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Legislation - Acts, Regulations and Directions

Our legislation page provides links to Commonwealth legislation that impacts upon the functioning of the Australian Public Service. Other acts and regulations relevant to the human resources management function are also provided.

Where possible we link to Comlaw, the Commonwealth legal database site, for our legislative links.

Public Service Act and instruments made under that Act

Public Service Act 1999

The principal Act governing the establishment and operation of, and employment in, the Australian Public Service.

The Public Service Act is available on the Comlaw website.

Public Service Regulations 1999 (Consolidated version)

The purpose of the Regulations is to make necessary or appropriate provisions in relation to a range of matters for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the Act.

The Public Service Regulations are available on the Comlaw website.

Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013

The current binding Directions issued by the Australian Public Service Commissioner (the Commissioner) in accordance with the power provided at section 42 of the Act. They cover matters relating to the APS Values, recruitment and selection, workplace diversity, performance management, safe workplaces, the Code of Conduct and delegation by the Commissioner and by APS agency heads.

The Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 are available on the Comlaw website.

Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Amendment Direction 2013 (No. 2)

This Amendment to the Commissioner’s Directions assists in implementing the interim arrangements for APS recruitment announced by the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service on 31 October 2013.

The Amendment Direction provides that

  • where offers of employment were made before 5 November 2013, these offers will be honoured;
  • in relation to selection exercises commenced before 5 November 2013, but where no offer of employment has been made, agencies may continue those selection exercises provided the Commissioner is satisfied it is not appropriate to re-notify the vacancy; and
  • vacancies notified in the Public Service Gazette on or after 5 November 2013 must be notified as being open only to APS employees except in certain prescribed circumstances.

The Amendment Direction also makes two unrelated minor technical amendments to the Commissioner’s Directions.

Further advice on the interim recruitment arrangements is available on this website.

Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Amendment (Notification of Decisions and Other Measures) Direction 2014

This Amendment to the Commissioner’s Directions changes the arrangements for the notification in the Public Service Gazette of certain employment decisions. In particular, it is no longer necessary to notify, in the Gazette, Senior Executive Service (SES) retirement decisions and termination of employment decisions (for SES and non-SES ongoing employees), other than where the termination is on the grounds of a breach of the APS Code of Conduct. This amendment also makes a number of unrelated technical changes to the Commissioner’s Directions. For further information on these amendments refer to Commission Circular 2014/3.

Public Service Classification Rules 2000

Establishes the general service wide levels of APS employees, regardless of the operation of agency classifications arranged through Certified Agreements.

The Rules are available on the Comlaw website.

Australian Public Service Award 1998 (Consolidated version)

This Fair Work Commission consolidated award incorporates all amendments up to and including 17 November 2008.

The Award is available on the Fair Work Commission website.

Other Acts relevant to Human Resource Management

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975

The Act enables the review of decisions made under certain legislation (particularly the Superannuation legislation, the FOI Act, the Compensation Act and some secrecy provisions) by the AAT.

The AAT Act is available on the ComLaw website

Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977

The Act enables the review of decisions made under an Act by the Federal Court - it also provides for a person who is affected by a decision to seek the reasons for that decision.

The Administrative Decisions Act is available on the ComLaw website.

Crimes Act 1914

The Act provides criminal penalties for a range of actions (such as fraud, theft, bribery, browsing a Commonwealth Computer, release of Commonwealth information) that may be committed against the Commonwealth whilst in employment or after employment.

The Crimes Act is available on the ComLaw website.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The Act aims to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against persons on the ground of disability in certain areas, including employment.

The Disability Discrimination Act is available on the ComLaw website.

Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987

The Act promotes equal employment opportunity for a range of identified groups.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Act is available on the ComLaw website

Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012

This Act requires certain employers to promote gender equality in the workplace, to establish the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the office of the Director of Workplace Gender Equality, and for related purposes.

The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 is available on the ComLaw website

Fair Work Act 2009

The Fair Work Act 2009 provides a process for agreement-making and specific protection against unfair dismissal, unlawful termination and discrimination.

Freedom of Information Act 1982

The Act provides the public with a right of access to many Commonwealth Records.

The Freedom of Information Act is available on the ComLaw website

Privacy Act 1988

The Act protects the personal privacy of an individual in relation to any Commonwealth record maintained in relation to that individual.

The Privacy Act is available on the ComLaw website

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

An Act relating to the rehabilitation of employees of the Commonwealth and certain corporations and to workers' compensation for those employees and certain other persons, and for related purposes.

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act is available on the ComLaw website

Sex Discrimination Act 1984

The Act aims to eliminate, so far as is possible, discrimination against persons on the ground of sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy.

The Sex Discrimination Act is available on the ComLaw website

Superannuation Act 2005 

The Act establishes the Superannuation Scheme for a number of Commonwealth employees

The Superannuation Act 2005 is available on the ComLaw website. The following are also on the ComLaw website:

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 

An Act relating to work health and safety, and for related purposes.

The Work Health and Safety Act is available on the ComLaw website.

Other regulations relevant to Human Resource Management

Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Regulations 1999

The Regulations made under the Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Act 1999.
The Regulations are available from the ComLaw website.

Workplace Relations Regulations 2006 (Consolidated version)

The Regulations made under the Workplace Relations Act.

The Workplace Regulations are available from the ComLaw website.

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