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ATO wins gold in Public Sector awards

Emma Macdonald

The Australian Taxation Office has taken out the Gold Award in the 2016 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management.

The award recognises the ATO’s high-tech and streamlined processes for managing the nation’s superannuation savings.

The “SuperStream” initiative is designed to enhance the ‘back office’ of superannuation, transmitting money and information consistently between employers, funds, service providers and the ATO. SuperStream was described by the award judges as being “remarkable for the scale and complexity of the initiative and for the potential and actual benefits to a wide range of stakeholders, both individuals and businesses, as well as the superannuation industry”.

In 2010, the Cooper Review of Australia’s Superannuation System identified that much of the back office of superannuation was manually transacted and reflected a lack of industry data standards. This resulted in the inefficient processing of transactions; millions of ‘lost’ superannuation accounts and difficulties for members in consolidating multiple accounts.

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Australian Tax Office Gold Winners in the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management. Photo credit Rob Little

SuperStream’s key features are the increased use of technology in contributions, rollovers and account administration, uniform data standards, the use of a tax file number as a key identifier, account consolidation and the ability for all employers to make contributions to a superannuation fund in a single transaction.

Run annually by the Institute of Public Administration Australia ACT Division, the 2016 Prime Minister’s Awards were presented by the Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra on Wednesday night.

There were two Silver Awards – the NSW Department of Health for their Electronic Medication Management system at Concord Hospital and the Tasmanian Department of Education for their Implementation of Child and Family Centres.

Commendations were also awarded to the Commonwealth Department of Human Services for its Family and Domestic Violence Strategy – “It’s Time to Say Enough” and the Fair Work Ombudsman for its Online Learning Centre roll-out.

Now in their 15th year, the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence are the pre-eminent Public Sector Awards, encouraging and recognising excellence across all levels of government in Australia.

Judges this year included former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Defence and Deputy President of IPAA ACT Carmel McGregor, former Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and former IPAA ACT President Andrew Metcalfe, former Auditor-General and former IPAA ACT President Ian McPhee, head of the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra and IPAA ACT Council member Professor Mark Evans, and former Australian Government CIO Ann Steward.

The award ceremony was hosted by Dr Gordon de Brouwer, President of IPAA ACT and Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy, and was attended by 280 people.

There were 21 nominations from across the country with strong representation from the Commonwealth.

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author

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