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Our results

Section 46 of the PGPA Act requires that the annual report include an annual performance statement reflecting the results achieved against the performance criteria set out in the portfolio budget statements and corporate plan for the reporting period.

We have presented our performance results to convey our achievements this year in a way that:

  • shows how each measure links to the portfolio budget statements and the corporate plan, as well as the strategic priority and key activity, where relevant
  • specifies what the target for the measure was and the achievement against that target
  • provides an analysis of the factors that contributed to the performance achieved and any other matters that may assist to explain the achievement against the performance measure.

Executive summary

The COVID‑19 pandemic impacted on the work of the department and continues to do so. Our work program was reprioritised to support the government’s response to the health, social and economic effects of the pandemic. Many of the department’s significant initiatives have been delayed, particularly those requiring public consultations or the passage of legislation. This is due to preventative health measures that affected the operational capacity of Parliament.

In this unusual year, we have transformed the way we work and delivered differently, harnessing technological solutions and innovations to enable staff to work remotely. We have changed our work practices and engaged virtually with each other, our stakeholders and clients. Despite these changes, our ‘business as usual’ work has largely continued.

Across our two purposes, we have evaluated our effectiveness and efficiency using 44 targets under 35 performance measures.1 Overall, we achieved or exceeded 33 targets (75 per cent), partly achieved three (seven per cent) and did not achieve eight (18 per cent). This is similar to our 2018–19 results of 76 per cent of targets achieved and 24 per cent of targets not achieved.

Figure 3 represents the overall performance for 2019–20 compared with 2018–19. The achievement ratings reflect the percentage of measures and targets we achieved, partly achieved or did not achieve across our purposes.

Percentage achievement of targets for 2019–20 (across both purposes) and 2018–19 Two pie charts showing percentage of a targets achieved, not achieved and partially achieved for each year 2018-19 and 2019-20.

For Purpose 1 targets, we achieved or exceeded 71 per cent (24 targets) and partially achieved eight per cent (three targets). Of the 21 per cent (seven targets) that were not achieved:

  • Four targets related to lower-than-anticipated stakeholder satisfaction with the effectiveness and efficiency of our work in the strategic priority areas of Justice and Rights. Data from our annual stakeholder survey indicated that the delayed delivery of some legislative and policy projects due to COVID‑19-related reprioritisation may have contributed to these results.
  • One target has been characterised as not achieved because of delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic response. While we were not able to launch the Australian Government Legal Service as planned, other work related to this target has progressed and we have reported on our performance this year by reference to other sources of data.
  • Two targets are based on the international benchmarking mechanisms we use to monitor Australia’s global position in relation to citizens' perceptions of human rights, access to justice and corruption. The results for these targets were the same as in 2018–19.

Two targets we partially achieved under Purpose 1 relate to our work supporting the National Indigenous Australians Agency. This work is to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and to develop proposals for a local, regional and national voice. While this work is underway, and is being led by the National Indigenous Australians Agency, it has been delayed by the COVID‑19 pandemic restrictions. The third target we partially achieved under Purpose 1 relates to our work leading the government's response to the Religious Freedoms Review. While this work is underway, and two sets of exposure draft legislation were released for public consultation within expected timeframes, progress on this work has been delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, we report against measures, targets and key activities under Purpose 2 for the first time.2 As outlined in the Corporate Plan 2019–23, we have embedded the machinery-of-government changes that brought industrial relations into the portfolio and we have strengthened our relationships with our new portfolio agencies. In 2019–20, we were pleased to meet 90 per cent of our targets under this purpose. This was a ten per cent improvement from 2018–19.3 We performed strongly for all targets related to the administration of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee and the operation of the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner. Through improvements in administration, we met and exceeded our targets by an average of 11 per cent. The one target we did not meet under Purpose 2 related to a drop in the number and coverage of enterprise agreements since 30 June 2019. This decline is likely attributable, at least in part, to disruptions to ordinary business operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


  1. The Corporate Plan 2019–23 included 45 targets under 35 performance measures. The deadline to submit the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to the Governor General was extended from 30 April 2020 to 26 February 2021. As such, this target is not reported as the new date is in the 2020–21 financial year.
  2. A number of industrial relations and workplace safety functions were transferred to the department in May 2019.
  3. 2018–19 performance results for our Purpose 2 measures and targets can be found in the 2018–19 Annual Report of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.