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Circular 2003/1 - Payments in special circumstances - Section 73 of the Public Service Act 1999

The purpose of this Circular is to advise agencies of the delegation to Agency Heads of the power to make payments under section 73 of the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act) and to inform agencies in respect of the appropriation from which such payments may be made.

2. The circular is being issued in response to the number of queries being received in relation to these matters.


3. Section 73 of the Act allows the Public Service Minister to authorise the making of payments to a person in special circumstances that relate to or arise out of:

  1. the payee's employment in the Commonwealth; or
  2. another person's employment in the Commonwealth.

4. More information on the use of section 73 can be found in Advice No 30: Payments in Special Circumstances, which is available on the Commission's website.


5. On 3 December 1999 the Prime Minister as Public Service Minister delegated to Agency Heads his power to authorise the making of payments under section 73, enabling them to authorise the making of such payments in accordance with the provisions of the section.


6. Subsection 73(6) provides that payments under the section are to be made out of money appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of the section. Recent Appropriation Acts, however, do not contain one-line appropriations, but rather, make provision for broad, outcome-based appropriations. As section 73 payments are made because of some special circumstance relating to a person's Commonwealth employment, they can be made from an agency's general appropriation.

Further advice

7. General enquiries about this circular or payments under section 73 can be directed to the Commission's Helpline on (02) 6202 3859.

Peter Miller

Acting Group Manager

Policy and Employment Group

1 April 2003

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018