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What is the public service?

27 September 2018

Review Chair David Thodey speaks about the aim of the review and the broad work of the Australian Public Service. 


Our Australian Public Service is one of the best in the world. This broad review is not about fixing a specific problem, this is about getting ahead of what the future might hold for us all.

I think it’s very easy to underestimate the size and scope of this great institution: 

  • over 150,000 employees
  • 18 departments of state, nearly 100 agencies and authorities 
  • and they have a significant presence right across Australia and overseas

And of course they have this enormous responsibility, you know really of an enormous range of work:

  • providing world class advice to government
  • delivering well over $170 billion in payments
  • providing advice to 4.4 million users of business.gov.au each year
  • and of course the many digital and telephone transactions Australians need every year – over 700 million

There really is no other organisation in Australia which is so diverse or has such an impact. Our public servants truly have an impact on our lives at home and at work. 

They shape our democracy, economy and society - where we vote, how we operate as a business, how we invest in our country, how we look after people, and how our laws define how to live and operate.