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The Australian Public Service (APS) is the Australian civil service, the group of people employed by departments, agencies and courts under the Government of Australia, to administer the working of the public administration of the Commonwealth of Australia.


The Australian Public Service formally comprises all persons employed under the Public Service Act 1999. This includes all government departments, the court system and also some government agencies.

In the 2006-07 financial year, there were 155,482 public servants employed under the Public Service Act. This includes 143,525 ongoing (or permanent) employees and 11,957 non-ongoing (or contract) employees. The largest group of public servants are women (57%) and work in the Australian Capital Territorymarker (36%).

The largest government agency is Centrelink with 27,296 employees, followed by the Australian Taxation Office (23,110) and the Department of Defence (21,177).


The Government has appointed a "Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service" to whom is responsible the Public Service Commission, led by a Commissioner, which promotes the APS Values, evaluates performance and compliance, and helps to build the capability of the Service. The Commissioner has both statutory powers (under the Public Service Act 1999) and policy responsibilities.

The Government also recognises a role for the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for certain aspects of leadership of the APS.

Each Department is headed by a Secretary, and each independent authority by an appointed head, whose job description includes the administration of the people in that organisation.


APS jobs are advertised throughout Australia by various means, including publication in the Government Gazette and various newspapers.

APS Values

"The Australian Public Service:
  • is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner;
  • is a public service in which employment decisions are based on merit;
  • provides a workplace that is free from discrimination and recognises and utilises the diversity of the Australian community it serves;
  • has the highest ethical standards;
  • is openly accountable for its actions, within the framework of Ministerial responsibility to the Government, the Parliament and the Australian public;
  • is responsive to the Government in providing frank, honest, comprehensive, accurate and timely advice and in implementing the Government's policies and programs;
  • delivers services fairly, effectively, impartially and courteously to the Australian public and is sensitive to the diversity of the Australian public;
  • has leadership of the highest quality;
  • establishes workplace relations that value communication, consultation, co-operation and input from employees on matters that affect their workplace;
  • provides a fair, flexible, safe and rewarding workplace;
  • focuses on achieving results and managing performance;
  • promotes equity in employment;
  • provides a reasonable opportunity to all eligible members of the community to apply for APS employment;
  • is a career-based service to enhance the effectiveness and cohesion of Australia's democratic system of government;
  • provides a fair system of review of decisions taken in respect of employees."

Organisational Structure

The head of an Australian Government Department is the Secretary - like a CEO in the private sector. They are the pivotal advisors to Ministers on government policy, and form to be the chair of the Department executive. The Deputy Secretary (DepSec) is also a part of the Department executive (also known as a Senior Executive Service Band 3). A Department typically has between four and six Deputy Secretaries - depending on the Department's size. The Deputy Secretary is consequently the direct supervisor of the First Assistant Secretary (FAS), also knowb as SES Band 2, which oversees the running of a division within a Department. The Assistant Secretary (SES Band 1), who reports to a FAS, manages a branch within a Department's division. Within the branch, there are sections which are headed by Directors (APS Executive Level 2). The Directors manage a group of departmental officers (which range from the levels of APS 1 (being the lowest) to APS level 6). Assistant Directors, who sit at the level of an Executive Level 1, closely assist the Director and manage teams within the sections.

See also



  • also see DPMC link

External links

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