Go to top of page

Departmental overview

In February 2020, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development and the Department of Communications and the Arts were integrated to form the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the department).


During 2019–20, the department was accountable to:

  • the Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
  • the Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management to 5 February 2020, and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management from 6 February 2020
  • the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts
  • the Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure
  • the Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government to 5 February 2020, and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government from 6 February 2020
  • the Hon Andrew Gee MP, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister to 5 February 2020, and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education from 6 February 2020
  • the Hon Scott Buchholz MP, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport
  • the Hon Kevin Hogan MP, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister from 6 February 2020
  • the Hon Nola Marino MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories.

Accountable authority

Accountable Authority Secretaries of the Department

Period as the accountable authority within the reporting period



Date of commencement

Date of cessation

Department of Communications and the Arts

Mike Mrdak AO


18 September 2017

31 January 2020

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development

Dr Steven Kennedy PSM


18 September 2017

1 September 2019

Pip Spence PSM

Acting Secretary

2 September 2019

10 November 2019

Simon Atkinson


11 November 2019

31 January 2020

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Simon Atkinson


1 February 2020

Role and functions

The department’s role is to achieve our purposes and deliver results through:

  • Providing policy and strategic advice: We provide government with the best options and policy advice on issues relating to infrastructure, transport, regional development, cities, territories, communications, arts and culture. Our advice is evidence-based and informed by research, consultation, analysis and broader government objectives. We identify trends and emerging issues in markets and society to provide the best strategy and policy advice.
  • Delivering programs and services: We deliver efficient and effective programs and services to achieve the Australian Government’s policy outcomes. We adhere to the highest standards of public administration.
  • Fit-for-purpose regulation: We administer portfolio legislation efficiently and effectively, and review and shape regulatory frameworks to ensure that they are fit for purpose and not acting as an impediment to investment.
  • Relationship building and collaborative stakeholder engagement: We work with portfolio entities, federal, state and territory, and international governments, international organisations, industry, research institutions and the community to generate innovative advice and make sure the advice and services the department delivers are effective and meet the needs of the community. We engage proactively with our stakeholders with a clear understanding of their issues and challenges and we value diverse perspectives and ideas.


During 2019–20, we worked to achieve 7 purposes:

  • supporting economic growth through transport
  • making travel safer
  • increasing transport access
  • supporting regional development, cities and local communities
  • providing good governance in the territories
  • enabling all Australians to connect to effective communications services and technologies, for inclusiveness and sustainable economic growth
  • supporting inclusiveness and growth in Australia’s creative sector, and protecting and promoting Australian content and culture.

Mapping our purposes to outcomes and programs

We worked to achieve our purposes through 6 outcomes and 10 programs which are outlined in the 2019–20 Portfolio Budget Statements of both the former departments. The relationships between our purposes and the outcomes and programs are mapped in Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1 Mapping purposes, outcomes and programs  Outcome 1 Improved infrastructure across Australia through investment in and coordination of transport and other infrastructure. Outcome 2 An efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport systems for all transport users through regulation, financial assistance and safety investigations. Outcome 3 strengthening the sustainability, capacity and diversity of our cities and regional economies including through facilitating local partnership between all levels of government and local communities; through reforms that stimulate economic growth; and providing grants and financial assistance. Outcome 4 Good governance in Australian territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for self-governing territories, and laws and services for non-self-governing territories. Outcome 5 Promote an innovative and competitive communications sector, through policy development, advice and program delivery, so all Australians can realise the full potential of digital technologies and communications services. Outcome 6 Participation in, and access to, Australia’s arts and culture through developing and supporting cultural expression.