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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2015-16

Budget 2015-16
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2015-16

Part 2: Staffing of Agencies

A Smaller More Agile Public Service

Reducing the Public Sector Workforce

In around 18 months, the Government has reversed an eight-year peak in staffing levels, bringing the Commonwealth public sector back to a more affordable and sustainable size.

Last year's Budget forecast that in 2014‑15 the net reduction in total Average Staffing Levels (ASL) excluding military and reserves would be 10,031 ASL from 2012‑13. Based on figures collected for the current Budget, the latest projections in fact show a net reduction of 12,542 ASL.

Over the period from 1 September 2013 to 28 February 2015 over 17,300 public servants left the Australian Public Service. Around half of this reduction was achieved through natural attrition and the overwhelming majority of redundancies have been voluntary. Natural attrition has helped to lessen the number of redundancies required across the Commonwealth public sector.

The Government has provided $212 million to 38 agencies to assist with redundancies, where there had been insufficient provision made by the previous Government to meet the costs of planned workforce reductions.

Interim recruitment arrangements which the Government commenced from November 2013 have also helped reduce the size of the Australian Public Service in an orderly way. From 1 July 2015, new controls will afford agency heads the flexibility to manage recruitment, including graduate recruitment, without the need for external approval. This will be subject to functional requirements and ongoing monitoring by the Australian Public Service Commission.

Shifts in staffing investment

The 2015‑16 Budget includes outcomes from the independent functional and efficiency review of the Department of Health and the first stage of outcomes from the equivalent review of the Department of Education and Training. These reviews are contributing to the realignment of agency capabilities to the Government's priorities and will be followed by reviews of other departments throughout 2015‑16.

The integration of the Defence Materiel Organisation into the Department of Defence is expected to provide additional staffing reductions, with savings to be worked through in a methodical way later in 2015.

Strong progress toward staffing reductions has enabled some limited reinvestment by the Government into higher priority areas, such as access to high quality affordable childcare and the My Health Record Strategy. The Government is committed to a sustainable Public Service, where size is based on functional requirements and the highest standards of efficiency.

Some of the overall reductions in staffing levels will be offset by temporary increases in particular areas to manage implementation of policy change or to build infrastructure required to achieve future automation and efficiencies. This includes investment in the information technology systems of the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the first tranche of the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme.

Other areas of targeted or transitory ASL growth within the 2015‑16 Budget support a smaller role for government, including welfare compliance resources to help to control administered spending and reduce dependency on the Government.

Simpler structures of Government

The Government has been methodically reducing the number of government bodies, to reduce the level of inefficiency, duplication and over-governance. More cohesive government structures are better able to work flexibly across shifting areas of need and deal with new or emerging issues.

The Government is actively identifying opportunities to outsource activities that can be better delivered using non-government sector expertise, technology, or capital.

Smaller Government reforms announced in the 2015‑16 Budget include: market testing the capacity of a private operator to upgrade and operate the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) Registry; disbanding the Defence Materiel Organisation by folding its functions into the Department of Defence; abolition of the Administrative Review Council through shifting its functions to the Attorney‑General's Department; and consolidation of the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics into the Department of Industry and Science.

The Government will also undertake a scoping study in 2015‑16 on options for the future management, operations and ownership of the Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd.

The Government will continue to focus on ensuring that the resources and staff it deploys are the right people, undertaking necessary work, as efficiently as is achievable anywhere in the market.

Trends in average staffing levels

Trends in the estimated annual ASL for all agencies in the GGS are reported in Table 2.1, including all Defence Force personnel. 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 average full-time equivalent. ASL numbers are one factor in determining wages and salary figures shown in the budget estimates. The other main factors include the classification of staff and the level of wages and salaries in each agency.

The estimated ASL for 2014‑15, excluding military personnel and reserves, as reported in the 2014‑15 Budget papers (Budget Paper No. 4) was 169,922. The current estimate by agencies for their 2014‑15 ASL has reduced to 167,411. The ASL estimated for 2015‑16 is 167,340, although final ASL for 2015‑16 may be lower as a result of additional Functional and Efficiency Reviews and further targeted efficiency measures due to be considered by the Government later in 2015.

ASL in 2015‑16 will be 15,165 lower than the ASL peak of 182,505 in 2011‑12.

The Budget forecasts for the 2015‑16 year will see total staffing return to the level last recorded in 2006‑07, as measured across the GGS excluding military personnel and reserves.

Table 2.1: Estimates of total average staff levels in the General Government Sector
  ASL Excluding military and reserves Military and reserves Total ASL
2005‑06 156,674 70,339 227,013
2006‑07 167,596 71,026 238,622
2007‑08 175,531 72,686 248,217
2008‑09 175,422 75,144 250,566
2009‑10 178,970 79,351 258,321
2010‑11 181,018 80,873 261,891
2011‑12 182,505 79,132 261,637
2012‑13 179,953 76,678 256,631
2013‑14 177,258 76,595 253,853
2014‑15 167,411 76,848 244,259
2015‑16 167,340 76,842 244,182

Table 2.2 provides details of ASL at the portfolio and agency level.

Following the issuing of Administrative Arrangements Orders on 23 December 2014, there were a number of machinery of government changes including transfers of functions between agencies, movements of agencies between portfolios, mergers of agencies, and the establishment and abolition of agencies. Comparison of ASL at portfolio and agency level between years should take into consideration that the related ASL would have a part‑year effect in 2014‑15 and a full‑year effect in 2015‑16.

Table 2.2: Estimates of average staffing level (ASL) of agencies in the Australian Government General Government Sector(a)
  Average staffing levels #
  2014‑15 ASL 2015‑16 ASL Change
Agriculture    
Department of Agriculture 4,108 4,179 71
Australian Grape and Wine Authority 54 53 -2
Australian Fisheries Management Authority 182 185 3
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 171 171 0
Cotton Research and Development Corporation 13 13 0
Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 12 13 0
Grains Research and Development Corporation 75 79 4
Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 19 19 0
Total 4,635 4,712 77
Attorney-General's      
Attorney-General's Department(b) 1,641 1,628 -13
Administrative Appeals Tribunal(c) 163 723 560
Australia Business Arts Foundation Limited 16 17 1
Australia Council 127 117 -10
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity(d) 38 52 14
Australian Crime Commission 535 518 -17
Australian Federal Police(e) 6,402 6,287 -115
Australian Film, Television and Radio School 140 140 0
Australian Financial Security Authority 464 487 23
Australian Human Rights Commission 120 111 -9
Australian Institute of Criminology 50 47 -3
Australian Law Reform Commission 13 13 0
Australian National Maritime Museum 115 115 0
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation 1,693 1,768 75
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 265 285 20
Bundanon Trust 20 20 0
Crimtrac Agency 229 229 0
Family Court and Federal Circuit Court 778 780 2
Federal Court of Australia 406 400 -6
High Court of Australia 79 76 -3
National Archives of Australia 405 403 -2
National Film & Sound Archive 178 173 -5
National Gallery of Australia 243 237 -6
National Library of Australia 427 421 -6
National Museum of Australia 218 213 -5
National Portrait Gallery of Australia 52 51 -1
Office of Parliamentary Counsel 92 97 5
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner(f) 64 72 8
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions 398 413 15
Old Parliament House 70 70 0
Screen Australia 103 100 -3
Total 15,544 16,063 519
Communications      
Department of Communications(g) 430 408 -22
Australian Broadcasting Corporation(h) 4,540 4,350 -190
Australian Communications and Media Authority 451 417 -34
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation 1,045 1,020 -25
Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency(i) 11 0 -11
Total(j) 6,477 6,195 -282
Defence      
Department of Defence — Civilian(k) 14,472 18,380 3,908
Department of Defence — Military(l) 57,588 57,982 394
Department of Defence — Reserves(m) 19,260 18,860 -400
Department of Veterans' Affairs 1,935 1,894 -41
Australian War Memorial 301 278 -23
Defence Housing Australia 664 676 12
Defence Materiel Organisation(n) 4,888 0 -4,888
Total 99,108 98,070 -1,038
Departments of the Parliament      
Department of Parliamentary Services 743 739 -4
Department of the House of Representatives 158 158 0
Department of the Senate 150 155 5
Parliamentary Budget Office 39 39 0
Total 1,090 1,091 1
Education and Training      
Department of Education and Training(o) 1,651 1,601 -50
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority 96 93 -3
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited 62 56 -6
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 134 143 9
Australian Research Council 120 120 0
Australian Skills Quality Authority(p) 205 213 8
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency(q) 71 60 -11
Total 2,339 2,286 -53
Employment      
Department of Employment 1,695 1,791 96
Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency(r) 9 12 3
Comcare 610 652 42
Fair Work Commission 339 336 -3
Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate(s) 139 155 16
Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman 710 685 -25
Safe Work Australia 95 101 6
Workplace Gender Equality Agency 29 29 0
Total 3,626 3,761 134
Environment      
Department of the Environment 1,945 1,910 -35
Bureau of Meteorology(t) 1,481 1,379 -102
Clean Energy Regulator 318 324 6
Climate Change Authority(u) 21 18 -3
Director of National Parks 262 260 -2
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 200 195 -5
Murray-Darling Basin Authority 299 316 17
National Water Commission(v) 12 0 -12
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust 62 64 2
Total 4,600 4,466 -134
Finance      
Department of Finance 1,347 1,350 3
Australian Electoral Commission 801 788 -13
Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation(w) 81 476 395
ComSuper(w) 410 0 -410
Future Fund Management Agency(x) 104 122 18
Total 2,743 2,736 -7
Foreign Affairs and Trade      
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 5,722 5,734 12
Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research 74 74 0
Australian Secret Intelligence Service* * * *
Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) 1,010 1,018 9
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation - National Interest Account 3 3 0
Tourism Australia 204 207 3
Total 7,013 7,036 23
Health      
Department of Health 3,196 3,202 6
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care(y) 82 92 10
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 298 285 -13
Australian National Preventive Health Agency(z) 1 0 -1
Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority 28 28 0
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 127 135 8
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority 60 57 -3
Australian Sports Commission 610 584 -26
Australian Sports Foundation Limited(aa) 5 11 6
Cancer Australia 68 71 3
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand 102 109 7
General Practice Education and Training Limited(ab) 28 0 -28
Health Workforce Australia(ac) 8 0 -8
Independent Hospital Pricing Authority 54 59 5
National Blood Authority 53 53 0
National Health and Medical Research Council 200 190 -10
National Health Funding Body 19 19 0
National Health Performance Authority 51 54 3
National Mental Health Commission 13 14 1
Private Health Insurance Administration Council 29 28 -1
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman(ad) 11 0 -11
Professional Services Review 17 17 0
Total 5,060 5,009 -52
Immigration and Border Protection      
Department of Immigration and Border Protection(ae) 8,825 13,700 4,875
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service(ae) 4,905 0 -4,905
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal(af) 410 0 -410
Total 14,140 13,700 -440
Industry and Science      
Department of Industry and Science(ag) 2,807 2,538 -269
Australian Institute of Marine Science 210 213 3
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation 1,227 1,257 31
Australian Renewable Energy Agency(ah) 2 0 -2
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 4,970 4,971 0
Geoscience Australia 602 600 -2
IP Australia 1,028 1,054 26
National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority 135 135 0
Total 10,981 10,767 -213
Infrastructure and Regional Development    
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development 1,141 1,144 3
Australian Maritime Safety Authority 374 375 1
Australian Transport Safety Bureau 105 100 -5
Civil Aviation Safety Authority 802 833 31
Infrastructure Australia(ai) 11 15 4
National Capital Authority 58 56 -3
National Transport Commission 39 39 0
Total 2,531 2,562 32
Prime Minister and Cabinet      
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet(aj) 2,195 2,043 -152
Aboriginal Hostels Limited 418 404 -14
Anindilyakwa Land Council(ak) 29 34 5
Australian National Audit Office 338 345 7
Australian Public Service Commission 218 213 -5
Central Land Council 227 227 0
Indigenous Business Australia 225 236 11
Indigenous Land Corporation 265 265 0
National Australia Day Council Limited 12 12 -1
Northern Land Council 220 230 10
Office of National Assessments 132 138 6
Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman(al) 137 149 12
Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security(am) 13 16 3
Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General 76 75 -1
Outback Stores Pty Ltd 151 151 0
Tiwi Land Council(an) 14 16 2
Torres Strait Regional Authority 146 150 4
Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council 32 32 0
Total 4,848 4,735 -113
Social Services      
Department of Social Services(ao) 3,233 3,561 328
Department of Human Services(ap) 30,017 30,461 444
Australian Aged Care Quality Agency 249 244 -5
Australian Institute of Family Studies 83 82 -1
National Disability Insurance Agency(aq) 659 1,220 560
Total 34,241 35,568 1,326
Treasury      
Department of the Treasury 815 833 18
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2,580 2,670 90
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 715 725 10
Australian Office of Financial Management 42 41 -1
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority 589 590 1
Australian Securities and Investments Commission 1,573 1,569 -4
Australian Taxation Office(ar) 18,439 18,482 43
Clean Energy Finance Corporation(as) 54 30 -24
Commonwealth Grants Commission 36 36 0
Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee(at) 2 0 -2
Inspector-General of Taxation(au) 14 34 20
National Competition Council(av) 2 1 -1
Office of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board 7 7 0
Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board 22 22 0
Productivity Commission 166 167 1
Royal Australian Mint 228 219 -9
Total 25,283 25,427 143
TOTAL (for all general government sector agencies) 244,259 244,182 -76

# Any discrepancies in totals are due to rounding of partial ASL

* Not disclosed

Table footnotes:

(a) This table includes estimates of ASL provided by GGS 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 departmental total does not reflect the amalgamation of the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) into the Attorney-General's Department to ensure accurate comparison at the GGS level between 2014‑15 and 2015‑16, noting that prior to 1 July 2015 the AGS was outside the GGS. Refer the 2014‑15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure (Smaller Government — Australian Government Solicitor).

(c) The projected increase reflects the amalgamation of all Commonwealth merits review tribunals, with the exception of the Veterans Review Board, from 1 July 2015.

(d) The projected increase reflects the impact of 2015‑16 Budget measures.

(e) The projected decrease is due to terminating measures and the implementation of efficiency measures.

(f) The projected increase reflects the implementation of the 2015‑16 Budget measures (National Security — Implementation of Mandatory Telecommunications Data Retention) and (Smaller Government)— Attorney-General's Portfolio).

(g) The projected decrease reflects the implementation of the 2015‑16 Budget measure (Digital Transformation Agenda — Portfolio Contributions) and the 2014‑15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure (Enhancing Online Safety for Children — support).

(h) The projected decrease reflects the implementation of the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service Corporation — efficiency savings) and the 2014‑15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure (Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service Corporation — additional efficiency savings).

(i) Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency will be transitioned into the Department of Communications from 1 July 2015 — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency — abolition and transfer to the Department of Communications).

(j) This does not include the Digital Transformation Office. ASL yet to be determined.

(k) The projected change reflects that the Defence Materiel Organisation will be disbanded and its function reintegrated into the Department of Defence with effect from 1 July 2015 — refer the 2015‑16 Budget measure (Smaller Government — Defence Materiel Organisation — reintegration into the Department of Defence).

(l) The projected change reflects lower than expected separation rates and increased recruiting targets.

(m) A lower number of reservists will be required due to an expected increase in the average number of days of military service performed.

(n) The projected change reflects that the Defence Materiel Organisation will be reintegrated into the Department of Defence from 1 July 2015 — refer the 2015‑16 Budget measure (Smaller Government — Defence Materiel Organisation — reintegration into the Department of Defence).

(o) The projected decrease reflects the net impact of efficiency measures and the machinery of government changes of 23 December 2014. Staff transferred from the Department of Industry and Science and to the Department of Social Services.

(p) Australian Skills Quality Authority transferred from the Industry and Science portfolio to the Education and Training portfolio as a result of the machinery of government changes of 23 December 2014.

(q) The projected decrease reflects the implementation of the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Upholding Quality — Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency — revised funding arrangements).

(r) The projected increase reflects improved workforce planning and estimates.

(s) The projected increase reflects delays in the recruitment of additional staff.

(t) The projected decrease reflects the impact of efficiency measures and declining external revenue projections.

(u) The Government has agreed to extend the operations of the Climate Change Authority until 31 December 2016 — refer the 2015‑16 Budget measure (Climate Change Authority — extension).

(v) The National Water Commission is to be abolished — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — National Water Commission — cessation).

(w) The projected change reflects the proposed merger of ComSuper and Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation from 1 July 2015 — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — additional reductions in the number of Australian Government bodies).

(x) The projected increase reflects the additional resourcing required to support the operations, growth and management of the Future Fund.

(y) The projected increase reflects the implementation of several funded projects, including the Anti‑Microbial Resistance AURA project, the Patient Blood management collaborative and the GP Accreditation projects, and the development of the Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation.

(z) The agency will be abolished — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — Australian National Preventive Health Agency — abolish).

(aa) Australian Sports Foundation Limited separated its operational functions from the Australian Sports Commission as a result of the Government's response to the Independent Sport panel, 'Australian Sport: The pathway to success'. The projected increase reflects the implementation of this transition.

(ab) General Practice Education and Training Limited was abolished in April 2015 — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Rebuilding general practice education and training to deliver more GPs).

(ac) Health Workforce Australia was abolished — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — More Efficient Health Workforce Development).

(ad) The projected decrease reflects the integration of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman into the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman from 1 July 2015 — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — additional reductions in the number of Australian Government bodies).

(ae) The projected change reflects the proposed merger of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service from 1 July 2015 — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Smaller Government — strengthen and enhance Australia's border protection services).

(af) The projected decrease reflects the amalgamation of all Commonwealth merits review tribunals, with the exception of the Veterans Review Board, from 1 July 2015.

(ag) The projected decrease reflects the net impact of Budget measures and the machinery of government changes of 23 December 2014. Staff transferred to the Department of Education and Training.

(ah) Australian Renewable Energy Agency is to be abolished — refer the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Australian Renewable Energy Agency — cessation).

(ai) Infrastructure Australia was established on 1 September 2014 following the amendment of the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008. The projected increase reflects additional resourcing to support statutory functions.

(aj) The projected decrease reflects the completion of the G20 Leaders' Summit and the impact of the 2014‑15 Budget measure (Indigenous Affairs Programmes — rationalisation).

(ak) The projected increase reflects the implementation of the proposed Community Development Unit.

(al) The projected increase reflects the implementation of the 2015‑16 Budget measure (National Security — Implementation of Mandatory Telecommunications Data Retention) and the 2014‑15 Budget measures (Inspector-General of Taxation — transfer of tax complaints handling) and (Smaller Government — additional reductions in the number of Australian Government bodies).

(am) The projected increase reflects the implementation of the 2014‑15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure (National Security — additional counter-terrorism funding).

(an) The projected increase reflects the engagement of executive management.

(ao) The projected increase reflects the impact of the machinery of government changes of 23 December 2014 (staff transferred from the Department of Education and Training) and implementation of 2015‑16 Budget measures.

(ap) The projected increase reflects the implementation of 2015‑16 Budget measures.

(aq) The projected increase reflects the resourcing required for the expansion of trial sites and the growth in the number of participants.

(ar) The projected marginal increase reflects the implementation of measures announced in the 2014‑15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the 2015‑16 Budget. The ATO resourcing after 2015‑16 will provide for additional staff for GST compliance that will be funded by the states and territories, although the employees will be part of the Commonwealth employment arrangements. The Australian Government administers the GST on behalf of the states and territories, which receive GST revenues.

(as) The projected decrease reflects the impact of the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from 31 December 2015 — refer the 2013‑14 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure (Repeal of the Carbon Tax — abolishing other measures).

(at) The Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee ceased as an entity as at 19 December 2014.

(au) The projected increase reflects the staffing required to establish a complaints handling function — refer the 2015‑16 Budget measure (Inspector-General of Taxation — additional funding).

(av) The projected decrease reflects a staff redundancy at the SES level.