Open letter to the Australian Public Service

Friday, 04 May 2018
Publication author(s):
Secretaries Board, Australian Public Service
Publication abstract:

Dear colleagues

As the 20 members of the Secretaries Board, we are proud to lead a workforce that strives for excellence and cares about delivering for all Australians.

We work in a system shaped by the 1974-76 Coombs Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration. Much has changed since then. With this in mind, we are pleased to share the news that the Prime Minister has commissioned a major review of the APS, which will report in the first half of 2019.

The terms of reference set out the Prime Minister’s expectations that the APS should:

  • drive innovation and productivity in the economy;
  • deliver high quality policy advice, regulatory oversight, programs and services;
  • tackle complex challenges in collaboration with the community, business and citizens;
  • ensure our domestic, foreign, trade and security interests are coordinated and well managed;
  • improve citizens’ experience of government and deliver fair outcomes for them; and
  • acquire and maintain the necessary skills and expertise to fulfil its responsibilities.

The review will be led by a panel of experts with experience in the public and private sectors, in academia, in Australia and overseas. The panel Chair, Mr David Thodey AO, is a former Chief Executive Officer of Telstra and current Chairman of the CSIRO. Importantly, he is also an external member of the Secretaries APS Reform Committee, which has stewardship of a range of significant more immediate public sector reforms already underway.

The APS, like any organisation, must adapt to change and strive for improvement. This review provides the opportunity for a thorough assessment of our long term needs. We expect the review will consult widely, both across and beyond the APS. We encourage you to participate and share your views in a frank and fearless manner.

Our workforce has a well-deserved reputation for being professional and highly effective. We are confident the APS will build on this proud history over the coming decades, with the skills and capabilities to thrive in an increasingly complex operating environment. This includes ensuring all public servants have opportunities for challenging and meaningful work that makes a difference to Australians’ lives.

We look forward to seeing the review’s findings and working with you to bring this vision to life. Further information on the review, including the terms of reference, is at

Yours sincerely,

Secretaries Board

Frances Adamson
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Chris Moraitis PSM
Attorney-General’s Department
Glenys Beauchamp PSM
Department of Health
Greg Moriarty
Department of Defence
Michele Bruniges AM
Department of Education and Training
Mike Mrdak AO
Department of Communications and the Arts
Kathryn Campbell CSC
Department of Social Services
Martin Parkinson AC PSM
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
John Fraser
The Treasury
Michael Pezzullo
Department of Home Affairs
Kerri Hartland
Department of Jobs and Small Business
Finn Pratt AO PSM
Department of Environment and Energy
Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Department of Finance
Daryl Quinlivan
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Steven Kennedy PSM
Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
Heather Smith
PSM Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Renée Leon PSM
Department of Human Services
Nick Warner
Office of National Assessments
Simon Lewis PSM
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The Hon. John Lloyd PSM
Australian Public Service Commissioner


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