Part 2: Staffing of Agencies
A Smart, Agile and Responsive Public Service
The Australian Government remains focused on public sector staffing reforms to improve public sector productivity and performance.
The Government continues to examine all parts and aspects of the Commonwealth public sector, from the functions of agencies to how they operate and are structured.
Independent Functional and Efficiency Reviews of agencies, and Scoping Studies of government businesses and assets, have identified activities that can be opened to competition to provide better and more affordable services, as well as greater value to taxpayers.
The Government is addressing areas of inefficiency in its operations through targeted efficiency initiatives, with many of these reforms due to deliver increased savings over time. This includes the Shared and Common Services and the Streamlining Grants Programs, which enable efficiencies to be achieved through standardised business processes and systems, ensuring simpler and more consistent administration across government.
The Australian Government is also positioning the Commonwealth public sector to respond to growing public demands, including for more open and collaborative solutions to emerging complex challenges and opportunities.
From 2017‑18, the Government will adjust its approach to efficiency in the public sector by phasing down the efficiency dividend over the forward estimates, and partially re‑investing savings from the efficiency dividend into public sector reforms.
The new efficiency profile will generate savings of approximately $1.924 billion above previous baseline estimates for the Budget out years. From this, $500 million will be re‑invested over the same period into transformational Commonwealth public sector productivity and innovation initiatives.
The public service will implement the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement and collaborate with the private and research sectors to collect, manage and share data, along with new digital technologies to deliver quality services faster, and at lower cost.
Maintaining affordable staffing levels
In the 2015‑16 Budget, the Government made a commitment to maintain the size of the general government sector (excluding military and reserves) around, or below 2006‑07 levels (167,596). Based on the estimated staffing levels for both 2015‑16 and 2016‑17 the Government is on‑track to deliver on this commitment.
In the 2015‑16 Budget the estimated Average Staffing Level (ASL) in the general government sector (excluding military and reserves) for 2015‑16 was 167,340. The general government sector (excluding military and reserves) is now estimated to be 166,765 in 2015‑16, and 167,155 in 2016‑17. The 2015‑16 result is about 16,000 full time equivalent staff below the peak of 182,505 in 2011‑12.
In 2016‑17 — like in 2015‑16, the actual ASL may be lower than the estimate as a result of Functional and Efficiency Reviews currently underway. A key contributor to controlling growth in public sector staffing levels is the decision to reduce the number of permanent public service positions in the National Disability Insurance Agency from a projected peak of 10,595 in 2018‑19 to a maximum of 3,000 and to use more efficient non‑government models to achieve the same outcomes.
Australian Public Service Commission data (on a headcount basis) shows that:
- There were 21,927 separations over the period from 1 July 2013 to 1 July 2015, 9,164 of which were redundancies and 12,763 were departures without redundancy;
- From 1 July 2015 to 31 March 2016, there were a further 6,991 separations, of which 1,912 were redundancies and 5,079 were departures without redundancy; and
- Since 1 July 2013, over sixty per cent of separations were achieved through natural attrition, which has helped to lessen the number of redundancies required across the public sector. So far the Government has provided $197 million to 38 agencies to assist with redundancies.
Turnover has allowed the Government to recruit the right skills against the highest priorities, allowing overall staffing reductions to be offset by temporary increases in targeted areas to implement policy changes and build infrastructure needed to achieve automation and other longer term efficiencies. Departments with temporary ASL growth in the 2016‑17 Budget include the Department of Employment, to implement the Youth Employment Program and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to support investment in information technology systems.
The Government's ongoing commitment to ensure Australian Public Service staffing remains at a sustainable level is part of the broader effort to modernise public sector efficiency and practices.
|ASL Excluding military and reserves||Military and reserves||Total ASL|
|2015‑16||167,340 (a)||76,842 (a)||244,182 (a)|
(a) 2015‑16 Budget Paper No. 4 estimate.
Table 2.2 provides details of ASL at the portfolio and agency level.
Following the issuing of the Administrative Arrangement Orders of 21 September 2015, 30 September 2015 and 18 February 2016, there were a number of machinery of government changes including transfers of function between agencies, movements of agencies between portfolios, mergers of agencies, and the establishment and abolition of agencies. Comparison of ASL at a portfolio and agency level between years should take into consideration that the related ASL would have had a part‑year effect in 2015‑16 and a full‑year effect in 2016‑17.
|Average staffing levels #|
|Agriculture and Water Resources|
|Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (b)||4,250||4,517||267|
|Australian Fisheries Management Authority||175||176||2|
|Australian Grape and Wine Authority||53||53||0|
|Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority||174||192||18|
|Cotton Research and Development Corporation||13||14||0|
|Fisheries Research and Development Corporation||14||19||5|
|Grains Research and Development Corporation||79||79||0|
|Murray‑Darling Basin Authority||298||316||18|
|Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation||19||19||0|
|Attorney‑General's Department (c)||2,034||1,832||‑202|
|Administrative Appeals Tribunal (d)||715||805||90|
|Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity||49||52||3|
|Australian Crime Commission (e)||559||588||29|
|Australian Federal Police||6,475||6,275||‑200|
|Australian Financial Security Authority||487||487||0|
|Australian Human Rights Commission||114||111||‑3|
|Australian Institute of Criminology (f)||14||0||‑14|
|Australian Law Reform Commission||12||13||1|
|Australian Security Intelligence Organisation||1,740||1,812||72|
|Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre||281||302||21|
|Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (g)||780||0||‑780|
|Federal Court of Australia (h)||400||1,101||701|
|High Court of Australia||73||72||‑1|
|National Archives of Australia||395||390||‑5|
|Office of Parliamentary Counsel||92||97||5|
|Office of the Australian Information Commissioner||72||75||3|
|Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions||373||390||17|
|Communications and the Arts|
|Department of Communications and the Arts (i)||495||552||57|
|Australia Business Arts Foundation Limited||16||16||0|
|Australian Broadcasting Corporation (j)||4,275||4,194||‑81|
|Australian Communications and Media Authority||420||418||‑2|
|Australian Film, Television and Radio School||138||144||6|
|Australian National Maritime Museum||120||125||5|
|National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (k)||176||164||‑12|
|National Gallery of Australia||237||217||‑20|
|National Library of Australia (l)||421||393||‑28|
|National Museum of Australia||215||226||11|
|National Portrait Gallery of Australia||51||48||‑3|
|Old Parliament House||70||70||0|
|Special Broadcasting Service Corporation||1,020||1,020||0|
|Department of Defence — Civilian (m)||18,100||17,950||‑150|
|Department of Defence — Military (n)||58,021||59,209||1,188|
|Department of Defence — Reserves (o)||19,360||19,110||‑250|
|Department of Veterans' Affairs||1,896||1,838||‑59|
|Australian War Memorial||265||278||13|
|Defence Housing Australia||650||650||0|
|Departments of the Parliament|
|Department of Parliamentary Services (p)||781||820||39|
|Department of the House of Representatives||158||158||0|
|Department of the Senate||155||162||7|
|Parliamentary Budget Office (q)||42||45||3|
|Education and Training|
|Department of Education and Training (r)||1,815||2,025||210|
|Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority||78||93||15|
|Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited||56||56||0|
|Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (s)||140||121||‑19|
|Australian Research Council||128||136||8|
|Australian Skills Quality Authority||205||197||‑8|
|Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (t)||60||48||‑12|
|Department of Employment (u)||1,770||1,807||37|
|Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency||12||12||0|
|Fair Work Commission||344||326||‑18|
|Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate||131||155||24|
|Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman||702||675||‑27|
|Safe Work Australia||101||101||0|
|Workplace Gender Equality Agency||30||30||0|
|Department of the Environment (v)||1,828||1,755||‑72|
|Australian Renewable Energy Agency||2||2||0|
|Bureau of Meteorology (w)||1,581||1,602||21|
|Clean Energy Finance Corporation||65||65||0|
|Clean Energy Regulator||324||324||0|
|Climate Change Authority (x)||18||9||‑9|
|Director of National Parks||317||321||4|
|Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority||207||210||3|
|Sydney Harbour Federation Trust||62||62||0|
|Department of Finance||1,295||1,323||29|
|Australian Electoral Commission||837||819||‑18|
|Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation||455||476||21|
|Future Fund Management Agency||120||141||21|
|Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (y)||5,700||5,760||60|
|Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research||74||74||0|
|Australian Secret Intelligence Service*||*||*||*|
|Australian Trade and Investment Commission||1,024||1,020||‑4|
|Export Finance and Insurance Corporation — National Interest Account||3||3||0|
|Department of Health (z)||4,000||4,483||483|
|Australian Aged Care Quality Agency||243||248||5|
|Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care||89||86||‑3|
|Australian Digital Health Agency (aa)||0||51||51|
|Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (ab)||300||311||11|
|Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority||27||28||1|
|Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency||135||131||‑4|
|Australian Sports Anti‑Doping Authority||53||50||‑3|
|Australian Sports Commission (Australian Institute of Sport)||584||582||‑2|
|Australian Sports Foundation Limited||11||11||0|
|Food Standards Australia New Zealand||111||108||‑3|
|Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (ac)||59||1||‑58|
|National Blood Authority||52||52||0|
|National Health and Medical Research Council||185||179||‑6|
|National Health Funding Body||19||19||0|
|National Health Performance Authority (ad)||39||0||‑39|
|National Mental Health Commission||14||14||0|
|Professional Services Review||17||18||1|
|Immigration and Border Protection|
|Department of Immigration and Border Protection (ae)||13,750||13,445||‑305|
|Industry, Innovation and Science|
|Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (af)||2,580||2,568||‑12|
|Australian Institute of Marine Science||208||207||‑1|
|Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation||1,257||1,257||0|
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (ag)||5,056||5,078||21|
|National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority||112||135||23|
|Infrastructure and Regional Development|
|Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (ah)||1,135||1,130||‑5|
|Australian Maritime Safety Authority||390||384||‑6|
|Australian Transport Safety Bureau||105||96||‑9|
|Civil Aviation Safety Authority||795||805||10|
|National Capital Authority||56||56||0|
|National Transport Commission||39||39||0|
|Prime Minister and Cabinet|
|Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2,064||2,070||6|
|Aboriginal Hostels Limited||402||411||10|
|Anindilyakwa Land Council||29||31||2|
|Australian National Audit Office||330||337||7|
|Australian Public Service Commission||213||209||‑4|
|Central Land Council||230||230||0|
|Digital Transformation Office||74||74||0|
|Indigenous Business Australia||208||219||11|
|Indigenous Land Corporation||265||265||0|
|National Australia Day Council Limited||12||12||0|
|Northern Land Council||239||245||6|
|Office of National Assessments||128||138||10|
|Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman||149||149||0|
|Office of the Inspector‑General of Intelligence and Security||16||17||1|
|Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor‑General||76||76||0|
|Outback Stores Pty Ltd||150||158||8|
|Tiwi Land Council||16||17||1|
|Torres Strait Regional Authority||150||150||0|
|Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council||32||32||0|
|Department of Social Services (ai)||2,379||2,035||‑344|
|Department of Human Services (aj)||30,102||29,292||‑810|
|Australian Institute of Family Studies||75||82||7|
|National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency (ak)||1,103||1,749||646|
|Department of the Treasury||810||810||0|
|Australian Bureau of Statistics||2,871||2,830||‑41|
|Australian Competition and Consumer Commission||739||739||0|
|Australian Office of Financial Management||36||40||4|
|Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (al)||602||605||3|
|Australian Securities and Investments Commission||1,658||1,687||29|
|Australian Taxation Office||17,781||18,320||539|
|Commonwealth Grants Commission||29||30||1|
|Inspector‑General of Taxation||34||35||1|
|National Competition Council||1||1||0|
|Office of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board||7||7||0|
|Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board||22||22||0|
|Royal Australian Mint||219||215||‑4|
|Total (for all general government sector agencies)||244,146||245,474||1,327|
# Any discrepancies in totals are due to rounding of partial ASL.
* Not disclosed.
(a) This table includes estimates of ASL provided by general government sector agencies. ASL figures reflect the average number of employees receiving salary or wages over the financial year, with adjustments for casual and part‑time staff to show the full‑time equivalent. It also includes uniformed staff and overseas personnel. The ASL figures exclude contractors.
(b) The projected increase relates to 2015‑16 MYEFO measures, the transfer of the water function from the Department of the Environment as part of machinery of government changes, and employee recruitment in 2015‑16.
(c) The projected decrease is due to machinery of government changes, the completion of Defence Abuse Response Taskforce and Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, implementation of savings measures, the implementation of the whole of government shared services and the impact of 2016‑17 Budget measures.
(d) The projected increase is due to the National Disability Insurance Scheme reaching its staffing peak.
(e) The projected increase is due to part‑year effect of transferring Australian Institute of Criminology staff into the Australian Crime Commission in 2015‑16, and the impact of 2016‑17 Budget measures.
(f) All Australian Institute of Criminology staff were transferred to the Australian Crime Commission on 8 October 2015.
(g) As of 1 July 2016, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia will merge with the Federal Court of Australia.
(h) The functions of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be transferred to the Federal Court of Australia from 1 July 2016, with a corresponding transfer of staff.
(i) The projected increase reflects machinery of government changes announced in 2015‑16, including gaining Arts, Copyright and Classifications functions from the Attorney‑General's Department and transferring staff to the Department of Industry and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
(j) The projected decrease is a result of the closure of Australian Broadcasting Corporation retail shops.
(k) The projected decrease reflects the implementation of 2015‑16 MYEFO measures.
(l) The National Library of Australia is funded by both appropriations and revenue from external sources. A decline in revenue has resulted in an ASL reduction.
(m) Defence's APS workforce is forecast to reach 18,100 ASL in 2015‑16 as the culmination of a conscious program of workforce reductions, before stabilising at 17,950 in 2016‑17. New APS positions in areas of high priority will be offset by ongoing reductions elsewhere in the APS workforce, including through the reform of service delivery areas of Defence's business, as part of the implementation of the 2015 First Principles Review.
(n) The Australian Defence Force has been below its approved allocations since 2011‑12 due to a combination of factors. Defence has been working to address this through increased recruiting for both Navy and Army. In addition, Army's separation rates have decreased since late 2014‑15, which is helping Army to retain more people and grow the size of the force. As a result, the permanent force strength has been increasing since January 2014 and is gradually closing towards to the workforce strength approved by Government.
Building on this foundation, under the 2016 Defence White Paper the permanent ADF workforce will grow to around 62,400 over the coming decade, beginning in 2016‑17 with some modest growth from 2015‑16 levels.
(o) Figures provided for the Reserve Forces reflect the total number of days of service expected to be rendered by Reservists in each year, rather than an ASL figure, reflecting the widely varying patterns of employment of Reservists, which Defence does not measure in ASL terms.
(p) The projected increase relates to the Australian Parliament House Security Upgrade Budget Measure and the Australian Parliament House Building Maintenance Budget Measure.
(q) The projected increase relates to increase of staffing to build Parliamentary Budget Office's capability to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand for policy costing services in the lead up to the general election.
(r) The projected increase reflects recent machinery of government changes relating to Child Care transferred from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Education and Training and measures announced in the 2016‑17 Budget.
(s) The projected decrease reflects terminating Budget measures.
(t) The projected decrease reflects the implementation of the Budget measure announced at the 2014‑15 Budget.
(u) The projected increase is due to measures announced in the 2016‑17 Budget.
(v) The projected decrease reflects impact of water functions transferred to Agriculture and the Cities and Built Environment function transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This decrease was partly offset by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency transferred to the Department from the Department of Industry and implementation of 2016‑17 Budget measures.
(w) The projected increase reflects the implementation of budget measures and the inclusion of staff related to capital projects that were previously excluded.
(x) The projected decrease reflects Government policy that the Authority be wound down after the current Parliament.
(y) Projected increase due to implementation of 2015‑16 Budget measures.
(z) The projected increase reflects the Health Provider Compliance functions transferred from the Department of Human Services, and the Aged Care functions transferred from the Department of Social Services. 2016‑17 Budget measures will reduce ASL by 151 staff, including the transfer of staff to the Australian Digital Health Agency.
(aa) The new Australian Digital Health Agency is due to commence operations on 1 July 2016 with ASL to be transferred from the Department of Health.
(ab) The projected increase reflects the Government's decision in the 2015‑16 MYEFO to close the National Hospital Pricing Authority (NHPA) on 30 June 2016 and transfer the functions related to Performance and Accountability Framework reporting to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). From 1 July 2016, the remainder of the NHPA staff will be transferred to the AIHW.
(ac) The projected decrease reflects Government's decision to not proceed with the establishment of a Health Productivity and Performance Commission. From 1 July 2016, the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority Board and CEO will remain independent and will be supported in their operations by the Department of Health.
(ad) The projected decrease represents the implementation of the Government's decision to close National Health Performance Agency by 1 July 2016, and to transfer staff and functions to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care by 30 June 2016.
(ae) The projected decrease is due to the implementation of savings measures agreed as part of the 2015‑16 Budget.
(af) The projected decrease reflects the impact of the machinery of government changes announced in September 2015 and decisions of Government.
(ag) The projected increase reflects the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) assuming effective control of National ICT Australia Limited (NICTA) from 28 August 2015. CSIRO is combining the activities previously undertaken by its Digital Productivity business unit with those of NICTA within CSIRO to create a new operating business named Data61.
(ah) The projected decrease is due to functions relating to Northern Australia Policy and Coordination being transferred to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as part of the machinery of government changes announced in September 2015.
(ai) The projected decrease is mainly due to the full‑year impact of the machinery of government changes, recruitment lag, a smaller graduate intake, and earlier than anticipated results from redundancy and attrition program.
(aj) The projected decrease reflects difficulties associated with recruitment, machinery of government changes and impact of 2016‑17 Budget measure.
(ak) The projected increase is due to the Scheme transitioning from trial to full scheme. This involves the significant ramp up of organisational activities as the number of participants entering the Scheme in each year grows and existing participants continue to be serviced. The transition to full scheme is the basis of Government policy and several years of decisions with the most recent being at 2015‑16 MYEFO.
(al) The projected increase reflects a structural change occurring on 1 July 2016 when the former Private Health Insurance Administration Council responsibilities will be transferred to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.