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The legislative framework we operate in influences our corporate governance. The most important pieces of legislation are outlined below.
Defence Housing Australia Act 1987
Defence Housing Australia (DHA) formerly known as the Defence Housing Authority, was established as a statutory authority on 1 January 1988 under the Defence Housing Authority Act 1987.1
On 23 November 2006, in accordance with the Defence Housing Authority Amendment Act 2006, the Authority was renamed Defence Housing Australia and our principal Act was renamed the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 (DHA Act).
The DHA Act sets out our functions, powers, corporate structure and delegations. In accordance with section 5 of the Act, the main function of DHA is to provide adequate and suitable housing for, and housing related services to, members of the Defence Force and their families.
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
In accordance with definitions in section 8 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), DHA is both a corporate Commonwealth entity and a Government Business Enterprise (GBE).2 3
As its name suggests, this Act and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule), set the standards of governance, performance and accountability for Commonwealth entities and companies. The Act also imposes specific duties on our Board of Directors and senior executives relating to the use and management of resources.
As a GBE, DHA must also operate in accordance with the Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Governance and Oversight Guidelines (GBE Guidelines). The Guidelines prescribe additional considerations on Board and corporate governance, financial governance and planning and reporting. A principal objective of the Guidelines is that we must add to shareholder value by making commercial returns and paying commercial dividends. We must deliver on these requirements while also fulfilling our functions under the DHA Act.
Other applicable legislation
DHA is the only GBE that employs its staff under the Public Service Act 1999. As an Australian Government employer we must also adhere to the provisions and statutes of various employment related legislation including, but not limited to, the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011.
As a statutory agency we must also operate in accordance with Commonwealth legislation including, but not limited to the:
Learn more about Freedom of Information and Public Interest Disclosure.
Our governance structure informs decision making and ensures we produce accountable business outcomes and sound organisational performance.
The Australian Government’s interests in DHA are overseen by two Shareholder Ministers: the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Finance. As DHA sits within the Defence portfolio of the Australian Government, the Minister for Defence is our responsible Minister. The Minister for Defence may delegate responsibility for DHA operational matters to a Defence portfolio Minister (currently the Minister for Defence Personnel).
Board of Directors
Our Board is established in accordance with Part III of the DHA Act and is the accountable authority for DHA under the PGPA Act. Our Board:
- ensures that DHA performs our functions in a proper and efficient manner that is, as far as practicable, consistent with sound commercial practice
- makes decisions on organisational direction and strategy, largely through our Corporate Plan (and publicly available Statement of Corporate Intent).
- recognises that the primary responsibility for operational management and achievement against our Corporate Plan rests with the Managing Director.
Learn more about our Board members.
Board Audit and Risk Committee (BARC)
Our Board has established a Board Audit and Risk Committee (BARC) to assist it discharge its responsibilities for providing oversight, ensuring appropriateness and review of financial reporting; performance reporting; system of risk oversight and management; and, system of internal control. The BARC Charter can be found here (PDF 272kB).
Senior leadership team
The Managing Director is employed by the Board in accordance with Part VI (Division 1) of the DHA Act and is its only executive director. The Managing Director is responsible for conducting the operational affairs of DHA in accordance with the DHA Act and any policies determined by, and directions given by, the Board. The Managing Director oversees strategic direction, organisational structure, staff, performance and relationships with key stakeholders.
Senior Executive Group
The Senior Executive Group (SEG) assists the Managing Director to ensure DHA fulfils its role in accordance with the DHA Act. The SEG provides leadership, guides performance, implements and delivers against the Corporate Plan and ensures accountability of DHA’s activities.
Learn more about our senior leadership team
Planning and reporting framework
DHA’s approach to planning and reporting (refer to the figure below) is consistent with the requirements of the DHA Act, PGPA Act and GBE Guidelines. It aims to provide high quality information to our Shareholder Ministers, the Parliament, our customers and the public through clearly linked and integrated planning and reporting.
1. A statutory authority is a body created by the Parliament for a specific purpose.
2. A corporate Commonwealth entity is a corporate body, established by a law of the Commonwealth but legally separated from it. Corporate Commonwealth entities can act in their own right and exercise certain legal rights such as entering into contracts and owning property.
3. A GBE is a body created when the Australian Government wishes to conduct some sort of commercial enterprise at arm’s length from usual departmental structures and processes. DHA became a GBE in 1992 and, as at 30 June 2017, was one of two GBEs prescribed in section 5(1) of the PGPA Rule.