Following extensive consultation on the draft second round ABS Certified Agreement (CA) a formal offer was released to staff in August 2000. In September 2000 a valid majority of eligible ABS employees voted to reject the offer. A comprehensive review was subsequently undertaken, resulting in a revised formal offer being accepted by a valid majority of staff in March 2001. The ABS CA 2001 to 2003 was subsequently certified by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 1 June 2001. The new Certified Agreement builds on the changes introduced in the first ABS agreement and is expected to support continued productivity and performance improvement and provide greater flexibility to meet the needs of the ABS, its clients and employees.
The ABS Certified Agreement 2001 to 2003 formally provided for a national employee consultative framework which includes Divisional and State office consultative forums. The current Divisional and State consultative forums have provided an effective vehicle for communication about key issues affecting the work and conditions of employees. Some of the issues which have been discussed include the draft Certified Agreement, the performance management scheme/remuneration, the new central office building, and human resource planning. The forums comprise members from each Division/Office executive, staff elected representatives, and union nominees.
2000-01 saw the ABS continue its commitment to the provision of high quality staff development activities. Training in statistics, information technology, leadership and management courses continues to improve and develop the skills of ABS staff. Staff also have the opportunity to participate in on-line learning courses on a range of human resource, workplace diversity, technology and statistical issues.