About the PMRA
The Public Management Reform Agenda (PMRA), with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) as its cornerstone, seeks to modernise the resource management framework of the Australian Government so that it will support high quality resource management and performance now and into the future. The overall direction of the reforms has won wide support from both within and outside government, including professional bodies and groups.
The PMRA commenced in December 2010 with the Commonwealth Financial Accountability Review. The PMRA is a significant initiative, aimed at encouraging fundamental cultural change in the way government does business. The PMRA and PGPA Act have been established on the basis of five guiding principles:
- Government should operate as a coherent whole
- A uniform set of duties should apply to all resources handled by Commonwealth entities
- Performance of the public sector is more than financial
- Engaging with risk is a necessary step in improving performance
- The financial framework, including the rules and supporting policy and guidance, should support the legitimate requirements of the Government and the Parliament in discharging their respective responsibilities.
Stage 1 - 2010 to July 2014
Stage 1 was about establishing the base from which the reform objectives of the PMRA can be advanced. It concentrated on establishing a single resource management framework via rules, instruments and guidance within which Commonwealth entities have the flexibility to adopt appropriate business processes and systems and how they can be streamlined and better focused. It built on many of the strengths of the previous financial framework, but stripped away some process and red tape requirements.
Consultations: During 2011-12, Finance managed extensive consultation across government and with other stakeholders. This included:
- 13 issues papers to facilitate discussion on financial management and performance in 2011
- The discussion paper, Is Less More? Towards Better Commonwealth Performance (March 2012)
- The position paper, Sharpening the Focus (November 2012).
Stage 1 was supported by a project board made up of senior officials from several Commonwealth entities. Steering committees provided oversight and input into the development of the rules and further reforms:
- Governance and Risk Management Steering Committee
- Streamlining and Reducing Red Tape Steering Committee
- Planning and Reporting Steering Committee
- Appropriations and Resourcing Steering Committee
- Legislation and Rules Steering Committee and
- Interstate Committees.
Legislation: In June 2013 the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) was passed. The PGPA Act:
- replaced the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act)
- consolidated into a single act the governance, performance and accountability requirements of the Commonwealth, setting out a framework for regulating resource management by Commonwealth entities and companies
- substantive provisions came into effect on 1 July 2014.
Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the PMRA are progressing concurrently.
The keystone of stage two of the PMRA was the enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework, including annual reports. With the introduction of the annual report requirements earlier in 2016, the final legislative elements of the PGPA Act framework are in place. As a result, the Commonwealth now has enhanced coherence to its governance, performance and accountability arrangements. More information on the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework is available here.
Stage two also involved the development of a differential regulation approach. The concept of what was first called earned autonomy, and which later evolved into the concept of differential regulation, appeared early in the PMRA process. Significant and structured consultation has now taken place with Commonwealth entities around differential regulation with work expected to continue through 2017. More information on Differential regulation is available here. Stage 3 of the PMRA builds on elements of the PGPA Act and enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework, and explores specific elements of the resource management framework.
Independent review after three years
An independent review of the PGPA Act will be conducted after July 2017 in accordance with section 112. The Finance Minister will table the review in Parliament.