In recent years, the structure of government departments and agencies has created confused responsibilities, duplication and waste.
The changes to departmental structure announced today will simplify the management of government business, create clear lines of accountability and ensure that departments deliver on the Government’s key priorities.
Responsibility for customs and border control policy will move from the Attorney‑General’s portfolio to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to ensure stronger integration of border protection resources.
The Customs and Border Protection Service will also now report to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Settlement services for migrants and humanitarian entrants will be moved from the immigration department to the Department of Social Services. This is a sensible reform that will deliver synergies with broader community services delivery.
The Education and Employment functions of the Commonwealth will be split into two departments providing a more focused approach to two of the most important policy priorities of the government.
With the unemployment rate at its highest level in four years and with Treasury forecasting that the number of unemployed will rise to around 800,000 by the middle of next year, the Department of Employment will focus on ensuring that labour market programmes and workplace relations policy are working in concert to support job creation and increase workforce participation.
The Department of Education will focus on building a world class education system that puts students first.
The Department of Social Services will take up responsibility for ageing and aged care and all programs for people with a disability. The Department will also take on responsibility for all income support arrangements for working age people, in addition to its current responsibilities for Commonwealth pension payments.
The Social Inclusion Board will cease to operate and the Minister for Social Services will consider the arrangements for ministerial advisory councils that meet the needs of his portfolio.
Regional development, including local government and territories, will move to the Department of Infrastructure. This will strengthen the Government’s engagement with regional Australia.
The National Mental Health Commission will become the responsibility of the Minister for Health, allowing a greater engagement with the mental health policies and programmes managed by that portfolio. Sports policies and programmes will also be managed by the Department of Health to increase the focus on the importance of participation and exercise to improving health.
Arts will move to the Attorney-General’s portfolio in line with the appointment of Senator the Hon George Brandis QC as Minister for the Arts.
This means that the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport will no longer exist.
Climate change policies and programmes have been moved from the Industry Department to the Environment Department to bring together responsibility for the abolition of the carbon tax, the establishment of the Green Army, the creation of a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals and implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will take responsibility for leading Australia’s participation in climate change negotiations, bringing the right expertise to bear on the management of these negotiations.
I intend to recommend to the Governor-General that the Australian Agency for International Development be integrated into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, enabling the aid and diplomatic arms of Australia’s international policy agenda to be more closely aligned.
Resources, energy and domestic tourism will become the responsibility of the Department for Industry. This means that the industry portfolio’s focus on building a more efficient, competitive and innovative economy includes some of our largest industries. There will no longer be a separate Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
Responsibility for international tourism promotion will move to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This will enhance the relationship between Austrade and Tourism Australia. I want the rest of the world to know that Australia is under new management and open for business.
Small business will now have a strong voice in Cabinet. Policy responsibility for Small Business will sit with the Treasury. Responsibility for the delivery of programmes will remain with the Industry Department.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will take on responsibility for indigenous affairs, deregulation and the Office for Women. This will ensure that these key whole-of-government priorities are at the centre of government.
The revised Administrative Arrangements Orders are available here:
Prime Minister Office
18 September 2013