Secretary’s
Introduction

I am pleased to present Treasury’s Corporate Plan 2021-22, as required under section 35(1) (b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

Secretary to the Treasury - Dr Steven Kennedy PSM

Treasury is the Government’s lead economic adviser. Treasury’s purpose is to provide advice to the Government and implement policies and programs to achieve strong and sustainable economic and fiscal outcomes for Australians.

This is a significant responsibility which relies on our professionalism, judgement and expertise.

Our work during 2020-21 has been a vital part of the economic response to COVID-19. Treasury continues to play a key role. Our work is focused on providing sound economic advice and analysis to foster sustainable economic outcomes. We continue to design and deliver policies and programs that assist in securing Australia’s recovery.

In 2020-21 our effectiveness was underpinned by the capability of our staff, our ability to quickly adjust and our preparedness to take on things we would not normally do. We strengthened our relationships and worked across the Commonwealth and the states to deliver integrated health and economic advice.

While we were highly effective, the intensity of work has taken a toll on many of our people, and we will continue to work to support staff wellbeing.

This Corporate Plan – for the reporting period 2021-22 to 2024-25 – sets out how we will direct our efforts to achieve our purpose and deliver on the Government’s priorities, including those set out in the May 2021 Budget.

Our plan provides an overview of Treasury’s operating environment, key priorities and activities, capabilities and how we will measure our performance.

This is our primary planning document and has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the PGPA Act.

I look forward to reporting on our progress in the annual performance statements included in the Treasury Annual Report.

Dr Steven Kennedy PSM
Secretary

August 2021

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Our Purpose

We provide advice to the Government and implement policies and programs to achieve strong and sustainable economic and fiscal outcomes for Australians.

Our Operating Context

  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to heighten risks to Australia and the global economy
  • Securing the economic recovery will require careful setting of fiscal and monetary policy
  • Structural economic changes will continue with some accelerated by the pandemic
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Our Priorities

  • A strong and sustainable economic and fiscal environment
  • Effective Government policies, programs and regulation
  • Organisational capability and sound governance and assurance
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Our Key Activities

  • Provide informed, influential and impactful policy advice and analysis focused on
    • continuing Australia’s COVID-19 response and recovery work
    • strengthening Australia’s financial system, and effective corporate, competition and consumer regulation
    • enabling a stronger, more sustainable tax system in line with Government priorities
  • Ensure effective Government spending arrangements by
    • delivering the 2022-23 Budget, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and any other economic updates as required by Government
    • administering timely and accurate payments to the states and territories, international financial institutions and the Commonwealth Grants Hub
  • Deliver programs associated with the Government’s economic priorities, including COVID-19 economic response programs
  • Deliver the Government’s legislative agenda associated with the Treasury portfolio
  • Administer Treasury’s regulator functions
    • Australia’s foreign investment review framework
    • the payment times reporting scheme
  • Deliver measures focused on small businesses and reducing the regulatory burden on business
  • Deliver infrastructure and project financing advice and actuarial services
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How

iconEnsuring our work aligns with our purpose
iconCreating and sustaining productive relationships
iconDeveloping high performing teams
iconRewarding an inclusive culture
iconSound governance and assurance
  • Ensuring our work aligns with our purpose
  • Creating and sustaining productive relationships
  • Developing high performing teams
  • Rewarding an inclusive culture
  • Sound governance and assurance

Our Purpose

We provide advice to the Government and implement policies and programs to achieve strong and sustainable economic and fiscal outcomes for Australians.

Key Priorities and Activities

A strong and sustainable economic and fiscal environment

  • Provide informed, influential and impactful policy advice and analysis focused on
    • continuing Australia’s COVID-19 response and recovery work
    • strengthening Australia’s financial system, and effective corporate, competition and consumer regulation
    • enabling a stronger, more sustainable tax system in line with Government priorities
  • Ensure effective Government spending arrangements by
    • delivering the 2022-23 Budget, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and any other
      economic updates as required by Government
    • administering timely and accurate payments to the states and territories, international
      financial institutions and the Commonwealth Grants Hub

Effective Government policies, programs and regulation

  • Deliver programs associated with the Government’s economic priorities, including COVID-19
    economic response programs
  • Deliver the Government’s legislative agenda associated with the Treasury portfolio
  • Administer Treasury’s regulator functions
    • Australia’s foreign investment review framework
    • the payment times reporting scheme
  • Deliver measures focused on small businesses and reducing the regulatory burden on business
  • Deliver infrastructure and project financing advice and actuarial services

Organisational capability

  • Ensuring our work aligns with our purpose
  • Creating and sustaining productive relationships
  • Developing high performing teams
  • Rewarding an inclusive culture

Sound governance and assurance

  • Committed to continual improvement of our management and governance practices to assure Australians we work with integrity and accountability

Our operating
context

Australia’s economy, and Treasury’s operating environment, will be shaped by a number of key drivers over the coming years.

Managing the COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020 we dealt with unprecedented challenges posed to our health, jobs and the economy. As we move through 2021, however, the pandemic is far from over. We have witnessed the consequences and impacts of second and third waves around the world and within Australia. These, and other outbreaks, present significant health challenges domestically and globally and continue to disrupt economic recovery in affected countries. The continued roll out of vaccination programs in Australia and overseas are expected to reduce both the risk of death and the speed of transmission of the virus. But uncertainties remain, including about how the nature of the virus could change over time, and so the risks to Australia and the global economy remain heightened.

Treasury will continue to advise the Government on policies to manage the pandemic and the provision of support to businesses and individuals. Having implemented a range of programs in 2020-21, including JobKeeper and Homebuilder, we will continue to implement programs such as the Small to Medium Enterprise Recovery Loan Scheme and the updated business support payments in partnership with jurisdictions. Our response to the pandemic also included important changes to the regulatory framework, such as changes to bankruptcy rules and modernising corporate governance arrangements. We will continue to design and deliver legislative and regulatory changes to respond to the pandemic and promote a strong recovery.

Securing the economic recovery

Australia’s economic recovery has been stronger than expected; stronger than we have seen from any downturn in recent history and initially ahead of any major advanced economy. With the onset of the pandemic, initial forecasts suggested record falls in business investment, household consumption, employment and import activity. Australia has outperformed all of these initial forecasts. Importantly, employment has returned strongly following lockdowns, and the economy has more than recovered the jobs lost during the crisis. However, the recovery continues to face risks. The current delta outbreak and associated lockdowns will significantly moderate short-term growth and highlights the continuing risk created by the pandemic.

Australia’s stronger than expected performance has been underpinned by Australia’s success in suppressing the virus, the way that individuals and businesses have adapted to the new challenges, significant fiscal policy response and supportive monetary policy. It has been assisted by the adaptability and response of our business and household sectors. Treasury is supporting further growth by implementing measures to reduce personal taxes and incentivise business investment, as well as continuing our work to promote well-functioning markets. Fiscal and monetary policy settings will need to continue to be set carefully as the recovery progresses.

Structural economic changes

The Australian economy will continue to experience structural change in the years ahead. The pandemic has changed many things in the Australian economy, disproportionately affecting some sectors and changing the ways that many Australians work and live. While it is not clear how persistent these changes will be, it is clear that the pandemic has accelerated some trends that were already underway.

Digitalisation and technology are changing the information Australians have, how Australians and businesses connect, and the nature of markets. Treasury is supporting businesses and consumers to make the most of digital opportunities, including by unlocking consumers’ data through the roll-out of the Consumer Data Right and reforms to help ensure superannuation works in the best financial interests of all Australians. Treasury is also supporting business to adopt digital technologies through the expansion of the Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Services.

While our debt is sustainable and low by international standards, the ageing of our population will put significant pressure on long-term revenue and expenditure. This, combined with lower immigration due to the international border closure, will have an impact on the size of the labour force.

Global economic shifts also affect our operating environment. The challenge of responding to climate change, geopolitical trade tensions, and decoupling are likely to continue to affect Australia’s trade and economy. Against this backdrop, Treasury will continue to provide advice to the Government on how to achieve strong and sustainable economic and fiscal outcomes for Australians.

Capability

People

Successful delivery of economic and fiscal policy relies on Treasury having a capable and professional workforce. We are committed to investing in our people to ensure we deliver on our priorities.

In 2021-22 Treasury will continue implementing our workforce plan with a focus on recruiting people with the necessary policy, program, regulatory and corporate skills to deliver on our priorities. Our learning and development strategy is an important part of our workforce plan. In 2021-22 and over the forward years, we will implement this strategy to ensure our workforce is appropriately skilled and that we are providing opportunities to develop our people into the future leaders of the Australian Public Service. Treasury is also focused on capitalising on the skills and talents of all members of the community through maintaining and building on the diversity of our workforce.

COVID-19 has challenged traditional working practices across the Australian Public Service with many staff working from home for extended periods. Treasury is updating our flexible working arrangements policy to ensure our people are safe and productive and that our work practices are inclusive as we continue to manage hybrid working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The way we work

Effective stakeholder engagement is core to Treasury’s work. It helps us enrich our advice to Government, assists in better decision making and enhances our relationships with the Australian community. Treasury’s stakeholder group is broad and diverse. It includes other Government entities at the international, Commonwealth and state and territory levels, industry, regulators, consumers, academics, thought leaders and community groups of all sizes.

Treasury remains committed to embedding a culture of effective stakeholder engagement. We will refresh our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy in 2021-22 to reinforce the importance of strong stakeholder engagement practices and relationships. Continuing to build and maintain these cooperative relationships is key to enabling Treasury to deliver robust and considered advice.

Treasury’s Business Liaison Unit’s engagement role was expanded during the height of the pandemic. The Business Liaison Unit now has responsibility for Treasury’s overall stakeholder engagement strategy, systems and training. It also partners with policy areas to conduct effective, joined-up, coordinated consultation.

Information management

Treasury relies on access to high quality data modelling and analysis as well as timely access to information to deliver high quality advice to the Government. We also rely on responsive information and communications technology solutions as a key enabler of our work.

Treasury has developed an Enterprise Information Strategy 2021-24 (the Strategy) which links to our purpose by focusing on being an organisation where information is well managed and utilised to create an effective policy environment.

The Strategy outlines four strategic priorities: optimising our information management practices; creating a positive information experience for all; transforming our information management culture; and becoming a future focused organisation with investments in people, process and technology over a multi year period.

Governance

An impactful and efficient governance structure is vital to enabling Treasury to deliver on our purpose and meet our performance objectives.

Our refreshed enterprise governance committees provide transparency, direction and oversight to the complex strategic and operational matters and risks that affect Treasury. In 2021-22, our focus will be on enhancing best practice governance throughout the department.

Risk oversight and
management

Risk management at Treasury is an enabler of good decision making and robust advice to government. It supports accountability, transparency, engagement and identifies opportunities as they arise.

Our risk management work is supported by frameworks and tools to promote consistency in risk identification, communication, monitoring and decision making. We identify and manage risk and opportunities at the group, divisional and program level, with oversight provided by our governance committees.

These activities, together with an assessment of our environment, inform the annual review of our enterprise risks, outlined below. Our appetite for risk varies according to the activity undertaken and that accepting these risks is based on good professional judgement. This requires everyone to understand both the potential benefits and risks and that sensible measures are in place to mitigate and manage these risks.

Table 1 Our enterprise risks 2021–22

Treasury Enterprise Risks Tolerance
Influential and impactful policy advice and analysis
  1. We build and leverage our relationships with Government, portfolio entities, and other stakeholders and we have a low risk tolerance for poor cooperation impacting on our advice and analysis.
Low
  1. We invest in our modelling and analytical capability to provide advice which is reliable and timely in a rapidly changing economic environment and we have a medium risk tolerance for an iterative approach to delivering and improving our analysis.
Medium
  1. We pursue and make the most of opportunities to drive policy and regulatory reform to improve Australia’s economic outcomes and we have a medium risk tolerance about being unable to control the ultimate decisions.
Medium
Delivery of the economic agenda
  1. Our delivery of the Government’s economic policy and program priorities is timely and realises the intended benefits, and we have a medium tolerance for pursuing innovative and time critical solutions.
Medium
  1. Our legislation program is managed efficiently to reflect the Government’s priorities and the laws we prepare are legally robust, and we have a low tolerance for creating unnecessary burdens on, or creating uncertainty for, regulators, industry and consumers.
Low
  1. Our payments to the States and Territories, and to meet our international obligations, are timely and accurate with streamlined Government funding agreements and we have a low tolerance for payment risks.
Low
  1. We administer regulation effectively, flexibly, transparently and fairly, and we have a low risk tolerance for creating unnecessary burdens on, or creating uncertainty for, industry and consumers.
Low
People, capability and culture
  1. We value, develop and utilise the full potential of our staff and we have a low risk tolerance for being a workplace which does not attract, retain and develop talent and future leaders.
Low
  1. We embed a culture of safety, wellbeing, compliance, accountability, ethics, business resilience and security awareness in our people, and we have a very low to low risk tolerance for any of these factors impacting our relationships, reputation and ability to deliver.
Very Low to Low
  1. We invest in information management, systems and IT capability to improve our efficiency and effectiveness and we have a low risk tolerance to the misuse of our information and a medium risk tolerance for the implementation timeframes associated with these improvements.
Low to Medium

We look to manage these risks by:

  • pursuing opportunities to drive policy reform, and invest in building and leveraging relationships with our stakeholders and our analytical capabilities
  • actively planning, managing and monitoring risks to delivery and benefits realisation
  • investing in people and technical capability, good governance arrangements, and embedding a culture of safety and accountability.

During 2021-22, Treasury will implement a refreshed enterprise risk management framework and will progressively enhance our risk management capability over the duration of this plan. There will be an ongoing focus on managing shared risks with our delivery partners.

Our approach to
performance

The Corporate Plan 2021-22 is Treasury’s primary planning document.
We will achieve our purpose by delivering seven key activities over the four-year period.

Following a review of our purpose statement, performance measures have been restructured to align with the key activities. Together, the key activities and performance measures incorporate changes to the regulator performance reporting and include Treasury’s regulators.

Our performance measures reflect a range of qualitative and quantitative measures, including feedback, outcomes of reviews and analysis of data which measure effectiveness, quality and completeness, and our standard of delivery and regulatory performance.

Activity 1 Provide informed, influential, and impactful policy advice and analysis

Intended Result Treasury’s advice, analysis and forecasting activities will contribute to:
  • Australia’s COVID-19 response and recovery work
  • a strong economy
  • a stronger, more sustainable tax system and revenue arrangements
  • a stronger financial system that is resilient
  • effective corporate, competition and consumer regulation
Performance Measure Percentage of feedback from Treasury ministers, key government entities and stakeholders that indicate our advice was impactful. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of formal and informal feedback mechanisms, reviews, evaluations, and key stakeholder surveys.
Targets
2021–22
Baseline established
2022–23
Target to be determined
2023–24
Target to be determined
2024–25
Target to be determined
Data Sources Records of feedback periodically provided by Treasury ministers, their staff and key stakeholders; consultation processes; stakeholder surveys; and outcomes of reviews and evaluation activities.
Performance Measure Number and quality of engagements or consultations with stakeholders to inform policy advice and analysis. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of engagement and consultation records, data, and stakeholder surveys.
Targets
2021–22
Baseline established
2022–23
Target to be determined
2023–24
Target to be determined
2024–25
Target to be determined
Data Sources Records of engagement and consultation mechanisms, including public consultation on exposure draft legislation and initiatives through Treasury’s website, engagement and consultation activities with Australian Government entities, state and territory government entities and stakeholders.
Performance Measure Forecasting activities are based on best practice and deliver outcomes that inform our economic policy advice. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of forecasts against outcomes and peer review.
Targets
2021–22
Positive assessment and identified areas for improvement are actioned
2022–23
Positive assessment and identified areas for improvement are actioned
2023–24
Positive assessment and identified areas for improvement are actioned
2024–25
Positive assessment and identified areas for improvement are actioned
Data Sources Forecast outcomes data and peer review.

Activity 2 Ensure effective Government spending arrangements

Intended Result The Budget, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and economic updates are delivered in line with the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 (Charter).
Performance Measure Delivered within the required timeframes in line with the Charter. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment against established timeframes.
Targets
2021–22
100%
2022–23
100%
2023–24
100%
2024–25
100%
Data Sources Administrative data of the Budget and economic updates relating to timeframes.

 

Intended Result Payments are administered to states and territories, international financial institutions, and the Commonwealth Grants Hub in accordance with relevant legislation and agreements and are delivered within the agreed timeframes.
Performance Measure Percentage of payments administered within agreed requirements and timeframes (Programs 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 to 1.9).
Methodology Assessment against relevant legislation and agreements, Commonwealth Grant Agreement, and Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations.
Targets
2021–22
100%
2022–23
100%
2023–24
100%
2024–25
100%
Data Sources Administrative data of payments.

Activity 3 Deliver programs associated with the Government’s economic priorities, including COVID-19 economic response programs

Intended Result Our delivery of the Government’s economic priorities, including the COVID-19 economic response in the Treasury portfolio, is timely, in line with the priorities of the Government, and realises the intended benefits and objectives.
Performance Measure Treasury ministers confirm that our program delivery is timely and in line with the Government’s economic priorities. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of data collected through structured interviews with Treasury ministers on the delivery of programs.
Targets
2021–22
Delivery is aligned to Government priorities
2022–23
Delivery is aligned to Government priorities
2023–24
Delivery is aligned to Government priorities
2024–25
Delivery is aligned to Government priorities
Data Sources Records of interview collected at the end of the reporting period.

Activity 4 Delivery of the Government’s legislative agenda associated with the Treasury portfolio

Intended Result The legislative program is ready for introduction in line with the Government’s priorities and within the required timeframe.
Performance Measure Proportion of legislative measures committed for delivery at the beginning of a parliamentary sitting period compared to the number actually introduced. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of the legislative agenda against the legislative program.
Targets
2021–22
90%
2022–23
90%
2023–24
90%
2024–25
90%
Data Sources Administrative data for legislative agenda.

Activity 5 Administer Treasury’s regulator functions

Intended Result Treasury’s regulator performance continues to improve in line with the Regulator Performance Guide and in consultation with stakeholders.
  • Australia’s foreign investment review framework
  • payment times reporting scheme
Performance Measure Percentage of key stakeholders agree that regulator activities are responsive to the environment and builds trust. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Survey of key stakeholders of performance against principles of regulator best practice.
Targets
2021–22
70%
2022–23
70%
2023–24
75%
2024–25
80%
Data Sources Survey data of regulator functions.
Performance Measure Percentage of key stakeholders agree that regulatory activities are risk based and data driven. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Survey of key stakeholders of performance against principles of regulator best practice.
Targets
2021–22
70%
2022–23
70%
2023–24
75%
2024–25
80%
Data Sources Survey data of regulator functions.
Performance Measure Percentage of key stakeholders who have a high level of satisfaction with regulator services, engagement and consultation. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Survey of key stakeholders of performance against principles of regulator best practice.
Targets
2021–22
70%
2022–23
70%
2023–24
75%
2024–25
80%
Data Sources Survey data of regulator functions.

Activity 6 Deliver measures focused on small businesses and reduce the regulatory burden on business

Intended Result Small businesses are supported by the adoption of digital technologies and reduced regulation to be sustainable and productive.
Performance Measure Number of small businesses assisted. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Services provider data.
Targets
2021–22
17,000*
2022–23
7,000
2023–24
7,000
2024–25
7,000
Data Sources Administrative data for Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Services.

* The 2021-22 target involves additional funding allocated to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The targets for future years are based on the standard funding allocation.

Activity 7 Deliver infrastructure and project financing advice and actuarial services

Intended Result Our delivery of specialist services and advice:
  • informs and influences Government infrastructure planning, investment decision making, and builds capability across government
  • provides Government, and its departments and agencies, with actuary and financial risk advice
Performance Measure Proportion of clients that are satisfied with the delivery of specialist services and advice. (Program 1.1)
Methodology Assessment of delivery as agreed with clients and client feedback.
Targets
2021–22
80%
2022–23
80%
2023–24
80%
2024–25
80%
Data Sources Administrative data of specialist services and advice provided to clients and client feedback.
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