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Secretary's Review

 

This annual report shows the scope and gravity of Treasury’s work as the Australian Government’s leading economic policy adviser.

We have an important role in government, providing frank advice and sound economic analysis to improve the wellbeing of 25 million Australians. Our brief is broad covering the international and domestic economy, fiscal strategy and taxation policy. We also take the policy lead in crucial areas such as financial services, foreign investment and structural reform to support growth in living standards.

Treasury is responsible for the Federal Budget and the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook — statements that demand excellent advice, good processes and policy coordination on a large scale. Treasury is responsible for around a quarter of the primary legislation that goes through Parliament, predominantly dealing with taxation and financial services. Treasury is a central policy agency with responsibility for 13 portfolio agencies.

In the past year, we provided advice on a series of tax reforms. This included significant changes to the personal income tax framework, better targeting the research and development tax incentive and proposed changes to the way the GST is distributed between the states and territories. We are also coordinating a whole-of-government strategy to tackle problems associated with the black economy.

We contributed expert papers to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. We aided public debate across a range of topics such as population growth and immigration, best practice modelling and the implications of US corporate tax reforms for the Australian and global economy.

Given the global economic backdrop, Treasury’s program of international engagement is central to our role. We continue to have influence and draw understanding through our international postings with senior staff in key locations including London, Washington DC and Beijing.

Treasury’s staff continue to provide high‑quality policy advice and we continue to provide them with practical and meaningful support to perform well. This year, we put in place a new performance system that supports and improves individual and organisational outcomes. We also continued our focus on diversity and inclusion. We established a five-year Indigenous Employment and Retention Strategy and staff created a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network. We also welcomed Koomarri — an organisation specialising in supporting people with disability — back into the Treasury team.

I would like to acknowledge my predecessor Mr John Fraser for his remarkable 25-year contribution to Treasury — the past three and a half years as Secretary. Mr Fraser leaves a lasting legacy including of improving budget outcomes and increased outreach and accessibility to Treasury through our state offices.

Treasury is an outstanding and rewarding place to work. It is a privilege to lead Treasury and introduce this report.

Philip Gaetjens

Secretary to the Treasury