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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4273

AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONERS CONFERENCE

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/11/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4273

ST A
PRIME MINISTER
FOR PRESS NOVEMBER 10,' 1976
AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE CO~ v1MISSIONERS CONFERENCE
I understand that this is the first of these conferences of
Austral asian-Public Service Commissioners to be hosted by
the Australian Public Service Board for some time.
I am informed that the conferences have been held on a
regular basis since the first in Canberra in 1937.
This is I2:-ressive record of co-operation.
I am please-' to see delegates here from other countries in
the region. Conferences of this kind are very useful exercises
in inter-stza: e and regional co-operation. We recognise the.
special duti-es which your organisations undertake and the special
responsibilities you have.
There is great value in the concept of independent central
personnel authorities in our system of administration.
Public Service Boards,' if they do their job properly, are
not likely to be popular. They have the invidious task of
restraining any tendency by individual departments or permanent
heads to " empire-buildtThey also have the responsibility
of preserving comparability of standards in a large and
significant area of employment. Indeed it is no exaggeration
to say that the well-being of public services in general
depends greatly on the preservation of the independence and
integrity of Public Service Boards and their equivalents.
Public Service Boards do of course have an important responsibility
to contribute to the improvement in the quality and efficiency
of public administration.
Consultations between members and senior officials of Public
Service Boards from within Australia and overseas must facilitate
a valuable exchange of information about ideas and trends in
public administration.
My Government is greatly concerned with issues of administrative
management and public sector efficiency.
Any Govern: nen:-is inevitably and properly faced with the limits
of the rcs:_ _-7es available to it. / 2

It is our aim to ensure that resources are related to
need and are used to the fullest possible extent.
The public sector has to be a lean and efficient
instrument of Government policy, able to provide a
responsive administration. Our decisions to reduce the
size of the Australian Public Service are consistent with
this obi! ective.
We a-re al-1so concerned to press ahead with our policy of
federalism which involves us examining the possibility
of decene-ralising Government power and functions.
In digso the Government relies to a very great degree
on the efficiency, integrity and expertise of our Public Service
at all levels. in rationalising the operations and-management
of the bureaucracy and in facilitating the transfer of
powers and functions between the Commonwealth and the states.
While on the--a question of the size of the public sector it is
notable tha_ t the state administrations have grown rapidly,
as did zeCommonwealth Service, in recent years, and that
there has, been a major expansion of state spending and
state ac--fvity.
The Government's policy of restraining growth in spending
in the DU. Csector, as part of our overall strategy for
manage~ men: of the Australian economy, clearly calls for
complementary measures at the state level if it is to be
fully successful.
The Government is at the moment considering a number of issues
in relation to Government administration issues which
I am sure you will be discussing over the next few days.
For instance, we have established machinery to examine the
many recommendations of the Royal Commission on Australian
Government Administration and will be progressively
announcing decisions on those recommendations. The Royal
Commission has produced a great deal the Government is
closely examining present administrative practices and
procedures in the light of the report.
The consideration of the report by Ministers, Department,
and the Public Service Board can in some ways be -regarded as
a useful starting point for a wide-ranging examination of
the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative procedures.
Quite apart from the report of the Royal Commission, the
Australian Public Service has been making progress on a
wide-range of administrative issues.
The Public Service Board's studies on manpower needs and the
recently > rdcdExecutive Development Scheme both cater
for the n= eed to ensure that the administration continues to
maintain high standards of policy advising and implementation.
These ae-. aches are fully supported by this Government. / 3

-3-
We recognise the need for the encouragement of equal
employment opportunities in the Public Service Board
and fully endorse the efforts of the Public Service in
this field.
Proposals for staff exchanges between Commonwealth and
State Departments, as well as with universities and
business enterprises, are further means by which the skills
and interests of staff can be developed and maintained.
I understand that you will be discussing all these matters
during the Conference and I trust that you will develop
cooperative ventures in these areas.
Mr Chairman, it gives me great pleasure to officially
open the 20th Australiasian Public Service Commissioners'
Conference and to extend a very warm welcome to all delegates
and those wives who have accompanied them.
I hope that you will find the Conference and its associated
activities to be both stimulating and satisfying.
To those guest from overseas, I would like to especially
express a warm welcome and I hope your visit to Canberra will
be a most enjoyable one.

Transcript 4273