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Rosemary Huxtable PSM

I am pleased to present the Department of Finance Annual Report 2018–19.

It is a privilege to lead a high-performing organisation focused on driving continuous improvement, providing high-quality advice and delivering efficient, cost-effective services to, and for, the Government, including by assisting the Government to achieve its fiscal and policy objectives through the Budget process.

As a central agency, Finance is in a unique position to influence whole-of-government outcomes. Through the Department’s responsibility for leading key public sector reforms, leveraging governance frameworks and collaboration across the Australian Public Service (APS), Finance contributes to the efficient delivery of government services and outcomes for Australian citizens.

More broadly throughout the year, the Department worked with partners across government to implement and support reform projects funded by the Government’s Modernisation Fund which are contributing to a more efficient, adaptable, productive and sustainable public sector.

As detailed in the Corporate Plan 2018–19, Finance had many deliverables this year and each has been achieved or substantially achieved.

Finance continued to focus on its responsibilities in delivering the Budget and economic updates and managing the Budget process in collaboration with the Treasury, ensuring that public expenditure programs were effective and sustainable and that they reflected the best value for the Government and the Australian community.

Through strong collaboration with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of the Treasury and all Commonwealth entities, Finance ensured the timely preparation and delivery of economic updates, including the 2017–18 Final Budget Outcome (FBO), the 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) and an early 2019–20 Budget in April this year. In doing so Finance provided advice on major policy reforms and investment to support the Government to meet its fiscal target and policy objectives.

In a busy year that included a federal election, the Department worked with the Australian Electoral Commission to support the democratic process. Finance led the Electoral Integrity Taskforce during the federal election campaign period to ensure efficient and effective communication on matters relating to the integrity of the election.

Following the election, the Department supported parliamentarians and their staff to perform their duties, including implementation of innovative digital services through the Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS) and the COMCAR Automated Reservation System (CARS).

The Department’s Transformation Plan remains a focus and we have driven innovation across the organisation and supported mobility opportunities to develop organisational capability. We continue to assess how to deliver more streamlined, user-friendly services utilising digital technologies, including automation, wherever appropriate. The Productivity Automation Centre of Excellence (PACE) is building capability in the Department and across the APS to drive this type of innovation.

Finance is proud of the positive and engaged culture that leaders at all levels have fostered and developed over the past year, which has a direct influence on all that the Department has achieved.