites or fuel dumps, unusual objects at sea or ashore or evidence of interference with flora and fauna — that may indicate illegal activity.

Although the primary purpose of the patrols is to detect and deter illegal activity, Customs recognises that in visiting remote areas they can assist communities by bringing fresh provisions, reporting damaged fences and injured stock to property owners. Sometimes they assist at the scene of motor accidents and breakdowns or help with rescues where people have become lost, ill or injured in remote locations. Customs officers provide information to remote communities on employment with Customs and other Customs related matters.

Many patrols are undertaken in ecologically sensitive areas, and Customs takes precautions to ensure that any negative environmental impacts are minimised. Where possible, teams stay on existing tracks, avoid fragile dune areas, avoid damage to plants and wildlife habitats, observe fire restrictions and remove their waste and rubbish. Contact is maintained with conservation agencies to ensure that quarantine and restricted areas are avoided.

Environmental impact

Customs Environmental Policy Statement commits to continuously improving environmental performance in its activities. Customs monitors activities, including the management of energy, water and waste products, the vehicle fleet and purchasing.

Customs Environmental Management System provides a framework for considering and minimising environmental impacts in the workplace.

Customs reduced energy consumption in its offices by almost three per cent in 2002–03 to 2003–045. Electricity and gas consumption for services common to all tenants in office buildings such as air conditioning, lifts, security lights, lobby lights and domestic hot water were also reduced (See indicator EN3).

Direct energy use in non-office locations increased by 36 per cent. This reflects the establishment of additional Container Examination Facilities in the year, with significant increases in the volume of containers scanned.

Between 1997–98 to 2003–045, Customs reduced its energy usage in office accommodation by 16 per cent.

Posters and cards are displayed to remind staff of the importance of recycling, energy efficiency, computer monitor switch off programs, and reduced paper use in the office.

Other initiatives are:

Initiatives to decrease water consumption or increase water reuse include:

Customs did not conduct any energy audits in the past year but continued to implement cost effective energy audit recommendations from the previous year.

Customs worked cooperatively with other agencies to protect the Australian environment. Some activities and achievements this year include:

Kimberley Islands to conduct a census of breeding, shelter use and population of red-tail tropical birds; examine the effects of the 2004 tsunami on intertidal coral communities; and examine turtle nesting activity and collect DNA samples

Bernier and Dorre Island Nature Reserves to study and DNA test populations of the Boodie (Bettongia Lesueur), which is one of the most endangered Australian mammal species.

In February 2005, approximately 300 to 400 litres of diesel fuel was accidentally discharged into the harbour at Thursday Island while refuelling a National Marine Unit vessel. The incident was reported to State and Federal authorities, and investigations are continuing. Measures have been implemented to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Customs work in assisting environmental protection in previous years resulted in the following successful prosecution this year:

5 2004–05 figures were not available at the time of publication

Social impact

Customs meets a range of Commonwealth requirements led by APS Values and the APS Code of Conduct to ensure its actions are lawful and meet community expectations.

Customs, with 63 other Commonwealth agencies, was assessed in 2004 as meeting the performance indicators for implementation of the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society. Customs is committed to the principles of social justice and equity and endeavours to ensure that information and services are available to people from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the past year Customs:

Customs promotes equity and diversity in the workforce through the Workplace Diversity Policy and APS Values and Code of Conduct. Examples of workplace diversity initiatives in the past year include:

Customs complies with the Commonwealth Disability Strategy to ensure that services, information and policies are accessible by, and do not discriminate against, people with a disability (see Appendix E).

Customs is committed to providing a safe and healthy work place for the welfare of staff, contractors, clients and visitors through implementation of an occupational health and safety management system (see Appendix A).

Customs carried out a significant role in community protection through its responsibility in deterring and detecting unlawful movement of goods and people across the Australian border. Prohibited and restricted goods can cause environmental, social or economic harm. These include:

Customs continues to support Government priorities relating to counter-terrorism, security arrangements and protecting our borders. Customs developed a business continuity policy to plan for critical business functions to be open for business during or after an incident, even if at a reduced level of service, until normal operations can resume.

Customs participated in research, reporting and projects in relation to criminal activity, including illicit drug markets and their dynamics, in collaboration with research bodies and law enforcement agencies.

Where requested, Customs undertakes search and rescue operations.  Rescues carried out this financial year included:

Customs worked with Australian government agencies to undertake capacity building activities in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. These activities aim to improve the ability of Australia’s nearest neighbours to effectively manage their borders and reform and modernise Customs.

Economic impact

Customs undertakes a variety of activities on behalf of government that contribute to the economic performance of Australia. These include:

Global Reporting Initiative environmental indicators

The Global Reporting Initiative has more than 100 optional performance indicators for sustainability. Customs has chosen to report against 24 which are relevant and for which data is available. Those not reported against are listed at the end of this section.

EM1: Environmental Management System (EMS) Conformance

Customs conforms with its Environmental Management Policy by:

  • recycling toner cartridges and light tubes

  • using recycling bins for paper, aluminium and plastic

  • educating staff through signs in toilets, kitchens and at photocopiers to reinforce environmental friendly practices

  • adding clauses to cleaning and recycling contracts to require recycling

  • using recycled paper throughout Central Office. Customs is now trialling higher percentage recycled content paper.

 

EM2: Environmental performance improvement process

Customs measures performance against energy targets and energy audit requirements as required by the government.

The CEO committed Customs to both the Greenhouse Challenge and the Environmental Management Policy.

 

EM3: Integration of environment with other business management systems

Customs incorporates environmental factors into its highest-level planning documents, the Corporate Priorities and Corporate Strategic Risk Profile. These documents are integral in the planning and performance framework, and form the basis of planning at all other levels.

Building specifications and leases integrate some environmental aspects. Customs is requesting five per cent new green (renewable) energy in all new major contracts where the head lease is held by Customs. Life cycle costing is incorporated into procurement processes.

 

EM5: Environmental liabilities

Customs identified sites that have asbestos and other hazardous material. Occupational health and safety guidelines are in place for hazardous substances and managing the identified risks.

 

EN3: Direct energy use (tenant light and power)

     
 

2002–03

2003–04

2004–05^

Office – Tenant Light and Power

     

Electricity (kWh)

10 304 748

10 020 562

..

Total GJ

37 097

36 074

..

Occupancy (People)

3164

2948

..

Area (m2)

78 534

76 801

..

MJ/Occupancy (People)/annum

11 725

12 237

..

MJ/Area (m2)/annum

472

470

..

m2/person

24.82

26.05

..

Office – Central Services

     

Electricity (kWh)

1 856 427

1 849 212

..

Natural Gas (MJ)

9 138 475

8 886 073

..

Total GJ

15 822

15 543

..

Area (m2)

20 009

22 117

..

MJ/Area (m2)/annum

791

703

..

Other Buildings*

    ..

Electricity (kWh)

3 995 800

5 429 769

..

Total GJ

14 385

19 547

..

Area (m2)

66 797

81 198

..

MJ/Area (m2)/annum

215

241

..

* This increase is due to the Customs Container Examination Facilities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle becoming fully operational.

^ Figures were not available at the time of publication.

EN3: Direct energy use (transport)*

     
 

2002–03

2003–04

2004–05^

Passenger Vehicles

     

LPG (L)

2256

838

..

Automotive Diesel (L)

37 135

35 607

..

Petrol (L)

612 233

595 335

..

Total GJ

22 430

21 756

..

Distance Travelled (km)

6 217 853

5 547 908

..

MJ/Distance Travelled (km)/annum

3.61

3.92

..

Other Transport

     

Automotive Diesel (L)

2 795 958

3 660 243

..

Total GJ

107 924

141 285

..

Entity Totals

     

Total GJ

197 657

234 206

..

*These figures cover leased vehicles only. Owned vehicles, vessels and leased aircraft are not included.

^Figures were not available at the time of publication.

EN8: Greenhouse gas emissions

     
 

2002–03

2003–04

2004–05^

Office – Tenant Light And Power

     

CO2 /person/annum (tonnes)

4.70

4.90

..

CO2 /m2/annum (tonnes)

0.19

0.18

..

Total CO2 /annum (tonnes)

14

14 469.70

..

Office – Central Services

     

CO2 /person/annum (tonnes)

880.05

0.91

..

CO2 /m2/annum (tonnes)

0.85

0.12

..

Total CO2/annum (tonnes)

0.13

2670.26

..

Other Buildings

     

CO2 /m2/annum (tonnes)

0.08

0.09

..

Total CO2 /annum (tonnes)

5769.93

7840.58

..

Passenger Vehicles*

     

Total CO2 /annum (tonnes)—LPG

3.60

1.47

..

Total CO2 /annum (tonnes)—Diesel

112.09

107.48

..

Total CO2 /annum (tonnes)—Petrol

1700.17

1653.27

..

*These figures cover leased vehicles only. Owned vehicles, vessels and leased aircraft are not included.

^Figures were not available at the time of publication.

EN17: Initiatives to use renewable energy sources and increase energy efficiency

  • renewable energy sourced within electricity contracts

  • replace/modify lighting arrangements/fittings

  • introduction of flat screens will save a third of the current monitor energy costs

  • introduction of multi-function devices that combine printer, photocopier and facsimile functions into one unit resulting in energy savings.

Global Reporting Initiative social indicators

HR12: Description of policies, guidelines and procedures to address the needs of indigenous people. This includes indigenous people in the workforce and communities where the organisation operates or intends to operate

Customs works in partnership with the Australian Public Service Commission and several other Federal agencies to pilot the Indigenous Entry Level Recruitment Initiative. This initiative seeks to increase the number of indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders in the Commonwealth public sector.

Customs participates in the National Indigenous Cadetship Project. The National Indigenous Cadetship Project is aimed at improving the professional employment prospects of Australian indigenous and Torres Strait Island peoples.

Customs participates in a whole-of-government Indigenous Graduate Recruitment strategy aiming to recruit indigenous graduates for the 2006 Customs Graduate Trainee program.

 

LA1: Breakdown of workforce, where possible, by region/country, status (employee/non employee), employment type (full time/part time), and by employment contract (indefinite or permanent/fixed term or temporary). Also identify workforce retained in conjunction with other employees (temporary agency workers or workers in co-employment relationships) segmented by region/country

 

ACT#

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

NT

Total

Full-Time

                 

Ongoing employee

1 025

1 138

760

630

153

434

31

109

4 280

Non-ongoing

102

8

4

8

-

2

-

-

124

Full-time total

1 127

1 146

764

638

153

436

31

109

4 404

Part-Time

                 

Ongoing employee

43

233

153

106

26

58

1

5

625

Non-ongoing

12

6

-

3

-

2

-

-

23

Part Time total

55

239

153

109

26

60

1

5

648

Casual

                 

Non-ongoing

1

1

-

-

-

-

1

-

3

Total

1 183

1 386

917

747

179

496

33

114

5 055

Males

750

832

564

446

97

304

20

57

3 070

Females

433

554

353

301

82

192

13

57

1 985

Total

1 183

1 386

917

747

179

496

33

114

5 055

*  Includes staff employed under the Public Service Act 1999, staff on leave, higher duties and staff on loan from other agencies. Figures do not include contractors. Numbers are headcount and reflect actual occupancy (derived from Customs Human Resource Information Systems). Financial statements report on staff numbers by full-time equivalent (FTE).

# ACT figures include National Marine Unit.

LA2: Employment net creation and average turnover

In 2004–05 Customs staff turnover rate was 6.62 per cent.6 The total number of people recruited from external sources into Customs for 2004–05 was 636.

6 Only ongoing staff are included in the separation rate.

LA4: Policy and procedures involving information, consultation and negotiation with employees over changes in the reporting organisation’s operations (eg restructuring)

Customs employee participation strategy meets the Government’s objective for employers to more directly engage their employees on matters affecting the relationship between employees and employers. Customs has established a Staff Council comprising of management, staff and union representatives. Staff Council considers and discusses longer-term strategic directions and emerging issues impacting or potentially impacting Customs employees.

 

LA6: Description of formal joint health and safety committees comprising management and worker representatives and proportion of workforce covered by any such committees

Customs Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Policy outlines the formal workplace arrangements to promote effective communication and consultation on OH&S matters. An OH&S Agreement is in place with the key union covering Customs staff on formal consultation arrangements. Customs OH&S Committees provide a forum for consultation and communication for all staff. The National OH&S Committee oversees the effectiveness of the national policy framework while regional OH&S committees ensure Customs OH&S management systems are working effectively in each region. Designated work groups promote consultation on OH&S issues. Health and safety representatives are elected in each designated work group to represent the health and safety interests of all employees within the designated work group.

 

LA7: Standard injury, lost day and absentee rates and the number of work related fatalities (including contracted workers)

OH&S Performance Indicators*

     

Performance measure

2002–03*

2003–04*

2004–05*

Accepted compensation incident claims

243

215

173

Claims per 100 Staff (headcount)

4.83

4.47

3.42

Accepted compensation incident claims with time off work

134

115

98

Accepted compensation incident claims resulting in 5 or more days incapacity

71

55

64

Claims of 5 or 5 or more days incapacity per 100 Staff (headcount)

1.41

1.14

1.27

Quality of Return to Work Outcomes

87%

91%

88%

Annual absenteeism**

..

..

12.17%

* as at 31 July of that year

** Annual absenteeism rates are calculated at the end of the March quarter

LA10: Description of equal opportunity policies or programs, as well as monitoring systems to ensure compliance

The Customs Workplace Diversity Policy defines workplace diversity within the Customs and Australian Public Service context. It outlines Customs legislative obligations in relation to workplace diversity and supports adherence to these obligations. It promotes workplace diversity and guiding principles, defines workplace diversity roles and responsibilities for all employees. The policy is embedded into national business plans.

The Workplace Harassment Policy includes information on formal and informal approaches to resolving cases of harassment and reinforces the role of the APS Values and Code of Conduct. It clarifies roles and responsibilities for staff.

This year’s focus has been on promoting awareness of these policies through the delivery of training and induction and supporting this with promotional and support materials and activities. Online training modules covering APS Values and APS Code of Conduct, workplace diversity, and cross-cultural awareness are developed and implemented. Customs workplace harassment reporting process is developed, providing a safe and confidential means of reporting harassment.

 

LA11: Composition of senior management and corporate governance bodies, including male/female ratio and other indicators of diversity as culturally appropriate

 

Female

Born Overseas*

Indigenous

 

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Senior Executive Service

15

40.5

5

13.5

-

-

*  Number of staff born outside Australia

LA12: Employee benefits beyond those legally mandated

Customs is committed to providing a range of flexible work practices to assist employees to balance personal responsibilities and lifestyle preferences with organisational requirements. Benefits that could apply depending on individuals’ employment conditions include:
Flexible working hours including flextime; part time work; shiftwork; rostered days off; employee funded extra leave; maternity leave; supporting partner leave for new parents; event leave (including special leave, bereavement leave and leave without pay); personal/carer’s leave; adoption leave; external development; study leave; job sharing; compassionate transfers; access to an employee assistance program; access to family rooms and gymnasiums; domestic care support scheme; and home based work.

 

LA16: Description of programs to support the continued employability of employees and to manage career endings

The Customs Framework for Learning and Development 2005-2007 integrates a range of current learning and development policies and programs to provide staff with opportunities to develop, from their entry into Customs and throughout their career.

The most significant aspect of the Framework for Learning within Customs is the Customs Development Program. The Customs Development Program identifies the core skills required of all staff and specialist skills that vary depending on assignment. The Program enables staff and supervisors to satisfy individual as well as organisational needs. Various development options are available, including formal modules through tertiary institutions. Staff who attain the required number of competencies are eligible to receive a nationally recognised qualification. This assists in entry to other tertiary courses.

Customs has a well-established approach to workforce planning, succession management and career reassignment. In 2005, a succession management and career reassignment policy and toolkit was developed to improve these processes within Customs.

 

SO1: Description of policies to manage impacts on communities in areas affected by activities, as well as description of procedures/programs to address this issue, including monitoring systems and results of monitoring.  Include explanation of procedures for identifying and engaging in dialogue with community stakeholders

Customs Regulatory Philosophy ensures that Customs intervention activity is targeted and that impact on legitimate traders or travellers is minimised. Customs fosters an environment of co-operation with clients to achieve client compliance with the laws and regulations administered by Customs.

The Customs National Consultative Committee (CNCC) is a national forum for communicating policies, practices and procedures relevant to the trading community. The CNCC works in partnership with the trading community to resolve perceived difficulties and is the major forum for regular consultation on a wide range of matters.

Customs Complaints and Compliments Management System provides clients with an opportunity to provide feedback on any aspect of their dealings with us. Feedback is used in assessing ways that the service can be improved.

Frontline is a cooperative program between Customs and industry groups involved in international trade and transport. Frontline members draw on their commercial expertise to identify suspicious behaviour and assist Customs.

The Customs Hotline is a community participation program that draws on the knowledge and expertise of people living and travelling throughout Australia to report potential or actual illegal activities.

Customs increased use of technology minimises the intrusive nature of inspection and expedites the process where intervention is necessary. For example, x-ray of cargo and baggage can, at times, eliminate the need for physical examination.

In February 2004, Defence Minister Senator Hill and Justice and Customs Minister Senator Ellison signed Indigenous Land Use Agreements with the people of Dauan and Badu Islands in the Torres Strait to install High Frequency Surface Wave Radar facilities. Local communities were provided employment opportunities during preparation of the site and construction and there will be ongoing employment during the trial for residents undertaking the role of caretakers.

 Global Reporting Initiative economic indicators

EC3: Cost of all goods, materials, and services purchased

$537.345m* (this includes resources received free of charge $145.832m)

* these figures relate to operating expenditure only and exclude any capital acquisitions

EC5: Total payroll and benefits (including wages, pension, other benefits, and redundancy payments) broken down by country or region for 2004–05 ($m)

New South Wales

92.129

Victoria

57.607

Queensland

49.882

Western Australia

33.238

South Australia

10.288

Tasmania

1.918

Northern Territory

7.716

Corporate, including the Australian Capital Territory

102.756

Total

355.534m

 

PA11: Describe procurement policy of the public agency as relates to sustainable development

Customs complies with relevant government policy contributing to sustainable development. These policies include environmental policies as outlined in the Department of Finance and Administration, Financial Management Guidance No. 10 Guidance on Complying with Legislation and Government Policy in Procurement—January 2005. Customs complies with these policies through including model environmental clauses in request for tender documentation and considering (and possibly excluding) tender responses that identify non-compliance with government policies.

 

PA12: Describe economic, environmental, and social criteria that apply to expenditures and financial commitments

Customs applies economic, environmental and social criteria in its procurement operations that are outlined in the Department of Finance and Administration, Financial Management Guidance No.10 Guidance on Complying with Legislation and Government Policy in Procurement—

January 2005. Customs complies with these policies through evaluation criteria in procurement documents that consider economic, environmental and social criteria such as occupational health and safety, whole-of-life costing and ozone-polluting substances.

Purchasing requirements consider a wide range of policies that meet government requirements for effective purchasing. Examples include:

APS Values, Ethics and Standards of Conduct, Chief Executive Instructions, Occupational Health and Safety Policy, Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act.

 

PA14: Percentage of the total value of goods purchased that were registered with voluntary environmental or social labels and/or certification programs, broken down by type

Customs requests tenderers to provide details of any certifications they might have as part of the tender process. A quality accreditation may provide tenderers with higher tender scores.

Customs does not report against the following global reporting initiative indicators either because data is not available, or the indicator is not relevant to the sustainable performance of Customs:

Environmental

EM4, EN1, EN2, EN4, EN5, EN6, EN7, EN9, EN10, EN11, EN12, EN13, EN14, EN15, EN16, EN18, EN19, EN20, EN21, EN22, EN23, EN24, EN25, EN26, EN27, EN28, EN29, EN30, EN31, EN32, EN33, EN34, EN35

Social

HR1, HR2, HR3, HR4, HR5, HR6, HR7, HR8, HR9, HR10, HR11, HR13, HR14, LA3, LA5, LA8, LA9, LA13, LA14, LA15, LA17, PR1, PR2, PR3, PR4, PR5, PR6, PR7, PR8, PR9, PR10, PR11, SO2, SO3, SO4, SO5, SO6, SO7

Economic

EC1, EC2, EC4, EC6, EC7, EC8, EC9, EC10, EC11, EC12, EC13, PA8, PA9, PA10, PA13

 

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