2019 SWRWA Winner

Category six – Best demonstrated leadership in work health and safety


CQUniversity’s holistic health and wellbeing program has been integrated into its culture, systems, strategies and programs. Senior management have dedicated significant financial resources to the program. Vice Chancellors show their commitment by naming their own wellbeing challenges and actively participate in health and wellbeing events.

To overcome the challenges associated with managing 3500 staff across 25 campuses, CQUniversity uses employee surveys, attendance at health and safety committee meetings, workers’ compensation data and the risk management process to identify areas of need. It uses facts and evidence to develop initiatives and activities that are targeted and relevant.

CQUniversity’s health and wellbeing program is a long-term strategy that is systematically measured and monitored as part of the annual operational business plans. CQUniversity’s success in sharing knowledge, experience and learnings across campus’ is a model that could be applied more broadly across other industries and workplaces.

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Sean Peckover: CQUniversity is actually Australia's largest regional university. We have over 25 sites all over Australia and all of the mainland states in Australia. CQUniversity has around three and a half thousand full time staff, full time equivalent staff and over 30,000 students. So in 2016, we realized that the spend that we had in our health and wellness wasn't getting any results and we realized that we needed to make a change within that space.

Trent Hoare: We consulted with our executive management team at the university. Getting engagement from them to see that they actually wanted to do a health and wellbeing strategy.

Sean Peckover: We felt a real shift in culture once the vice chancellor committed to the V6 Health Challenge and it became the norm for staff to get involved and commit some of their work time and lunch hours to being involved in physical activity and looking after their nutrition.

What's special about our program is that it's using a risk management approach to health and wellness and we're able to use scientific data to back up what our decisions are and how we're allocating resources. The key actions really were aligned to three or four main parts, which is, we're targeting mental health, nutrition and physical activities and we also built healthy lifestyle activities and programs around what the key areas are.

Trent Hoare: So we've got 3,500 staff across the variety of our states and we've had over 1,000 people across the variety of programs actually uptake the health and wellbeing activities that are being provided. I believe that the system we've implemented here has a broader application across a variety of industries. So taking the risk management approach and applying that to health and wellbeing in our organizational setting actually allows the business to quantify what their risk factors are in relation to health and wellbeing and then allows them to actually do targeted and quantifiable programs that can see if their interventions or programs are actually delivering an outcome.

Sean Peckover: Going forward, hopefully we are going to be able to invest more resources in the future. We've just started to rollout programs to our students now. So our students Health and Wellness Program is mirroring and mapping against their staff. So we're doing combined activities, which is only going to be the betterment for staff and students culture.

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Last updated
10 December 2019