26 September 2023

New Legislation to set up a ‘stronger APS’

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The Government has introduced a Bill to amend the Public Service Act 1999 into Parliament.

Minister for the Public Service, Katy Gallagher said the Bill fulfilled a Government promise to build a stronger Australian Public Service (APS).

She said it was part of a broader APS reform agenda that aimed to restore the public’s trust and faith in Government and its institutions.

“The reforms will strengthen the APS’s core purpose and values, build the capability and expertise of the APS, and support good governance, accountability and transparency,” Senator Gallagher said.

“The Bill will add a new APS Value of Stewardship; require an APS purpose statement and strengthen the relevant provision in the Public Service Act to make it clear that Ministers cannot direct Agency heads on employment matters.”

She said it would also encourage decision-making at the lowest appropriate level; make regular capability reviews a requirement, and require annual APS Employee Census results to be published, along with an action plan responding to the results.

“The legislation will also establish at least one long-term insight briefing each year,” Senator Gallagher said.

Assistant Minister for the Public Service, Patrick Gorman, said the Bill was locking in important reforms.

“The challenges facing Australia over the coming decade are immense. The APS will continue to play an integral role in meeting the changing needs of Government and the community with professionalism and integrity,” Mr Gorman said.

He noted that many of the proposed changes aligned with recommendations from the 2019 Thodey Review.

The final report of the Thodey Review can be accessed at this PS News link.

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