Please see attached.
Submission to the APS review:
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the review of the Australian Public Service. As a
current public servant, I personally cherish being part of creating positive change and contributing
to the flourishing of Australia.
With this in mind, there are a few things I would like to see changed that could make the APS an
environment that truly breeds innovative solutions to bigger issues that aﬀect all Australians to
varying degrees, by creating an environment responsive to public need that is ready and future
focussed for the decades ahead. To achieve this I have a few ideas to contribute for
consideration. These ideas could be summed up under the following topics:
• Creating a dynamic workforce
• Simplifying reporting and administration (reducing red and beige tape)
• Diversity and inclusion
• Innovation and human advancement
Creating a dynamic workforce
During the past seven years that I’ve been employed in the APS I’ve been involved with two
Machinery of Government changes. (MoGs). Both of these MoGs were disruptive for staﬀ and
management particularly from an operational and public perspective. They were also an
extraordinarily expensive use of public funds with little return on investment too.
I’ve also noticed that departments have invariably had to cut staﬀ numbers across the APS and
deploying various staﬀ attrition strategies to meet FTE, ASL or productivity dividends.
To address theses issues, I would like you to consider the possibility of centralising the APS
workforce under a central agency that would become the employer of the entire APS workforce.
By centralising the APS workforce it would enable more control to be cast over needs based
Human Resources. It would mean that employees of the APS would no longer become
department centric and would encourage a whole of APS mentality meaning employees would be
more engaged in observing and acting within the scope of how their skills are able to be deployed
across the whole APS enabling APS staﬀ to observe and be aware of how their actions aﬀect
government outcomes, building accountability into what we do through observable cause and
To manage the workforce APS employees would be deployed on SES request across any
department where the skills of the staﬃng pool is most relevant to the need that the agency is
seeking to fill. Almost like a recruitment agency for want of a better analogy.
Benefits are that there would be better control of APS human resourcing. It will remove
department centricity amongst departmental staﬀ. Reduce costs and increase mobility and agility
of the APS workforce. It would encourage staﬀ to ensure their skills are kept regularly updated
This approach would also allow faster and more eﬀective transfer of staﬃng resources to be
allocated across the APS on short notice and make the nature of APS employment more fluid for
agencies and staﬀ. Making it easier to move between agencies for staﬀ. Whilst APS oﬃcers will
remain permanently employed the agency they’re working with will become more fluid resulting in
staﬀ movement becoming transient.
It will build new opportunities for staﬀ, encourage diversity within the APS, prevent stagnation of
staﬀ, eliminate deadwood and obliterate personal fiefdoms and the issues that ensue this
scenario. Whilst allowing resources to be quickly called upon in urgent or emergency situations. It
would also round individuals skills, whilst also ensuring corporate knowledge is still accessible.
The list of benefits goes on and on.
Simplifying reporting and administration (reducing red and beige tape)
Is there any way to simplify the way that financial responsibilities and procurement can be
simplified to eliminate red and beige tape? As a public servant I find it one of the most confusing
aspects of being a public servant. Worst still there are significant penalties for getting financial
reporting wrong with the threat of gaol time in severe cases or embarrassing your department in
There has to be a better way to manage the administration of public funds. Unfortunately I don’t
have the answer but wish I did.
Diversity and inclusion
Whilst a large number of departments and agencies have staﬀ diversity and inclusion networks.
No diversity or staﬀ inclusion network has the delegated authority through their terms of reference
to contribute to the development of public policy through the consultation process.
As a person who identifies as LGBTI I have been frustrated by the fact that as public servants our
voices, knowledge, opinions and lived experience are ignored in stakeholder engagement and
policy formulation process. Public servants are generally considered as part of the 1% of the
population in policy development terms that could be considered as part of the attentive and
informed. We’re also tax payers meaning we’re acutely aware of the potential eﬀect that our work
has on the community.
Whilst inclusion networks are managed by people branches and serve to allow minority cohorts to
bring their whole selves to work, they only serve to address issues of workplace visibility and
issues that relate to human resourcing issues. I personally don’t need to feel validated in the
workplace by being visible. As an LGBTI person I need validation through policies that improve
lifetime wellbeing for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
Whilst diversity networks are a good idea, I’d also like to see diversity mini think tanks within
departments that can collect data and research and feedback ideas and recommendations to
departmental policy and program areas within departments. This could also be centrally
coordinated by the APSC as a means to link diﬀerent departmental mini think tanks so that cross
APS collaboration can occur.
Additionally I believe the APS desperately needs the creation of an LGBTI policy branch within the
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s social diversity division where every other minority
cohort is represented. Every other except the LGBTI community.
Sadly one thing I have noticed is that there is currently not one program or policy area that exists
within any commonwealth department or agency that exists to address issues that aﬀect the
LGBTI community. Not one. Whilst LGBTI people are estimated to make up around 10 11% of the
Meanwhile Indigenous populations who make up around 6% of the population have
representation in a number of program and policy areas across a number of APS agencies (and
rightly they should).
Women are represented with the oﬃce for women among a number of other areas including
PM&S’s social policy division.
Disabled and diﬀerently abled people are represented in the DPMC, DHS, and DSS as well as the
NDIS. Yet make up 20% of the population.
Multicultural people are represented through DPMC and Home Aﬀairs and more.
Whilst the LGBTI community is literally ignored leaving me to wonder is this deliberate? I can’t
possibly be the first person to have recognised this issue.
An LGBTI program and policy area should address issues such as:
Community and religious stigma. In the same way as multicultural communities address religious
stigma the LGBTI community suﬀers the reverse stigma by religious organisations and to an
extent by extension governments too. Its time that the LGBTI community and religious
organisations sat down and sorted our issues out.
Mental health, poor mental health in the LGBTI community is a driver for the high incidence of
body dysmorphia, suicidal ideation and suicide, anxiety disorders and more caused due to
discrimination usually occurring from an early age. It is also telling that the LGBTI community is
where a high prevalence of illicit drug use occurs caused by community stigma manifesting in
poor self worth and poor mental health. Where drug use usually results in a compounding of the
mental health issues and thus a vicious cycle ensues. Again drug use is another area to address.
High prevalence of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Statistics from the Kirby institute
indicate that up to 85% of people living with HIV in Australia are gay men. Yet the government
leaves the responsibility of addressing HIV as an issue for community organisations or the states
to address whilst in some ways this solution does work, deployment of more tools and resources
from within the APS are needed.
The good news is that The government and APS shouldn’t be scared and choose to shy away
from it choosing to reply on only states and the not for profit sector to address it the issue as the
area of HIV is an interesting and exciting. Australia is in the unique position where if addressed
properly we have the very real potential to become the first country in the world to contain HIV
and virtually eradicate it. The Kirby institute released figures in 2016 indicating there are 26,444
people living With HIV in Australia with the Average cost to the health system in medication being
$1million per case for treatment over a lifetime. Most recent figures indicate that there are on
average 1,000 to 1,200 new cases reported each year. Meaning the cost is going up. However
data since the addition Pre exposure prophylaxis medication to prevent acquisition of HIV since
its listing one the PBS isn’t yet available, however it is expected to be a significant factor in
reducing numbers. On the flip side the instance of other treatable STIs is on the increase. The
rates of STIs within the LGBTI population is an issue which could be tackled by an LGBTI policy
and program area. Why do we not have an LGBTI immunisation program we badly need
something of this type.
There are many more issues that aﬀect the LGBTI community such as the Trans community
having one of the lowest employment rates of any community cohort, homelessness of young
LGBTI people these are all issues that require redress, a program and policy area is needed to
address thieve and many more issues that aﬀect the LGBTI community. The interesting this is that
the LGBTI community includes all other cohorts as well, women, multicultural, indigenous,
disabled, and the elderly. Linking policies and making policies inclusive and not exclusive as so
often is the case now is the only way to see a flourishing Australia.
Interestingly due to the stigma and discrimination of past generations we also need to do a
significant amount of social research on the LGBTI as there are certain to be more aspects to the
community that could provide insights into issues that aﬀect other sectors of the broader
By building more inclusive policy and program processes we will build policies and programs that
address the needs of all communities not just some whilst ignoring others. This will allow us to be
fairer, and create incentives for everyone to be their best.
Innovation and human advancement
As a public servant who is involved in the government’s innovation agenda I’d like to see the
policy ideas included as part of innovation within the APS as at the end of the day policy
especially social policy is akin to social innovation.
Too often innovation considered a tired bus word. However, It has a deep and useful purpose as a
business management function, too often though when it is taken seriously its considered as a
thoughtful use of technology however things like the NDIS and medicare are exceptional
examples of positive world leading disruptive innovation. We as a nation really do under estimate
our capability to innovate.
As a means to build recognition and realisation of the benefits of innovation in the APS I really
want to see some way for people like me to contribute to innovation and policy. I work in a
Communication based role so when I come up with a left of field idea I have nowhere to share it.
Some of my ideas are really out there and completely left of field but they’re almost always based
on evidence based research. I’d like to find a way to share these ideas particularly things like
policy or program ideas because currently not even the Department of Industry, Innovation and
Science is equipped for this.
At this point I’m about to launch a blog to share my ideas but I’d prefer to share them where they
will make a diﬀerence.
In conclusion I would like to thank you for your time in considering my submission. I do hope what
was contained herein is able to be applied in some way.