1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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An essential part of government in Australia is the public service that exists at each level. The total number of public sector employees at June 2010 was 1,843,500 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 the Chief Minister
  • parliamentary departments – Commonwealth, state and territory
  • the staff of members of parliament
  • government-owned companies
  • statutory authorities, such as the various state electricity authorities, and
  • local government.


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


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.