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Appendix 4

Changes to the APS classification structure between 1903-1998
Year Context Milestone
In 1903 Following the creation of the APS Introduced uniformity across newly formed Commonwealth departments and adopted the principle of work value under which the salary was based on the position and not the competencies or characteristics of the occupant. The 1902 Act provided for four divisions of the Public Service (Administrative, Professional, Clerical and General division) and Section 41 of the 1902 Act empowered the Governor-General to create, abolish or reclassify positions on the recommendation of the Public Service Commissioner.
From 1922 to 1928 Following the introduction of the Public Service Act 1922 The new Act established an APS constituted by four divisions. Section 7 of the new Act defined “classification” - the arrangement of officers and positions into classes, and includes the allotment to officers and positions of salaries or limits of salaries according to the value of the work.
From 1945 to 1952 Following amendments to the Public Services Act 1922 and the creation of classification committees In 1945 the 1922 Act was amended to provide for the establishment of classification committees to assist the Board in the regular classification of the APS and ensure that positions were correctly classified, both within and across departments. To aid consistency in classification of individual positions within employment groups, the Board progressively issued position classification standards for each employment group that identified component work levels, prescribed and other qualifications, the technology of the occupation and management aims.
From 1961 to 1980s Following the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission's Engineers' judgement The Board's powers to create, abolish and reclassify positions were devolved to secretaries of departments and agency heads. Central agency responsibilities focused on the design and development of classification structures and tools, and the monitoring and review of classification trends.
From 1987 to 1990 Under the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission's national wage case principles The Administrative Service Officer employment category replaced over 100 separate office-based occupational classifications and 180 pay points. All technical and drafting classifications were integrated into a six-level classification structure, while a ten level structure replaced 1,760 award classifications in the trades and related grades area.
In 1998 Following the introduction of agency-level bargaining A common APS-wide classification structure for non-SES employees was introduced in the same form as it exists today. The common classification structure was intended to replace 13 structures and 81 classification levels below the SES.
Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018