New structure of Government Departments

Today, I am announcing changes to the structure of the Australian Public Service (APS) as part of our reform agenda to put Australians at the centre of Government.

This morning, the Governor-General approved my recommendation to reduce the number of Government departments from 18 to 14, to ensure the services that Australians rely on are delivered more efficiently and effectively.

Australians should be able to access simple and reliable services, designed around their needs. Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people.

The new structure will drive greater collaboration on important policy challenges. For example, better integrating the Government’s education and skills agenda and ensuring Australians living in regional areas can access the infrastructure and services they need.

The following changes will take effect on 1 February 2020:

  • The creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, which will consolidate:
    • the current Department of Education; and
    • the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
  • The creation of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which will consolidate:
    • the current Department of Agriculture; and
    • environment functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy.
  • The creation of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, which will consolidate:
    • the current Department of Industry, Innovation and Science;
    • energy functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy; and
    • small business functions from the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
  • The creation of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which will consolidate:
    • the current Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development; and
    • the current Department of Communications and the Arts.
  • The Department known as Services Australia (formerly known as the Department of Human Services) will be established as a new Executive Agency, within the Social Services Department.

Ten departments remain unchanged.

I am also announcing today that the remit of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency will be expanded to include drought. The Hon Shane Stone AC QC will lead the new National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, providing national leadership and a whole-of-government response to support our farmers and regional communities as they respond to, and recover from, the drought and the north Queensland flood from earlier this year.

The Agency will sit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and report to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, the Hon David Littleproud MP.

As a consequence of these machinery changes, there will be movement and change amongst the Secretaries of departments. The following Secretaries will not continue to hold office in the new structure when it takes effect on 1 February 2020:

  • Ms Kerri Hartland;
  • Ms Renée Leon PSM;
  • Mr Mike Mrdak AO;
  • Mr Daryl Quinlivan; and
  • Dr Heather Smith PSM.

Each of these senior officials has served their country with dedication, commitment and a deep sense of public service over many years, and their advice, achievements and leadership have been valued by governments past and present.

On behalf of the Government and all Australians, I thank Ms Hartland, Ms Leon, Mr Mrdak, Mr Quinlivan and Dr Smith for everything they have done to advance Australia’s interests, and for their service, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Mr David Fredericks, currently the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy, will move to be Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO will take up the position of Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Mr Metcalfe was Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship from 2005 to 2012 and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in 2013. Since then he has been a partner at EY (Ernst and Young). He will bring considerable public policy leadership experience to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and to the Secretaries Board.

The new structure will be implemented before Parliament returns next year. A full list of the new departments and Secretaries is provided below.

I have a deep respect for public servants and their work in delivering the Government’s agenda. I look forward to continuing to work with the public service to achieve the best outcomes for the Australian people.

The new structure of departments and Secretaries, on 1 February 2020, will be:

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO
Attorney-General’s Department Mr Chris Moraitis PSM
Department of Defence Mr Greg Moriarty
Department of Education, Skills and Employment Dr Michelle Bruniges AM
Department of Finance Ms Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ms Frances Adamson
Department of Health Ms Glenys Beauchamp PSM
Department of Home Affairs Mr Michael Pezzullo
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Mr David Fredericks
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications Mr Simon Atkinson
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Mr Philip Gaetjens
Department of Social Services Ms Kathryn Campbell AO CSC
Department of the Treasury Dr Steven Kennedy PSM
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Ms Liz Cosson AM CSC

/Public Release. View in full here.