The Department of Human Services is a Department of State for the purposes of section 64 of the Australian Constitution and the Public Service Act 1999. Accordingly, it also comprises a non-corporate Commonwealth entity for purposes of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).
The department’s purpose statement, shown below, appears in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18.
The department delivers payments and associated services on behalf of partner agencies, and provides related advice to government on social welfare, health and child support service delivery policy.
Outcome and program structure
The Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18 show that the department has one outcome and three programs.
Support individuals, families and communities to achieve greater self-sufficiency; through the delivery of policy advice and high quality accessible social, health and child support services and other payments; and support providers and businesses through convenient and efficient service delivery.
Services to the Community - Social Security and Welfare
The department supports individuals, families and communities to achieve greater self-sufficiency by providing access to social security and welfare payments and services on behalf of the Australian Government.
Services to the Community - Health
The department supports individuals, families and communities to achieve greater self-sufficiency by providing access to health payments and services on behalf of the Australian Government
The department's Child Support program is designed to ensure that both parents contribute to the cost of their children, according to their capacity.
General role and functions
The department provides advice to ensure effective, innovative and efficient service delivery. It delivers a range of government payments and services to almost every Australian including:
- Centrelink payments and services for retirees, the unemployed, families, carers, parents, students, people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people living overseas, as well as providing services at times of major change, including disaster recovery payments
- Aged care payments to services funded under the Aged Care Act 1997 including residential care, home care and flexible care services
- Medicare services and payments that support Australians such as Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), digital health, the Private Health Insurance Rebate, the Australian Immunisation Register, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Register, the Australian Organ Donor Register, and related services for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependants
- Child Support services for separated parents to provide the financial support necessary for their children’s wellbeing.
The department also delivers other services including the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and Early Release of Superannuation Benefits, as well as whole of government services such as myGov.