Corporate Plan 2019-2023
This Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (PM&C) Corporate Plan for 2019–20 to 2022–23, sets out how we intend to deliver on our responsibilities, and addresses our operating environment, our people and capability, our risk management and oversight and our key activities and performance measures.
The Corporate Plan is prepared in accordance with paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and can be read in conjunction with PM&C’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2019–20.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (PM&C) mission is to improve the lives of all Australians. We do this by delivering high-quality and timely advice to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and our portfolio ministers. We draw upon the expertise of agencies in the Australian Public Service (APS), Australian jurisdictions and international partners. We seek to add unique value to these perspectives by leveraging our close understanding of the Prime Minister’s priorities, our whole-of-government perspective and the diverse skills and expertise of our people.
The Prime Minister has made clear his high expectations for the APS – a service that is professional, capable, flexible, technology-enabled, citizen-focused, open to outsiders and considers diverse viewpoints, both within and without. The Prime Minister’s expectations are framed by his recognition that modern government is hard – that change is ever-present and public expectations have never been greater. This will require the APS to continue to evolve and adapt. PM&C must be at the forefront of the evolution. We must be active, not passive. We must pull together our breadth of expertise, experience and exposure to ensure that the advice we provide is proactive, comprehensive and practical.
In 2019–20, my Department will support the APS to deliver on its enduring responsibilities and to meet the Prime Minister’s expectations. Good advice begins by understanding and appreciating the Government’s objectives. We will work to ensure all members of the APS have a clear line of sight between what they do, those objectives, and achieving outcomes for the Australian public.
As Chair of the Secretaries Board of the APS, I will work with my colleagues to shape the bureaucracy and hierarchy to achieve better outcomes – we need to set real targets for delivery, measure progress, and invest in our people and the tools that help us do our best work. We need to recognise and act to ensure our co-ordinating and convening responsibilities are more than just process, they are vehicles to achieve coherence, completeness and consistency in policies across Government.
This Corporate Plan, for the reporting period 2019–20 to 2022–23, sets out how we intend to deliver on all these responsibilities, and addresses our operating environment, our people and capability, our risk management and oversight and our key activities and performance measures. It is prepared in accordance with paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and can be read in conjunction with PM&C’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2019–20.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PM&C is shaped by our need to support the Prime Minister in his multitude of roles – as the leader of the Government, as the head of the public service, as Chair of the Cabinet and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), and internationally as head of the Australian Government.
We recognise and promote the whole-of-government perspective that comes from our unique policy coordination role; we provide a nationwide perspective that comes from our central advising role in the COAG forum and through our understanding of what the Prime Minister needs and how he wants things done. We also bring to bear our expertise on government process itself, given the long history and understanding we have of Cabinet process and conventions, Parliamentary practice and Executive Council support.
Governance in a democracy is demanding, change is ever-present and public expectations of elected governments have never been greater. PM&C is in a privileged position which allows, and requires, us to link up complex issues in order to build our understanding and anticipate outcomes, to effectively co-ordinate across government and to support the Prime Minister in all his responsibilities.
We operate in a fast-paced environment, spanning the full range of activities – domestic and international – in which the Australian Government is engaged. In an increasingly interconnected landscape it is critical that we maintain visibility of the full context to ensure we are providing robust advice on issues that cross portfolios and jurisdictions. In our oversight of the delivery of the Government’s priorities we bring discipline and structure to ensure their implementation remains on track.
We are also at a point of change after the establishment of the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) and the associated movement of staff. PM&C’s core focus is once again on its central agency role, but we have been enhanced by the experience of our responsibility for Indigenous affairs and we will maintain strong links with those developing and implementing Indigenous policy and programs.
PM&C’s success is dependent on the quality of our workforce. Our people are the key to how the Department will continue to deliver a high standard of service and respond to transformational changes, a complex operating environment and technological developments.
We strive for excellence in everything we do. Making sure we have the right people and investing in them, promoting inclusion and diversity, collaborating, and enhancing our digital capability allows us to deliver.
We seek the best and brightest from across the APS and beyond, leveraging their diversity and expertise on a range of policies and programs, to provide robust, cogent and well-rounded advice to the Prime Minister. In turn we equip our people with experience and insights from the centre of government; skills that add value to them for performing future roles. Using a strengths-based performance management approach, we maximise the diverse experiences and strengths our people bring. Our capability investment and wellbeing strategy are focused on enabling our people to thrive in a fast-paced and high-profile environment.
Collaboration is a critical enabler for PM&C. We can only effectively deliver policy coordination functions and whole-of-government advice to the Prime Minister by working collaboratively within PM&C, across the APS, and with other sectors and jurisdictions.
We provide simple and secure access to information, strive for flexible working arrangements, and ensure that our leaders and stakeholders can engage with quality advice whenever and wherever they need it.
In short, we take the right people, value and develop their skills and experience, and give them the right settings to provide the best quality advice to the Government.
The environment in which we operate is complex, multi-layered and susceptible to rapid change. In order for us to accomplish our mission, we must engage with risk. The Department’s approach to risk management focuses on deliberate and practical environment scanning, the identification of real risks and opportunities and the development of sustainable mitigation strategies. These are essential underpinnings to provide a willingness to pursue considered risks and manage them.
The risks with which PM&C engages fall into three primary categories:
- risk to our staff;
- risk to the critical enablers of government for which we are responsible; and
- risks in the quality of the advice that we provide to the Government.
PM&C’s operating environment is by its nature fast-paced. To maintain this pace we must look after our staff. We have established a PM&C Wellbeing Strategy, a robust framework to promote physical and mental safety. Over the next 12 months we will focus on embedding this strategy in the day-to-day operations of the Department.
PM&C has a unique stewardship role to sustain and protect the core functions of the executive branch of Government, as well as supporting the legislative branch. These critical enabling functions, through our support to the Cabinet as well as the broader Ministry, require the maintenance of deep expertise, and robust systems and processes. Failure of these functions poses significant risk to the country, to the Government, and to the Department. We set our risk thresholds to ensure that these functions are secure.
In a world where the public service no longer functions as the only source of advice to government, the cost of poor quality policy advice is high. We must ensure that the advice we provide is comprehensive, robust and informed. We must build and maintain trust with all our stakeholders.
We adjust our risk threshold in relation to the criticality of certain issues – we will not tolerate anything but low risk for our people, but we must be willing to take opportunities. To do this better, we are adapting our risk management framework to genuinely support decision making, while ensuring compliance with the requirements of the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy.
Create economic growth and jobs
We support the Government to deliver sustainable economic growth and job creation, which improves the lives of Australians and helps individuals, families and communities.
PM&C achieves this by providing the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, portfolio ministers and assistant ministers with high-quality advice about policy choices and trade-offs in the context of evolving domestic, international and national security priorities. We also work with other Commonwealth agencies to ensure policy proposals are informed by a rigorous evidence base and high-quality impact analysis.
PM&C also supports the implementation of the Government’s agenda by monitoring and reporting to the Prime Minister, portfolio ministers and assistant ministers on the progress of key priorities.
In 2019–20 and over the forward estimates, PM&C will:
- Work to apply economic frameworks to complex policy problems so sustainable policy solutions are developed for the Government, to identify options to enhance the productivity of domestic businesses and to foster internationally competitive industries.
- Lead the Digital Technologies Taskforce to coordinate and drive the Government’s policies on digital technologies.
- Work with other Commonwealth agencies to provide holistic and timely advice on the Government’s $100 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline, including the delivery of priority projects such as the Western Sydney Airport, Inland Rail and Snowy Hydro 2.0.
- Support the Prime Minister, responsible ministers and agencies to deliver the National Vision for Vocational Education and Training.
- Support the Government in the implementation of its refreshed deregulation agenda, including through co-leading, with Treasury, the Deregulation Taskforce.
- Support the Government to implement its priorities in industrial relations, tax, transfers and superannuation policy, including through the Retirement Income Review.
- Work with central agencies to support the Prime Minister in the Budget process, including whole-of-government advice on new policy proposals considered by the Expenditure Review Committee.
- Support the Prime Minister in achieving the Government’s strategic priorities in areas that require Commonwealth-State cooperation.
- Support the Prime Minister to represent Australia in the G20 and other international forums to drive international cooperation and advance Australia’s national interests.
- Work as early as possible with agencies to identify policy problems and articulate the costs and benefits of all options where there may be major impacts on businesses or citizens.
|The Prime Minister, the Cabinet, responsible ministers and agencies receive high-quality and coordinated advice to inform policy development and support the implementation of the Government’s key priorities and activities.||
|Support the Expenditure Review Committee in decision making and assist the Government to deliver on its fiscal strategy.||Quality of advice received supports the Expenditure Review Committee in its decision making and assists the Government to deliver on its fiscal strategy.|
|Assist COAG to deliver on its priorities by ensuring good governance of the COAG system.||Quality of advice received supports good governance of the COAG system.|
|Support the Government to develop and prosecute its trade, foreign investment, and G20 objectives.||Quality of advice received supports the Government in developing and prosecuting its trade, foreign investment, and G20 objectives, while protecting Australia’s national interests.|
|Ensure Government decisions are fully informed of the direct impacts of major policy proposals using evidence and the input of affected stakeholders.||
Deliver for regional Australia and the environment
PM&C works with Commonwealth agencies to provide high-quality, influential and timely advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on policies and reforms to support regional communities to build resilience and unlock their growth potential. The Government’s focus for the regions is connectivity (infrastructure and digital), skills and human capital, and access to education and health care.
Supporting drought-affected communities remains one of the Government’s most urgent priorities. To do this we work with Commonwealth agencies, state and territory governments, and community and industry representative bodies. We provide advice on assistance and policies that will help farmers and communities manage drought, maintain our biosecurity regime and respond to the impacts of a changing climate.
PM&C supports the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency (NQLIRA) in its efforts to deliver a long-term plan for the recovery and reconstruction of flood affected areas in North Queensland. We support the Government’s National Soils Advocate to protect, restore and maintain the health of the Australian agriculture landscape. We work with Commonwealth agencies to deliver sustainable water infrastructure, including the establishment of the National Water Grid Authority.
We provide policy advice to help protect Australia’s environment and heritage and to reduce emissions. We jointly lead the National Waste and Recycling Taskforce, focusing the national effort on reducing waste, increasing recycling and reuse, and moving Australia towards a more circular economy.
In 2019–20 and over the forward estimates, PM&C will:
- Through our role co-leading the National Waste and Recycling Taskforce, work to give effect to the COAG commitment to establish a timetable to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, while building Australia’s capacity to generate high-value recycled commodities and associated demand.
- Continue to support Commonwealth agencies to deliver the Government’s water infrastructure priorities, which aim to provide regional communities, farmers and industries with more secure, reliable and cost-effective water supplies.
- Collaborate with Commonwealth agencies and state and territory governments to refresh the Northern Australia strategy.
- Support Commonwealth agencies (including NQLIRA) to deliver on the Government’s plan and the Prime Minister’s priority to support farmers and regional communities respond to the drought now, and strengthen Australia’s preparedness and resilience for future droughts.
- Support the National Soils Advocate in his efforts to progress the national objective to protect, restore and maintain the health of the Australian agricultural landscape and to guarantee a food secure nation and sustainable farming communities.
|PM&C provides advice and practical recommendations to assist the Prime Minister in building consensus through COAG to implement, monitor and enforce an export ban on waste plastic, glass and tyres.||Quality of advice received supports the Prime Minister in his leadership role, as chair of COAG, to shift the underlying economic and regulatory barriers to waste avoidance, reuse and recycling.|
|The Prime Minister, the Cabinet, responsible ministers and agencies receive coordinated advice to inform policy development and support the implementation of the Government’s key priorities and activities.||
|PM&C supports NQLIRA and delivers regular updates to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on the drought response and implementation of reforms that support preparedness and resilience.||Quality and timeliness of advice received supports the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to respond to on-the-ground drought conditions.|
|PM&C, in collaboration with Commonwealth agencies, delivers policy advice and support to progress the National Soils Advocate’s Terms of Reference.||The National Soils Advocate is satisfied that he receives the advice and support necessary to effectively progress his work and contribute his expertise and advice to relevant ministers.|
Support individuals, families and communities to thrive
PM&C supports the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and portfolio ministers by providing high-quality advice on policy development and implementation strategies that support Australian individuals, families and communities to thrive.
We focus our advice on improving service delivery, citizen engagement and customer service in the areas of education, health, aged care, social services, disability, immigration, human services and the justice system. We support the Prime Minister in his work to progress the Commonwealth’s objectives in cooperation with the states and territories through COAG.
PM&C works with the NIAA to improve the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including ensuring that the Government’s key priorities of Closing the Gap, a voice to governments, constitutional recognition, addressing youth suicide and education outcomes are progressed.
In 2019–20 and over the forward estimates, PM&C will:
- Provide high-quality and timely advice to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and portfolio ministers on social policy and intergovernmental matters to inform the Government’s priorities and policy development and approval. Areas of focus include:
- reducing the rate of suicide towards zero and improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians by supporting the work of the National Suicide Prevention Adviser and the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health
- supporting the Prime Minister to achieve the Government’s goal of increasing the number of NDIS participants to 500,000 by 2024
- working with partners and policy leads across Government to manage the Disability and Aged Care Royal Commissions
- in conjunction with the Health portfolio, providing Australians with continued and expanded access to affordable medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- supporting the Prime Minister in his capacity as Chair of COAG on the delivery of a new 2020–2025 National Health Reform Agreement which ensures continuity of hospital funding, improves access to services and patient outcomes and reduces avoidable hospitalisations
- working with the Department of Education to ensure that the National Policy Initiatives under the National School Reform Agreement are implemented and achieve improvements in school education outcomes
- working with the Attorney-General’s Department to reform the federal judicial architecture.
- Support the Attorney-General in introducing legislative protection for the freedom of religious belief.
- Ensure Australia’s honours system appropriately recognises worthy Australians.
- Continue to work with Commonwealth agencies to improve online safety, including tackling bullying and preventing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, and supporting the dedicated taskforce.
- Support the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Minister for Women to deliver key priorities for gender equality, including women’s safety, economic security and leadership.
- Support the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to deliver a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, with a particular focus on awareness raising, education and reducing stigma for victims and survivors.
- Support the Social Impact Investing (SII) Expert Panel to deliver an interim and final report to government on the Commonwealth’s role in the Social Impact Investing market.
- Support NIAA in developing policies and programs that will improve the wellbeing and welfare of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
|The Prime Minister, the Cabinet, responsible ministers and agencies receive high-quality and timely advice to inform:
|The Prime Minister and Attorney-General receive high-quality and timely advice and support on appropriate measures to support the freedom of religious belief in Australian law.||Legislative package to appropriately protect the freedom of religious belief in Australian law is introduced.|
|The Prime Minister receives comprehensive and timely advice on the administration of Australia’s honours system, with a focus on:
||Reputation and integrity of Australia’s honours system remains extremely robust.|
|The Prime Minister, the Cabinet, responsible ministers and agencies receive coordinated advice to inform development of policies to keep Australians safe online, including preventing terrorism and extreme violent content on the internet.||
|The Office for Women contributes to the delivery of the Government’s key priorities for gender equality including:
|The National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse is delivered within agreed timeframes to the satisfaction of the Prime Minister and the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and key stakeholders.||The strategy increases awareness, improves services, and reduces the extent of child sexual abuse over the long-term.|
Uphold national security and strategic interests
PM&C provides advice and drives outcomes on national security and international matters.
During a time when our strategic environment is changing, PM&C helps shape and deliver the Prime Minister’s international agenda. PM&C supports the Government to maximise our international influence, identify risk, and design and implement policies to ensure Australia has the strength, dynamism and flexibility to advance our national and global interests, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Areas of particular focus include: implementing the government’s Indo-Pacific strategy; reinforcing Australia’s alliance with the United States; advancing key relationships in the Indo-Pacific; and ensuring implementation of the Pacific Step-up across government.
Good government is supported by utilising the capability and expertise of our people; using our convening power as a central Agency to bring a whole-of-government approach and our close understanding of the Prime Minister’s priorities to ensure they are advanced by the broader APS; and ensuring the Cabinet (and its committees including the National Security Committee (NSC)) and the Government have clear advice, that choices are clearly presented and that decisions are implemented.
An important aspect of this purpose is the support and coordination of a whole-of-government approach to enhancing the safety, security and prosperity of all Australians, and effectively securing Australia’s strategic interests in the face of a shifting geopolitical landscape. The ultimate aim is to drive effective and efficient outcomes on national security and international matters.
In 2019–20 and over the forward estimates, PM&C will:
- Support the Prime Minister’s engagement with foreign counterparts and business leaders to strengthen and diversify Australia’s partnerships internationally, especially in the Indo-Pacific, contributing to a more successful and prosperous Australia.
- Provide comprehensive, influential and timely advice and coordination on national security, with an emphasis on:
- counter-terrorism and crisis management
- border security, law enforcement, cyber security and counter foreign interference initiatives
- defence operations and capability, including on the national naval shipbuilding enterprise
- foreign policy.
- Provide comprehensive, influential and timely advice and coordination on Defence Capability, operations and strategic policy, including the establishment of a sovereign and sustainable Australian defence industrial base.
- Support the Prime Minister as chair of NSC to secure decisions and drive implementation.
Quality of advice received supports the Prime Minister in engagement with international counterparts and is demonstrably focused on advancing Australia’s interests through:
||Quality of advice received supports the government’s commitments on national security and a whole-of-government response is coordinated effectively during times of crisis.|
|PM&C supports the delivery of the $200 billion 2016 Defence White Paper Investment Program, including the $90 billion National Shipbuilding Enterprise.||
|A focused NSC agenda, with clear decision making and management processes and effective implementation of decisions.||Quality of advice received supports the NSC agenda.|
PM&C provides a diverse range of high-quality support services and advice to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and our portfolio ministers, to enable them to deliver on their legal and Parliamentary obligations and on their priorities for the Australian people. We also manage our own organisation, to ensure we are fit-for-purpose, and ready to perform our functions to a high standard.
Support for good decision-making processes and the integrity of the Cabinet system is an essential service to all governments. In addition to our usual important secretariat task for the Cabinet and its committees, this financial year we will be launching a new IT system, CabNet+, to ensure the Prime Minister and the Cabinet have access to the information they need to support informed decision-making.
Australia is a respected global partner and we support the Prime Minister in promoting our country’s interest internationally through overseas visits, as well as welcoming visiting Heads of States and Governments to our shores.
We recognise good policy development and service delivery relies on robust research and data. Through our Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA), citizen engagement survey and our Data Integration Partnership for Australia (DIPA), we are gaining better insights into people-centred policy that benefits the whole community.
We support the Prime Minister to respond to Australians who increasingly expect a high level of interaction on matters that affect them. Timely access to unambiguous and accurate information and quick responses to those Australians who take the time to share their views with the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers are essential.
We support the Prime Minister and Cabinet in the management of the executive branch of Government, including through the provision of advice on matters of process and policy to ensure the effective functioning of government operations.
Through our system of Honours and Awards we recognise the contribution of those Australians who have made a real difference to the nation. We also pay respect to the past achievements of eminent Australians through State Funerals and Memorials.
In 2019–20 and over the forward estimates, PM&C will:
- Ensure a strategic focus to the Government’s legislative program.
- Enhance and modernise Cabinet processes through delivery of the CabNet+ project.
- Provide expert advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, portfolio ministers, PM&C and other APS agencies on governance matters relating to the operation of the executive branch of Government.
- Provide clear and actionable advice on whole-of-government legal risk.
- Increase awareness of Australia’s honours system.
- Ensure the Department has a high-performance culture underpinned by a strengths-based approach to performance.
- Advance Australia’s interests through effective and well-executed programs for the Prime Minister’s overseas engagements and for incoming visits by Heads of State and Government.
- Use technology and automation to streamline Ministerial support services.
- Provide leadership to the APS on designing, delivering and scaling policies and services using innovative and rigorous tools including data, digitisation and behavioural insights.
- Establish an effective public data sharing framework through the work of the Office of the National Data Commissioner.
- Deliver high quality and regular updates to the Prime Minister on implementation of key priorities across Government.
|The whole-of-government legislation program is delivered in accordance with the Government’s strategic priorities.||Government’s priority legislative measures are introduced in accordance with the Government’s timetable.|
|The new CabNet+ system supports ministers and departments to operate more efficiently and effectively.||CabNet+ successfully implemented and operating effectively.|
|High-quality expert advice is provided to the Prime Minister on governance matters.||All machinery or ministerial changes are properly supported by sound advice and successfully implemented.|
||Whole-of-government legal risks are identified and mitigated to the greatest extent possible.|
|Public awareness of honours system is increased through social and traditional media campaigns, focusing on those segments of society which are underrepresented in awards.||Increase diversity in Australian honours nominations including:
|PM&C coordinates and delivers high-quality operational support for the Prime Minister’s official overseas engagements and for Guests of Government.||
|Timely registration of ministerial correspondence and provision of timely high-quality speechwriting and meeting support.||
|The Office of the National Data Commissioner leads reforms to improve data sharing and use across the APS.||Reforms are delivered within agreed timelines to the satisfaction of the Minister responsible.|
|Regular and high-quality updates are provided to the Prime Minister on the delivery of key priorities.||Implementation of a delivery framework to report to the Prime Minister regularly on the Prime Minister’s key priorities.|
Our performance assessments are designed to cover core aspects of our work and the impact on stakeholders. PM&C plans, measures and reports on performance in line with its performance framework.
The results of our performance for 2019–20 will be tabled in Parliament and published in our Annual Performance Statement (within our Annual Report for 2019–20). The Department demonstrates performance through independent and internal assessment.1
Business areas prepare operational plans to align with our priorities and purposes set out in the Corporate Plan.
The performance measures in this plan complement the performance criteria outlined in the PM&C 2019–20 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)2. The targets encompass 2019–20 and the forward estimates.3
- Assessments of performance are measured annually through stakeholder feedback, operational data, surveys, independent assessment and evaluation of case studies.
- The purposes in the Corporate Plan have been revised from those outlined in the PBS.
- The methodology for defining results against targets will be included in the Annual Performance Statement.