Services Australia, formerly the Department of Human Services and before that the Department of Social Security, is an executive agency of the Australian Government, responsible for delivering a range of welfare payments, health insurance payments, child support payments and other support services to eligible Australian citizens and permanent residents.[6] Services Australia delivers social services through the government programs Centrelink, Medicare, the PBS and the Child Support Agency. Eligible Australian citizens and permanent residents can access many of these services through a myGov account.

Services Australia
Agency overview
Formed26 May 2019 (2019-05-26)[1]
Preceding agencies
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Social Security
HeadquartersForrest, Australian Capital Territory[2]
Employees34,294 (at September 2021)[3]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • David Hazlehurst, Chief Executive Officer [5]
Parent departmentDepartment of Social Services
Child agencies
Agency IDNAA CA 9610

The head of the agency is the Chief Executive Officer, currently David Hazlehurst,[7] who is responsible to the Minister for Government Services, currently Bill Shorten.

History edit

The Department of Human Services was created on 26 October 2004 as part of the Australian Government's Finance and Administration portfolio. At the time of its creation, it incorporated the Child Support Agency and CRS Australia. Later, the Human Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011 integrated Centrelink and Medicare into the structure.

The Secretary at the Department's establishment in 2004 was Patricia Scott.[8] Helen Williams was appointed Secretary of the Department in 2007.[9] Finn Pratt succeeded Williams in September 2009 after her retirement from the public service.[10][9]

The department was renamed "Services Australia" and made an Executive Agency in machinery of government changes made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 29 May 2019,[11] following the 2019 federal election.[12]

The agency was formed by way of an administrative order announced on 26 May 2019, with the order coming into effect from 1 February 2020. As a result of this change, the previous secretary, Renée Leon was removed from her role.[13][14] From 1 February 2020, the Department of Human Services began operating under the Services Australia branding with Amanda Cattermole beginning as the agency's acting Secretary until her role was discontinued.[15]

In 2020, Services Australia signed a $460,000 contract with controversial Israeli digital intelligence company Cellebrite, to use its spyware in fraud investigations. The contract was extended in August 2021, bringing the total value to $1.2 million. Services Australia has refused to state which programs it used the technology on to investigate suspected fraud.[16]

Responsibilities edit

The entrance to a Services Australia service centre in Canberra

According to the Administrative Arrangements Order of 29 May 2019, Services Australia is responsible for administering the following services as dictated by their legislation:[11]

  • Centrelink – Human Services (Centrelink) Act 1997[17]
  • Medicare – Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973[18]
  • Child Support Agency[19]

Services Australia also shares responsibility for the myGov platform with the Australian Taxation Office and Digital Transformation Agency.[20]

As part of the administration of these services, Services Australia operates a number of face-to-face service centres across Australia, as well as myGov centres in major cities. In 13 locations across Tasmania, both state and federal services can be accessed through Service Tasmania centres.[21]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Our agency". Services Australia. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  2. ^ Towell, Noel (11 December 2013). "Centrelink boss Kathryn Campbell keeps three offices despite cutbacks". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ Services Australia says own staff numbers rising as union targets 'privatising' of jobs, The Mandarin, retrieved 8 March 2023
  4. ^ "Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services". Services Australia. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Organisation structure". Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  6. ^ "New structure of Government Departments". Prime Minister of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  7. ^ Skatssoon, Judy (11 December 2023). "New Services Australia chief announced". Government News. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  8. ^ Howard, John (22 October 2004). "Appointment of Secretaries" (Press release). Archived from the original on 19 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b Rudd, Kevin (13 August 2009). "Departmental secretaries and statutory office-holders, Canberra" (Press release). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  10. ^ CA 9004: Department of Human Services, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 12 December 2013
  11. ^ a b "Administrative Arrangements Order". Commonwealth of Australia. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  12. ^ Donaldson, David (29 May 2019). "Administrative orders: Home Affairs to grow". The Mandarin. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Administrative Arrangements Order - 5 December 2019" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  14. ^ Morrison, Scott. "Media Release: 5 December 2019 – New structure of Government Departments". Prime Minister of Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Organisation structure – Services Australia". Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  16. ^ Taylor, Josh (14 October 2021). "Services Australia pays $1.2m for controversial spyware for fraud investigations". Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Human Services (Centrelink) Act 1997". Federal Register of Legislation. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973". Federal Register of Legislation. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988". Federal Register of Legislation. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  20. ^ "myGov Digital Services". Australian National Audit Office. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Services Australia Agents". Service Tasmania. Retrieved 1 February 2020.

External links edit

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