1370.0.00.002 - Measures of Australia's Progress - Aspirations for our Nation: A Conversation with Australians about Progress , 2011-12  
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APPENDIX D – A selection of government department mission statements

Attorney-General’s Department

The Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department serves the people of Australia by providing essential expert support to the Government in the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s system of law and justice and its national security and emergency management systems.
The Department is the central policy and coordinating element of the Attorney-General’s portfolio for which the Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs are responsible.
The mission of the Attorney-General’s Department is achieving a just and secure society. In pursuing this mission, the Department works towards achieving three outcomes:

  • An equitable and accessible system of federal civil justice.
  • Coordinated federal criminal justice, security and emergency management activity, for a safer Australia.
  • Assisting regions to manage their futures.
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s role is to develop and implement policies and programs that ensure Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable. It’s policies and programs encourage and support sustainable natural resource use and management, protect the health and safety of plant and animal industries, and enable industries to adapt to compete in a fast-changing international and economic environment. They also help improve market access and market performance for the agricultural and food sector, encourage and assist industries to adopt new technology and practices, and assist primary producers and the food industry to develop business and marketing skills, and to be financially self-reliant.

Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy

The Department focuses on transforming the structure of telecommunications, switching over to digital television and enhancing the broadcasting sector, realising the digital economy and enabling a good consumer experience.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

The Department is accountable to the Australian Government, Parliament and to the public and has the objectives:
  • To educate and build socially inclusive communities where all Australians have the opportunity to reach their full potential and to actively participate in a rewarding economic and social life.
  • To build and promote individual development through equitable and accessible education from early childhood services to skills training and higher education.
  • To increase workforce participation and promote fair and productive work practices.
  • To develop national economic potential and capability that builds future economic prosperity and international competitiveness through skills development and employment growth.
  • To actively engage with clients and stakeholders to ensure services, advice and resources respond to the needs of these groups.
  • To look for efficiencies and innovative, targeted and effective solutions in developing national economic potential.
  • To provide children with access to culturally appropriate support, care and education throughout early childhood that will equip them for life and learning.
  • To support students to acquire knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy and make successful transitions to further education, training and work.
  • To establish world-class higher education and vocational education and training to allow people to become productive participants in the modern labour market.
  • To promote a participative and inclusive society with access to a wide range of services and financial support to help with overcoming barriers, developing new skills and knowledge, to gain employment and participate in society.
  • To support working arrangements where employers and employees can adopt flexible and modern arrangements that lead to mutually beneficial outcomes in Australian workplaces and for the economy.
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)

The Department’s purpose is to improve the lives of Australians by creating opportunities for economic and social participation by individuals, families and communities. FaHCSIA works closely with other government agencies, including Centrelink, to support the recovery of Australian individuals, families and communities following both domestic and international disasters. The focus of assistance is to enable people to re-establish their lives and communities. Assistance can take the form of individual and family ex-gratia payments and using existing community programs to contribute to strengthening local Australian communities.
FaHCSIA’s objectives include:
  • To close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • To build a modern social and income support system.
  • To provide better support and services for those in need.
  • To deliver family policy that best fosters the development, well-being and safety of children.
  • To reduce homelessness and make housing more affordable.
  • To promote women’s safety, economic security and participation.
Department of Finance and Deregulation

As a central agency of the Australian Government, the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) plays an important role in assisting government across a wide range of policy areas to ensure its outcomes are met, particularly with regard to expenditure and financial management, deregulation reform and the operations of government.
  • Outcome 1 – Informed decisions on Government finances and continuous improvement in regulation making through: budgetary management and advice; transparent financial reporting; a robust financial framework; and best practice regulatory processes.
  • Outcome 2 – Improved Government administration and operations through, systems, policy and advice on: procurement; Commonwealth property management and construction; government enterprises; risk management; and application of information and communications technology.
  • Outcome 3 – Support for Parliamentarians, others with entitlements and organisations as approved by Government through the delivery of entitlements and targeted assistance.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Department’s role involves working to strengthen Australia’s security; enhancing Australia’s prosperity; and helping Australian travellers and Australians overseas.
  • Outcome 1: The advancement of Australia’s international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian Government foreign and trade policy priorities
  • Outcome 2: The protection and welfare of Australians abroad and access to secure international travel documentation through timely and responsive travel advice and consular and passport services in Australia and overseas
  • Outcome 3: A secure Australian Government presence overseas through the provision of security services and information and communications technology infrastructure, and the management of the Commonwealth’s overseas owned estate.
Department of Health and Ageing

The Department strives to support better health and active ageing for all Australians. The Department of Health and Ageing’s objectives include:
  • To reduce incidence of preventable mortality and morbidity in Australia.
  • To create reliable, timely and affordable access to cost-effective medicines and Pharmaceutical Services.
  • To create access to high quality and affordable aged care and carer support services.
  • To create access to comprehensive, community based primary health care.
  • To improve access to health services for people living in rural, regional and remote Australia.
  • To improve hearing services to reduce incidence and consequence of hearing loss.
  • To improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to help close the gap in life expectancy and child mortality rates.
  • To ensure there is a choice in affordable, quality private health care services.
  • To improve long-term capacity, quality and safety of Australia’s health care system.
  • To improve mental health and suicide prevention.
  • To improve capacity, quality and mix of the health workforce.
  • To create better access to public hospitals, acute care services and public dental services.
  • To be well prepared to respond to national health emergencies and risks.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

The purpose of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is to ‘enrich Australia through the well managed entry and settlement of people’.DIAC is committed to ensuring that it is open and accountable, deals fairly and reasonably with clients and has staff that are well trained and supported. The Department’s key objectives, as set out in The DIAC Plan are:
  • To manage the lawful and orderly entry and stay of people in Australia, including through effective border security.
  • To promote a society which values Australian citizenship, appreciates cultural diversity and enables migrants to participate equitably.
  • To contribute to Australia’s prosperity and well-being through well managed migration.
  • To respect human rights obligations towards refugees and asylum seekers and contribute to humanitarian policy internationally.
  • To deliver high levels of compliance with Australia’s migration and citizenship laws.
  • To support migrants and refugees to settle in the community and participate in Australian society.
  • To promote Australian citizenship and a multicultural Australia.
  • To build a stronger migration, visa and citizenship service that is effective, efficient and better targeted to support Australia’s migration programs and client needs.
Department of Infrastructure and Transport

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport contributes to the well-being of all Australians by assisting the Government to promote, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure and by fostering an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system.
Its purpose is to promote economic, social and regional development by enhancing Australia’s infrastructure and transport performance.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport plays a key role in:
  • Providing funding for transport infrastructure.
  • Providing a framework for competition between and within transport modes.
  • Promoting a transport system that is accessible, sustainable and environmentally responsible.
  • Ensuring information about relevant Government policies and programs is disseminated effectively across Australia.
Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism

Key objectives of the Department include:
  • Achieving strong economic growth.
  • Creating resilient and secure energy systems.
  • Ensuring equitable distribution of the benefits of Australia’s energy, resources and tourism industries.
  • Actively participating in a whole of government approach to domestic and international environmental policy.
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

The Australian Government Department of Sustainability,Environment,Water,Population and Communities develops and implements national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve Australia’s environment and heritage.

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Prime Minister & Cabinet has unique responsibilities and a privileged role. Its principal function is to provide high-quality policy advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on matters that are at the forefront of public and government administration, including domestic and international affairs and, in particular, the implications of proposals for Commonwealth-State relations. By looking over the horizon to the challenges and opportunities of the coming years, our high-level strategic advice further supports the government in taking all relevant factors into account to make the best possible decisions.

In line with the Prime Minister's expectations, PM & C is also assuming a stronger role in driving policy development and innovation and ensuring delivery of high-priority initiatives across the Australian Public Service, in pursuit of the government’s objectives.

In addition to its work in policy advice, innovation, coordination and implementation, it is the role of the Department:
  • To ensure that policy proposals put to the Prime Minister, other ministers in the portfolio, and to Cabinet are developed in a coherent, informed and coordinated fashion.
  • Where appropriate, to coordinate and monitor implementation and delivery of Government decisions, policies and priorities, recognising that ministers are responsible individually for the administration of their departments and collectively for matters decided by Cabinet.
  • To support the Prime Minister and the Government to manage the business of government in an efficient, effective and coordinated manner.
  • To provide administrative support to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary, the Cabinet and its committees.
  • To coordinate and facilitate government administration, intergovernmental relations and communications with State and Territory Governments.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs delivers government programs for war veterans, members of the Australian Defence Force, members of the Australian Federal Police and their dependants. The Department respects those who have served the nation and the members of the Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police. They uphold the values of the Australian Public Service in regards to integrity, honesty, fairness and openness which underpin their approach to achieve and maintain excellence in everything they do.

The Department reporting outcomes are:
  • Maintain and enhance the financial well-being and self-sufficiency of eligible persons and their dependants through access to income support, compensation, and other support services, including advice and information about entitlements.
  • Maintain and enhance the physical well-being and quality of life of eligible persons and their dependants through health and other care services that promote early intervention, prevention and treatment, including advice and information about health service entitlements.
  • Acknowledge and commemorate those who served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations through promoting recognition of service and sacrifice, preservation of Australia’s wartime heritage, and official commemorations.
The Treasury

The Treasury focuses primarily on economic policy. The department is divided into four groups, Fiscal, Macro-economic, Revenue and Markets, with support coming from the Corporate Services Group.

These groups were established to meet four policy outcomes:
  • Sound macro-economic environment:
The Treasury monitors and assesses economic conditions and prospects, both in Australia and overseas, and provides advice on the formulation and implementation of effective macro-economic policy, including monetary and fiscal policy, and labour market issues.
  • Effective government spending and taxation arrangements:
The Treasury provides advice on budget policy issues, trends in Commonwealth revenue and major fiscal and financial aggregates, major expenditure programmes, taxation policy, retirement income, Commonwealth-State financial policy and actuarial services.
  • Effective taxation and retirement income arrangements:
The Treasury provides advice and assists in the formulation and implementation of government taxation and retirement income policies and legislation as well as providing information on material changes to taxation revenue forecasts and projections.
  • Well-functioning markets:
The Treasury provides advice on policy processes and reforms that promote a secure financial system and sound corporate practices, remove impediments to competition in product and services markets and safeguard the public interest in matters such as consumer protection and foreign investment.