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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

and relevant.

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

Australian community.

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.