Go to top of page

The Commission in brief, 2017–18

The Australian Public Service Commission is a non-corporate Commonwealth agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. Its statutory responsibilities, which are detailed in the Public Service Act 1999, include the following:

  • developing, promoting, reviewing and evaluating Australian Public Service employment policies and practices
  • contributing to learning and development and career management
  • contributing to and fostering leadership in the Australian Public Service
  • providing advice and assistance on public service matters to agencies
  • promoting high standards of integrity and conduct in the Australian Public Service.

The Commission supports two statutory office holders—the Public Service Commissioner, who is the agency head, and the Merit Protection Commissioner. Their functions are set out in sections 41 and 50 of the Public Service Act.

The Public Service Commissioner makes staff available to assist the Merit Protection Commissioner in performing her prescribed functions. The Merit Protection Commissioner’s annual report follows the appendixes to this report.

The Public Service Commission also provides secretariat support to the Remuneration Tribunal and the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.

This report’s financial statements incorporate the activities of the Public Service Commissioner, the Merit Protection Commissioner and the two tribunals.

Our minister

During 2017–18 the Commission’s minister changed from Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Jobs and Innovation, to the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service.

Staff and budget

At 30 June 2018 the Commission had 199 employees. It received $22.8 million in departmental appropriation funding in 2017–18 and $20.9 million in fee-for-service revenue.

Organisational structure

Figure 1 shows the Commission’s organisational structure at 30 June 2018.

Note: at 30 June 2018, Mr Bruce Barbour was acting Merit Protection Commission while Ms Waugh was on leave.

Purpose, outcome and program structure

The Commission’s purpose, planned outcome and corporate goals are set out in its 2017–18 Portfolio Budget Statements (available at www.pmc.gov.au) and its 2017–18 Corporate Plan (available at www.apsc.gov.au).

Our purpose is to create a high-performing Australian Public Service that delivers quality results for government, business and the community and to make genuine and enduring changes to the way the APS operates.

Our planned outcome is to increase awareness and adoption of best-practice public administration by the Public Service through leadership, promotion, advice and professional development, drawing on research and evaluation (Outcome 1, PBS). The Commission works to achieve this through two PBS programs:

1.1: Australian Public Service Commission

1.2: Parliamentarians’ and Judicial Office Holders’ Remuneration and Entitlements.

  • The Corporate Plan builds on and complements the PBS and identifies four corporate goals that reflect the priorities of Program 1.1:
  • modernising the employment framework
  • shaping the APS workforce
  • building workforce capability
  • promoting integrity.

Reporting on performance

The Commission seeks to achieve its purpose, planned outcome and goals by meeting its commitments and performance measures, as detailed in its 2017–18 Corporate Plan and the PBS.

Our annual performance statements (see pages 11 to 30) detail our achievements during the reporting year and the extent to which we met our performance measures, as set out in the Corporate Plan and the PBS.

The close links between the PBS and the Corporate Plan mean that some of our performance measures are reflected in both documents. For greater clarity, our performance statements identify the source of each performance measure by publication and page number.

Funding and financial performance

The Commission’s activities are funded through a combination of appropriation and fee-for-service revenue.

Revenue is generated through the sale of leadership programs, learning and development courses, employment services and international capacity-building programs funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Much of this revenue is earned in a competitive market in which agencies choose the source and level of the services they purchase.

As noted, in 2017–18 the Commission received $22.8 million in departmental appropriation funding and $20.9 million in fee-for-service revenue.

The Commission’s operating result for 2017–18 was a deficit of $1.2 million. This result includes the effects of the government’s net cash funding arrangement, whereby depreciation expenses are no longer funded by an appropriation. Excluding this factor, the Commission delivered an underlying operating surplus of $0.3 million as a result of prudent management of its financial resources.

Payments of $33.3 million were made from the special appropriation for the Parliamentarians’ and Judicial Office Holders’ Remuneration and Entitlements administered program.

Departmental expenses were $1.9 million higher than the budget estimate as a result of additional fee-for-service activities. Administered expenses were $32.1 million lower than the budget estimate as a result of the program no longer funding the remuneration of parliamentarians, which from 1 January 2018 has been funded by the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017, reported on by the Department of Finance.

Table 1 summarises the Commission’s financial performance for 2017–18. It should be read in conjunction with Table A2 (see Appendix A).

Table 1: The Commission’s financial performance: a summary


Budget estimate
($ million)

Actual result
($ million)



Program 1.1: Australian Public Service Commission



Total departmental





Program 1.2: Parliamentarians’ and Judicial Office Holders’ Remuneration, Allowances and Entitlements



Total administered



Total for Outcome 1



Last reviewed: 
18 October 2018