The Australian Public Service has a new junior minister, with Patrick Gorman being appointed as a parliamentary secretary to the Minister for the Public Service Katy Gallagher.
He will be known as the Assistant Minister for the Public Service.
Mr Gorman was already the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, a role he will retain with this additional responsibility.
He was elected to the seat of Perth in a 2018 by-election and was appointed Assistant Minister to the PM following last year’s federal election.
His additional appointment highlights the growing task in reforming the APS and the demanding workload assigned to Senator Gallagher, who is also Finance Minister and Minister for Women.
Mr Gorman will carry much of the day-to-day ministerial duties relating to the APS and be often seen as the government’s spokesperson on matters involving the sector.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this week announced several minor tweaks to his ministry, which are mostly extra responsibilities for existing assistant ministers.
They are all aimed at easing the growing workloads of the current senior portfolio ministers.
Canberra’s own Andrew Leigh, the Federal Member for Fenner, gets a new job as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, to be known as Assistant Minister for Employment.
This is in addition to his current role of Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury.
Dr Leigh will be appointed to administer the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations in addition to the Department of the Treasury.
Anthony Chisholm, a senator for Queensland, will continue as Assistant Minister for Regional Development but with added and changed responsibilities.
Senator Chisholm’s appointment will change from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
Senator Chisholm’s appointment as Assistant Minister for Education will not change.
“The new appointments will support our work in delivering stronger foundations for a better future,” the Prime Minister said.
Senator Gallagher has noted that the recent Federal Budget highlighted the Government’s recognition of the need to invest in the APS.
“The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on an ambitious Australian Public Service reform agenda that will put the Australians who use government services front and centre and rebuild capability across the service,” she said.
“The Government is making the necessary investments in the 2023-24 Budget to continue the job of rebuilding the service after 10 years of neglect under the former Coalition government.”
The 2023-24 Budget allocates funding of $10.9 million to establish an in-house consulting function; $8.4 million to build the capability of the APS to address service-wide challenges – including improving gender impact analysis in policy, uplifting APS-wide First Nations cultural competency, and promoting culturally and linguistically diverse capability in the APS – and $3.4m to support the Government’s commitment to achieving 5 per cent First Nations employment by 2030.
“The APS performs a critical role in our democratic system, it should be valued by government, and be focused on serving our citizens,” Senator Gallagher said.