The Department of the Treasury (or The Treasury) is the Australian Government department responsible for economic policy, fiscal policy, market regulation, and the Australian federal budget. The Treasury is one of only two government departments that have existed continuously since Federation in 1901, along with the Attorney-General's Department. The head of the department is the Secretary to the Treasury, presently Philip Gaetjens, who reports to the Treasurer of Australia, presently the Hon. Josh Frydenberg and the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, presently the Hon. Kelly O'Dwyer .
The Commonwealth Treasury was established in Melbourne in January 1901. 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.
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.
Secretaries to the Treasury
The Secretary to the Treasury is the public service head of the department. Below is the list of Secretaries.
In 2008, Treasurer Wayne Swan called Secretary to the Treasury Ken Henry an “independent economic regulator,” similar to the Governor of the Reserve Bank. 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.
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.
Henry Tax Review List of Australian Commonwealth Government entities
Official website Reserve Bank Board Members