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Machinery of Government changes: A guide

Key message

A MoG change can lead to the movement of a Commonwealth function from a Commonwealth agency that is not an Australian Public Service (APS) agency (i.e. an agency that does not operate under the Public Service Act 1999) to an APS agency.

1. Agencies are expected to implement change in a way that is consistent with the principles outlined in the Executive Summary.

2. This page provides additional information for agencies when functions, staff and resources are moved to an Australian Public Service (APS) agency from a non-APS Commonwealth agency.

3. Organisations moving into the APS are encouraged to consult the Department of Finance (Finance) and the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) early in the process to discuss the move.

Movement of people

Legislative basis

4. Section 72(1)(c) of the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act) gives the Australian Public Service Commissioner (the Commissioner) the authority to move an employee from a non- APS Commonwealth agency to an APS agency. See People Management.

5. Agencies are advised to consider whether any additional legislation is needed to facilitate the movement of staff into the APS, for example, in specific legislation concerning the move.

Terms and Conditions

6. Where an employee from a non-APS Commonwealth agency moves to an APS Commonwealth agency their terms and conditions of employment may be varied following consultation [Public Service Regulation 1999– Regulation 8.2(2)].

7. Section 24(1) of the PS Act gives agency heads the authority to vary the terms and conditions of employment for agency employees. See Pay and Conditions.

Excess staff

8. Where the gaining agency indicates that it will require fewer staff to perform the function that is moved, management of excess staff will be part of negotiations between the agencies. Excess employees need to be identified as early as possible.

Working in the APS

The Public Service Act 1999

9. The principal act governing the employment, management and leadership of the Australian Public Service is the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act).

10. More information on subordinate legislation and other relevant legislation can be found at the Legislative Framework for the APS.

11. Section 20 of the Act gives an APS agency head, on behalf of the Commonwealth, all the rights, duties and powers of an employer in respect of APS employees in the agency. This includes engaging and promoting staff and terminating employment.

Workplace relations

12. APS agency heads are responsible for managing workplace relations matters with their employees consistent with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). Agency agreements and other instruments setting terms and conditions of employment must be consistent with the Government's employment and workplace relations policies, including the Government's Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018.

13. For non-Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, agencies are able to adopt any form of workplace arrangement/s which suit their business needs. Where an agency is considered a change to its current arrangements, the agency should advise the APS Commissioner before proceeding. Agencies may implement separate workplace arrangements for Executive Level and equivalent employees that recognise their management responsibilities.

14. For SES employees and their equivalents, terms and conditions of employment are set through individual arrangements, either common law arrangements or through a determination made under s.24(1) of the PS Act.

Other matters

15. Gaining APS agencies are expected to conduct detailed induction program for employees new to the APS, to cover key features of working in the APS, including:

  • APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct
  • APS employment framework described in the Public Service Act 1999; and
  • obligations under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

Governance and Financial Management

16. For governance arrangements, please email, Governance.Policy [at] finance.gov.au.

17. For funding arrangements, please email annual.appropriations [at] finance.gov.au.

18. For banking arrangements, please email Banking.Policy [at] finance.gov.au.

19. For financial reporting arrangements, please email accountingpolicy [at] finance.gov.au.