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Rosemary Huxtable PSM

I am pleased to present the Department of Finance Annual Report 2017–18.

I am delighted to be leading a department that strives for excellence in delivering its purpose – to assist the Australian Government to achieve its fiscal and policy objectives through the Budget process and by advising on expenditure, managing sustainable public sector resourcing, driving public sector transformation and delivering efficient, cost-effective services to, and for, government.

As a central agency, Finance has a privileged position from which to contribute to the delivery of policy and services for all citizens. We are mindful of our responsibility to support the government to deliver budgets and fiscal strategies, to provide shareholder oversight and create innovative financing structures for government businesses, and to drive value in government spending while creating a smarter, more productive and sustainable government sector.

As detailed in our Corporate Plan for 2017–18, Finance had a large number of priorities to deliver during the year. These have all been achieved or substantially achieved. During 2017–18, Finance played a strategic and influential role in assisting the government to achieve its fiscal and policy objectives, manage sustainable public sector resourcing, drive public sector transformation and deliver efficient, cost-effective services. These objectives and priorities guided our direction as we continued to provide advice to government on delivering savings, realising value and driving reforms to ensure services are as efficient and well targeted as possible.

Through our own internal transformation agenda, we continued to demonstrate our commitment to Australian Public Sector Reform and deliver on our purpose. Our goal to be a high-performing, modern, efficient and continuously improving public sector organisation remained our focus as we worked to deliver better and more efficient services for government and citizens. As a transformative organisation, we worked to anticipate and respond to globalisation, advances in technology and data, and evolving employment models and demographics. We explored opportunities and tools to improve our business operations and management, including by embracing the role of operating a shared services hub.

Through our role in the successful delivery of the 2017–18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the 2018–19 Budget, we supported the government to deliver its fiscal policy intent by providing advice on spending and savings proposals to the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet. We provided advice on major policy reforms as well as investment in infrastructure, regional Australia and energy security.

Finance staff worked across Government to establish, implement and realise savings from the whole-of-Australian-government property services coordinated procurement arrangements. The arrangements have improved the Commonwealth’s approach to strategic property lease planning at the whole-of-Australian-government level and have aggregated the Commonwealth’s purchasing power for leasing and facilities management services.

In delivering on these priorities, we engaged with and listened to our key stakeholders. We focused on creating a culture where innovation is encouraged, and where leaders are committed to supporting and enabling their staff to achieve their best, for themselves, the organisation, but most importantly, for the Australian public.