1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Government >> Public service



An essential part of government in Australia is the public service that exists at each level. The total number of such employees at November 2006 was 1,692,300 persons, or approximately 16% of the entire Australian workforce.


Public servants are employed by:

  • Commonwealth departments of state, such as the Department of Defence
  • state departments, such as education departments
  • territory departments, such as the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory Departments of Chief Minister
  • parliamentary departments - Commonwealth, state and territory
  • the staff of members of parliament
  • ministerial staff
  • government-owned companies
  • statutory authorities, such as the various state electricity authorities
  • local government employees.


There are three main functions performed by the public service agencies:
  • policy advice
  • the oversight of policy implementation
  • the provision of the administrative machinery required to deliver the policies of the relevant government or agency.

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