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Chapter 1: Commitment to service

2019-20 profoundly impacted the Australian community and the Australian Public Service.

Following a long and devastating bushfire season, a global pandemic with severe health, social and economic impacts arrived. To support Australians through crisis the APS was able to adjust rapidly, at scale, reforming in real-time to help deliver through crisis, and into recovery.

In a changed world the essential role of the APS was reinforced to ensure a mobile, flexible and adaptive workforce, dedicated to serving the public, Government and Parliament.

‘Your extraordinary efforts are protecting Australians…Public service has never meant more than now…the focus of all agencies, departments and their employees will be on delivering those critical services that the Australian public is relying on us for.’

– Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Scott Morrison MP[2]

The data, case studies and insights from 2019-20 provide a window into how the APS adopted new ways of working over the past year. This report shares lessons learned to assist the APS to continue to adapt. And it shows how the resilience of individuals has been tested through back-to-back crises, at the same time as grappling with changing personal circumstances and protecting the health of family, friends and communities.

[2] The Hon Scott Morrison MP. (2020). Video message to the APS. In PM&C whole-of-government submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19.