Department of the Treasury (Australia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Department of the Treasury
Department of the Treasury (Australia) logo.gif
Australian Treasury.JPG
Main offices in Canberra.
Agency overview
Formed 1901
Jurisdiction Australia
Headquarters Canberra
Employees 1,056 (at April 2013)[1]
Ministers responsible
Agency executive
Parent agency Commonwealth of Australia
Child agencies
Website Department of the Treasury Website

The Department of the Treasury is an Australian Government department, formed at Federation. Its role is to develop economic policy and prepare the Australian federal budget. The department is headed by the Treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison. The current Assistant Treasurer is Kelly O'Dwyer. The Minister for Small Business, Kelly O'Dwyer, is within the Treasury portfolio.


The Commonwealth Treasury was established in Melbourne in January 1902.[2] The department is focused on developing Australian taxation system, land and income tax and economic policies.


The department is divided into four groups, Fiscal, Macroeconomic, Revenue and Markets with support coming from the Corporate Services Division. These groups were established to meet four policy outcomes:

Effective government spending and taxation arrangements
The Treasury provides advice on budget policy issues, trends in Commonwealth revenue and major fiscal and financial aggregates, major expenditure programmes, taxation policy, retirement income, Commonwealth-State financial policy and actuarial services.
Sound macroeconomic environment
The Treasury monitors and assesses economic conditions and prospects, both in Australia and overseas, and provides advice on the formulation and implementation of effective macroeconomic policy.
Well functioning markets
The Treasury provides advice on policy processes and reforms that promote a secure financial system and sound corporate practices, remove impediments to competition in product and services markets and safeguard the public interest in matters such as consumer protection and foreign investment.
Effective Taxation and retirement income arrangements
The Treasury provides advice and assists in the formulation and implementation of government taxation and retirement income policies and legislation as well as providing information on material changes to taxation revenue forecasts and projections.

Financial regulation[edit]

The department works with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Reserve Bank of Australia via the Council of Financial Regulators Working Group to ensure that market operators have appropriate oversight and to facilitate crisis management if required.[3]

Secretaries to the Treasury[edit]

The Secretary to the Treasury is the public service head of the department. Below is the list of Secretaries.

Name Dates
George Allen 1 January 1901 - 13 March 1916 (appointed retrospectively on 9 July 1901)
James Collins 14 March 1916 - 26 June 1926
James Heathershaw 3 August 1926 - 28 April 1932
Sir Henry (Harry) Sheehan 29 April 1932 - 28 February 1938
Stuart McFarlane 24 March 1938 - 29 January 1948
George Watt 23 November 1948 - 31 March 1951
Sir Roland Wilson 1 April 1951 - 27 October 1966
Sir Richard Randall 28 October 1966 - 31 October 1971
Sir Frederick Wheeler 1 November 1971 - 5 January 1979
John Stone 8 January 1979 - 14 September 1984
Bernie Fraser 19 September 1984 - 18 September 1989
Chris Higgins 19 September 1989 - 6 December 1990
Tony Cole 14 February 1991 - 23 March 1993
Ted Evans 24 May 1993 - 26 April 2001
Ken Henry 27 April 2001 - 4 March 2011
Martin Parkinson 7 March 2011 - 12 December 2014
John Fraser 15 January 2015 +

Treasury’s independence[edit]

In 2008, Treasurer Wayne Swan called Secretary to the Treasury Ken Henry an "independent economic regulator," similar to the Governor of the Reserve Bank.[4] When asked after the 2009 Budget about Treasury’s independence, Henry replied:

Strictly of course we're not. The Treasury Department is a department of state. It is part of the executive government. It works to the government of the day, whatever the political persuasion of the government of the day. And so in that sense of course the Treasury is not independent from government and it can never behave as if it is independent from government.

But there's another sense in which it does have a degree of independence and that is that the Treasury conducts its analysis without government interference. It's up to the government of the day to decide whether to accept that analysis or whether to reject that analysis.[5]

— ABC Radio, Tuesday, 19 May 2009


The department is legally required to provide a Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook containing updated reports on the economic and fiscal outlook shortly after the issuing of a writ for a general federal election.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Public Service Commission (2 December 2013), State of the Service Report: State of the Service Series 2012-13 (PDF), Australian Public Service Commission, p. 253, archived from the original (PDF) on 6 December 2013 
  2. ^ Our Department. The Treasury. Retrieved on 24 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Finance and Markets". The Treasury. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Jennifer Hewett (21 October 2008). RBA warns on bank guarantee as Reserve and Treasury at loggerheads. The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved on 24 June 2012.
  5. ^ Stephen Long (19 May 2009). Treasury boss says Budget was beyond the 'reading age' of its critics. PM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  6. ^ "Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook". Commonwealth of Australia. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 

External links[edit]