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At 31 December 2017, there were 150,489 employees in the Australian Public Service. This was a 1.8% decline from December 2016 and the lowest December headcount over the last decade.

  • The 31 December 2017 headcount comprises 136,392 ongoing employees (90.6%) and 14,097 non-ongoing employees (9.4%).
  • The majority of the headcount decrease over the last 12 months is attributable to the decrease in non-ongoing staff—nearly 2,300 or 14%. While ongoing numbers also fell, this was only by about 500 or -0.3%.
  • Annual December headcounts have been steadily decreasing from a peak of 166,582 in 2011—a fall of just over 16,000 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Headcounts at 31 December by employment status, 2007–2017

  • While casual staff numbers steadily increased between December 2007–2016, they saw a drop from 9,217 to 6,967 over the 12 months to December 2017 (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Non-ongoing employee headcounts at 31 December, 2007–2017

  • We report headcount data for 97 agencies at December 2017. This includes the Department of Home Affairs, which was officially formed under a Machinery of Government change on 21 December 2017. Home Affairs consists of the entire workforce from the former Department of Immigration and Border Protection, along with selected areas moved from Attorney-General’s, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Social Services and Infrastructure and Regional Development. See section About APSED coverage for details.
  • Home Affairs had 14,355 staff at 31 December 2017, making it the fourth-largest agency in the APS. The Department of Human Services (DHS), ATO and Defence were the three largest agencies respectively (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Headcounts at 31 December, 4 largest agencies, 2016 and 2017

Note: at 31 December 2016, Home Affairs was the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.





Last reviewed: 
30 May 2018