The following performance results related to all three areas of the Treasury’s purpose and organisational-wide capability.
Providing high quality, timely and accurate advice to the Government.
Advice meets the Government’s needs in administering its responsibilities and making and implementing decisions. Advice is based on an objective understanding of the issues and with a whole‑of‑government perspective. The degree of client satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of the advice provided is assessed through formal and informal feedback mechanisms.
Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18, Program 1.1, page 37.
The Treasury provided a range of advice and briefing materials to ministers and the Government including ministerial submissions, meeting briefs, Question Time briefings and briefings for Cabinet and Cabinet committees.
This advice was prepared in consultation with relevant departments, including the ATO and Department of Finance, to inform a whole-of-government perspective. Advice was provided in areas such as: housing; tax; business investment; labour force participation rate; interest rates; the global productivity slowdown; global tariff announcements and potential economic impacts on Australia; macroprudential regulation and the financial system; and the full range of macroeconomic indicators, the economic outlook, risks to the outlook and other key policy issues.
The Treasury has also provided advice on a range of other issues including: crypto-assets; the effect of payroll tax on firm behaviour; the economics of education; developments in Australian inflation expectations; credit misallocation and forbearance in China; global monetary policy normalisation; and risks to Australia of a Chinese financial crisis.
The Treasury provided a range of costings and analysis to ministers. Tax Analysis Division completed 437 costings.
Senior Treasury officials met regularly with ministers to seek feedback about overall performance. Positive feedback was received from portfolio ministers on the quality and timeliness of advice and analysis. There have also been public comments by stakeholders about the quality of work delivered by the Treasury, specifically in reference to implementing financial sector reforms.
The Treasury met very high standards in ensuring the briefing needs of ministers participating in international events were met.
Strengthening the Treasury’s links with the private sector, non‑government organisations, academia and other policy focused institutions over the period.
The extent of contact established and maintained by the Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne offices of the Treasury with the private sector, non-government organisations, academia and other policy-focused institutions, including through formal policy consultations.
The number of secondments undertaken each year with the private sector, non-government organisations, academia and other policy-focused institutions by the Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne offices of the Treasury.
Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18, Program 1.1, page 37.
Engagement with stakeholders
The Treasury engaged with a range of external stakeholders through the development of policy and legislation, attendance at conferences, international engagement such as OECD working group meetings, ATO forums and other events, including taking a more proactive approach to briefing stakeholders about the Budget. Following the release of the 2018-19 Budget, the Treasury ran 15 briefing events for over 280 stakeholders across Sydney, Melbourne, Bendigo and Perth. Representatives met with market economists, state governments, the Reserve Bank of Australia, banks, academia and industry representatives, among other stakeholder groups.
During the year, Foreign Investment Division held more than 400 stakeholder meetings, which included engagements with key industry representatives, non-government organisations, academia, domestic and international government bodies. The Treasury and KPMG collaborated to conduct a study on International Trends in Company Tax and Collective Investment Vehicles, which was published in October 2017.
The Treasury continued its strong focus on conducting formal consultation processes and engaging in working groups and consultation forums, including engagement with manufacturing businesses, academia and think tanks on trade opportunities. Consultation also occurred with the international financial institutions, including visits by IMF staff and multiple visits from the World Bank and ASB. Senior Treasury staff participated in visits arranged through the Treasury’s overseas posts to meet with foreign governments, central bank officials and private sector economists to discuss the regional and world economies.
Regular stakeholder engagement continued, for example with business, financial market economists, commodity analysts and other government bodies to discuss developments in the economy, markets, the outlook and particular macroeconomic issues including financial market dynamics. Continued engagement with academia was undertaken to improve our forecasting, modelling and analysis capabilities, including using an expert panel and consultants from a range of universities and organising a joint conference with the Australian National University (ANU). The Treasury also hosted a fiscal policy modelling workshop with the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). Treasury staff have given presentations to external conferences on issues including model development, modelling workforce participation rates, and effect of payroll tax on firm behaviour.
The Treasury has offices in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, which strengthens its ability to build links with the private sector, non‑government organisations, academia, and other sectors.
Our secondment program builds organisational capability and positive cultural change by connecting staff and exposing them to new ideas, alternative leadership styles, diverse approaches to policy-making and the challenges and practicalities of implementing policy decisions.
As at 30 June 2018, there were 42 secondments into the Treasury; 31 government and 11 non‑government. Twenty-eight employees of the Treasury were seconded out; 22 government, one non‑government and five international organisations. These secondments strengthened the Treasury’s links with various organisations while providing meaningful and high quality development opportunities for staff.
Examples of secondments undertaken in 2017-18 include a Treasury staff member seconded to the Grattan Institute to share insights into policy areas and bring back different techniques and perspectives to communicate with the public. We also undertook a two-way secondment with Rice-Warner to support our understanding of the superannuation industry. The Treasury also has secondees at the Business Council of Australia, Argentina’s Ministry of Treasury, New Zealand Treasury, the Reserve Bank of Australia, BHP Singapore and the Royal Commission.
Publishing reports and other information that stimulate and inform Government and public debate through robust analysis, modelling and research.
Number of publications and extent of online readership.
Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18, Program 1.1, page 38.
The Treasury published 31 publications on the Treasury website, and a further five papers on the Treasury Research Institute website. A total of 105 consultations were published to the Treasury website for public response during this same period. Analytics showed 570,408 visitors to the Treasury website and 8,509 visitors to the Treasury Research Institute website.
The Treasury published the 2016-17 FBO, the 2017-18 MYEFO and the 2018-19 Budget. The Budget website included four budget papers, four budget overview publications and 11 factsheets on key budget measures. Analytics showed 602,270 visitors to the Budget website during 2017-18.
The Treasury contributed background papers and submissions to the Royal Commission.
The Treasury provided numerous opportunities for submissions and consultation from stakeholders and the community on a range of topics including the 2018‑19 Pre‑Budget Submissions, and published papers and reports as part of consultation processes. The Treasury also released regulatory impact statements and explanatory material associated with changes to the retirement income framework, early release of superannuation and the Protecting Your Super package.
Treasury staff published papers on the Treasury Research Institute website on the Tax Expenditures Statement, United States Corporate Tax Reform: Implications for the rest of the world, and the development of a long-term dynamic microsimulation model of Australia’s retirement income system. The Treasury also made its microsimulation model of personal tax and transfers publicly available and released a Treasury Research Institute paper on the model.
Other research papers published by the Treasury include:
- analysis of wage growth;
- does payroll tax affect firm behaviour;
- home ownership, mortgage structure and systemic risk; and
- Australian productivity trends and the effect of structural change.
Maintaining and building our organisational capability.
Evaluating Treasury’s Workforce Plan annually.
Provision of quality and timely corporate services, assessed through ongoing engagement with, and feedback from, the department.
Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18, Program 1.1, page 38.
The Treasury’s workforce planning focused on four key areas: talent sourcing, development, mobility and inclusion. A review of the performance management system was finalised and a new performance management system was implemented (refer below). The Treasury also developed a draft Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan and endorsed an Indigenous Employment Strategy, consistent with its commitment to increasing the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the APS. The Treasury continues to formally endorse an annual calendar of events to promote diversity and foster a culture of inclusion across the department. A new learning and development strategy was developed, supported by a three year investment plan, to grow organisational capability for our employees at all levels.
Employee census results indicate the Treasury continues to maintain high employee engagement, consistent with previous years, and higher when compared with policy agencies and the APS as a whole. Based on the Say, Stay, Strive model, the Treasury achieved a 76 per cent engagement score, six percentage points higher than the APS average.
Refer also Part 3 Management of human resources.
In 2017-18, a number of significant achievements and improvements were made. These are noted below, together with an analysis of the impact these have had in maintaining and building our organisational capability.
- The Treasury’s Performance Development System (PDS) was implemented following consultation with our staff. The PDS is a modern, streamlined approach to performance management, focusing on the development needs of the employee, underpinned by a culture of regular feedback. Post-implementation reviews have demonstrated that our enhancement goals were met, largely due to the high level of staff engagement throughout the process and the integration of their feedback into the system.
- To inform its new Enterprise Agreement (EA), the Treasury made a significant investment in pre‑bargaining sounding to capture staff views on the current agreement, as well as ideas to improve the Treasury’s operations and business processes to improve productivity to fund salary increases. The three-month sounding process commenced in early 2018, ensuring Treasury management was well‑appraised of staff views prior to the commencement of bargaining. The Treasury was able to secure a streamlined, fit‑for‑purpose EA in August 2018, with 93 per cent of staff voting to approve it.
- The Treasury reviewed its learning and development strategy in 2017-18. Formal engagement mechanisms were introduced during 2018 to capture feedback on learning and development offerings including an annual all-staff survey, reference groups and evaluation of face-to-face programs through pre-program surveys, post-program surveys and longitudinal evaluation to develop an evaluation summary report at the conclusion of each program.
- The Treasury continued to build organisational capability through the transition to digitally-based workflow processes in support of our ministers and the Cabinet. In particular, with the transition to the CabNet+Viewer and continued use of the Parliamentary Document Management System (PDMS), the Treasury gathered feedback from training sessions and direct user feedback to inform the internal processes within the Treasury as well as shape future iterations of both systems at the whole-of-government level. When particular improvements were sought for upgrades to PDMS, the Treasury conducted an all-staff survey to gather feedback to inform the service provider of how users understand and wish to use the system in the future.
- The Treasury continued to strengthen and improve the efficiency of its security arrangements. An external audit assessed the Treasury as the only one of three agencies to meet the mandatory cyber security compliance requirements, achieving a cyber resilient rating. The Treasury also attained 100 per cent compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework. Efficiencies have been achieved through the conduct of a security clearance audit resulting in the removal of 1,600 unsupported clearances and the return of the associated budgetary savings, as well as the rationalisation of security equipment to match the need for access to these devices. Enhancements to the security intranet, supported through awareness training delivered to over 90 per cent of Treasury staff, has contributed to a 40 per cent reduction in security breaches through improved awareness and risk management.
- Information and communications technology (ICT) improvements were facilitated by formal and informal feedback and engagement, including formal engagement on the ICT strategies and investment. These contributed to a number of measurable improvements in ICT services including:
- improved virtual desktop performance resulting in a reduction in IT service desk requests each month (approximately 125 less each month);
- a pilot of an encrypted telephony system to support the need for Treasury officials to communicate securely via phone, mobile and video conference; and
- increased video conferencing usage (by approximately 10 per cent) facilitated by improved network bandwidth and upgrades to video conferencing systems.
- The Treasury implemented improvements to its financial and property frameworks, systems and processes. Feedback from staff formed the basis of the improvements to streamline services and improve user experience. The improvements included the automation of procurement and compliance processes, streamlined financial processes and accounting records, improved transparency of internal budgets, structured property processes to support decision making, and improved quality of financial reporting. The improvements supported the needs of staff, generated positive feedback and fostered a culture of financial accountability across the Treasury.