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A MoG change can lead to the creation of a new Australian Public Service (APS) agency operating under the Public Service Act 1999.

Machinery of Government (MoG) changes: A guide

New department/APS agency

  1. Agencies are expected to implement change in a way that is consistent with the principles outlined in the Executive Summary.
  2. This section provides additional information for the transfer of functions, staff and resources from an APS agency, or a non-APS Commonwealth agency, to a newly created department or APS agency.
  3. As soon as a new APS agency is proposed, responsible officers are encouraged to consult the APSC and Finance.
  4. Newly created agencies will need the support of portfolio departments. Assistance could include lending staff to assist in the establishment of the agency, for example, staff with expertise in corporate functions.

New departments – urgent action

  1. This section outlines urgent action that may be required upon the creation of a new department.

Transfer of Funding

  1. The timing of the transfer of funding to a newly created department will be dependent on where the department's function have originated.

Department receives functions from an abolished department

  1. The new department cannot rely on the abolished department’s appropriation.
  2. Before midnight on the day a department is abolished, an interim transfer of appropriations must occur to enable valid appropriation coverage for any payments made that day, or that are required the next day. 
  3. Contact the Finance Annual Appropriations Team at annual.appropriations [at] finance.gov.au  if your department is impacted.

Department receives functions from an existing department

  1. The gaining department is able to rely on the losing agency's appropriation.
  2. The Accountable Authority of the gaining department should issue written instructions to the losing department to enable the transferring department to continue the activities on the gaining department’s behalf, drawing upon the transferring department’s appropriations.

Outcome statements and program structures

  1. Generally, a new department would not require the Minister for Finance’s approval if it receives the transferring department’s outcome statement (i.e. an entire outcome statement, already approved is transferred). 
  2. A new outcome statement would be required if the department cannot receive the outcome statement of the losing entity (i.e. where only a small function within the losing entity’s outcome is being transferred and it would not be appropriate to copy that outcome statement to the gaining entity).
  3. See Financial Management.

Departments and APS agencies


  1. If a department or agency is created out of a MoG, consideration should be given to what delegations, if any, will be required to be in place immediately at the time of establishment so that appropriate officials (such as CFOs) can undertake financial activities on behalf of the entity.
  2. In deciding to delegate certain powers, functions or duties, the accountable authority should consider their duty to establish and maintain appropriate systems of risk management and internal control.
  3. Further information on the delegation of powers under the PGPA Act, including delegable and sub-delegable powers, is located at https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/pgpa-legislation/delegations/.

Accountable Authority Instructions

  1. Section 20A of the PGPA Act authorises accountable authorities to give instructions to officials in their agencies on any matter necessary or convenient for carrying out or giving effect to the finance law .
  2. To help accountable authorities develop appropriate controls, Finance has developed model AAIs. For further information, see Resource Management Guide 206: Model accountable authority instructions (https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/accountability/accountabl...

Corporate Plan requirements

  1. If a new department or agency is established as a result of MoG cganges, a corporate plan for that department must be published as soon as practicable after the plan is prepared.
  2. For further information see:

Movement of people

Legislative basis

  1. Section 72 of the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act) gives the Commissioner the authority to move employees in and out of the APS following a MoG change. The Commissioner may:
    • move an APS employee to another APS or non-APS Commonwealth agency
    • move a Commonwealth employee from a non-APS agency into an APS agency
    • engage any person as an APS employee in a specified APS agency

See People Management.

  1. Responsible officers should determine the need for additional legislation to facilitate the movement of staff into a newly created agency.

Terms and Conditions

  1. The Public Service Regulations 1999 prescribe the terms and conditions for employees moved into an APS agency from another APS agency or from a non-APS Commonwealth agency. See Pay and Conditions.
  2. It is likely that the newly created agency will not have a workplace agreement in place. If so, the agency head establishes terms and conditions for employees by making a determination under section 24(1) of the PS Act. This is an interim arrangement until a workplace agreement is put in place.
  3. In some cases, it may be appropriate for the new agency head to preserve the conditions of employment that previously applied and are sensible to continue.
  4. A section 24(1) determination made following a MoG change can preserve only some, or all, of an employee’s pre-existing terms and conditions. It cannot be used to introduce a new regime.
  5. The gaining agency head is not obliged to carry across any, or all, of the terms and conditions that previously applied. In some cases, it may not be practical to preserve particular conditions. For example, access to work based childcare may not be available in the new agency.
  6. A section 24(1) determination is subject to assessment against the Government's Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 for the Commonwealth public sector.
  7. It may also be necessary to make a separate section 24(1) determination creating interim terms and conditions for employees who are engaged by, or move to, the new agency later but before a workplace agreement is in place. [A 24(1) determination in this case is not made under Public Service Regulations 1999, Regulation 8.1].
  8. Where subsection 24(1) determinations are not underpinned by an existing workplace agreement, the Australian Public Service Enterprise Award 2015 will apply.
  9. Agencies are advised to contact the APSC in relation to any proposed section 24 determination, and particularly in the circumstances described in the above paragraph.

Excess staff

  1. Where the newly created agency considers that it will require fewer staff to perform a function, it may be appropriate to facilitate redeployment within the current agency or to other APS agencies before the administration of the completion of the MoG change.

Working in the APS

  1. See Non-APS agency to APS agency.

Records Management

  1. Responsible officers must take immediate steps to establish a means to record important initial decisions about the legal warrant for the agency, its functions, policy scope and structure. The National Archives can provide specific advice and assistance with systems required for these steps, at the Agency Service Centre. See Records Management.

Governance and Financial Management

  1. For governance arrangements, please email Governance.Policy [at] finance.gov.au.
  2. For funding arrangements, please email annual.appropriations [at] finance.gov.au.
  3. For banking arrangements, please email Banking.Policy [at] finance.gov.au.
  4. For financial reporting arrangements, please email accountingpolicy [at] finance.gov.au.

Property Management and Procurement

  1. For property management and leasing arrangements, please email propertyframework [at] finance.gov.au.
  2. For procurement advice, please email procurementagencyadvice [at] finance.gov.au.

Checklist: Setting up a new APS agency–People matters
Checklist: Setting up a new APS agency–Finance matters

Last reviewed: 
4 April 2019