ALMOST $30,000 was spent by the Education Department on a program to encourage staff to become healthier.
According to the department's 2012-13 annual report, 602 employees, or 86 teams, signed up for the 16-week health and well-being Global Corporate Challenge.
The $97.90 cost for each participant was subsidised by 50 per cent by the department, totalling $29,467.90.
The challenge ran from May to September this year and department employees recorded their steps or activity, such as swimming or cycling, on the program's website.
Department deputy secretary, corporate services, Andrew Finch said the health of employees was an integral part of the department's occupational health and safety obligations in a preventative, rather than reactive, way.
"There is significant evidence that healthy staff provide social and economic benefits to organisations and the community generally, such as reduced absenteeism from illness and injury, greater productivity at work, reduced health-care costs and a more satisfied workforce," Mr Finch said.
He said one of the department's objectives was to assist employees to improve their physical activity and this included encouraging them to take part in the program.
Mr Finch said the department had taken part in the challenge for a number of years and staff had reported health and well-being benefits.
He said according to the results, the department was the most active government organisation in the world taking part in the program.
This year also marked the highest number of employees taking part in the challenge.