Australian Government bodies are diverse, which means classification is not always straightforward. The following table provides guidance on the main types of Australian Government bodies included on the Australian Government Organisations Register (the Register). Bodies may possess some, but not all, of the features listed. Where a government body could be classified under more than one body type, the most relevant classification has been chosen.
Scope of the Register
There are 12 main types of bodies which are listed on the Register:
- Principal Australian Government Body
- Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entity;
- Corporate Commonwealth Entity;
- Commonwealth Company.
- Secondary Australian Government Body
- Advisory Body – Policy and Stakeholder Consultation;
- Statutory Office Holders, Offices and Committees;
- Non-Statutory Function with Separate Branding;
- Ministerial Councils and related bodies, including sub-committees and working groups of these bodies;
- Inter-jurisdictional and international bodies.
- Other Bodies
- Subsidiaries of Corporate Commonwealth Entities and Commonwealth Companies;
- Joint Ventures, Partnerships and Other Companies;
- National Law Bodies;
- Bodies Linked to the Australian Government through Statutory Contracts, Agreements and Delegations.
Details on bodies excluded from the Register are included below.
Portfolios are responsible for collecting and updating information about the bodies listed on the Register.
Types of bodies
|Type of Australian Government Body
|A: Principal Australian Government Body - Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entity
|B: Principal Australian Government Body - Corporate Commonwealth Entity
|C: Principal Australian Government Body - Commonwealth Company
|D: Secondary Australian Government Body - Advisory body - policy and stakeholder consultation*
|E: Secondary Australian Government Body - Statutory office holders, offices and committees
|F: Secondary Australian Government Body - Non-statutory function with separate branding
|G: Secondary Australian Government Body - Ministerial Councils and related bodies, sub-committees and working groups of these bodies*
|H: Secondary Australian Government Body - Interjurisdictional and international bodies*
|I: Other Body - Subsidiaries of Corporate Commonwealth Entities and Commonwealth Companies
|J: Other Body - Joint ventures, partnerships and interests in other companies
|K: Other Body - National Law bodies*
|L: Other Body - Bodies linked to the Australian Government through statutory contracts, agreements and delegations*
Sub-bodies of committees, working groups and advisory bodies, etc. are generally listed as separate entries on the Register where at least half of their memberships are drawn from outside the parent bodies’ membership. Another consideration relevant to determining whether a sub-body should be listed separately on the Register is whether the sub-body has its own separate terms of reference.
The following types of bodies are generally excluded from the Register:
- Internal management, advisory and administration bodies (including Commonwealth officials-only working groups and inter-departmental committees). Many of these are time-limited and their primary purpose is to assist departments and other government entities with their internal management, administration, and policy development/co-ordination.
- The High Court of Australia, as it is not a Commonwealth entity due to its status under its enabling legislation.
- Parliamentary Committees, as their creation is controlled by the Parliament rather than the Government.
- Bodies that have been announced by the Government, but which are not yet established or substantially operational.
For queries on the types of bodies captured on the Register, please email OAR@finance.gov.au
‘Inactive’ bodies are dormant bodies, which meet for a specific purpose from time-to-time but are not considered to have ceased in the interim. In some instances, they may lay dormant for a prolonged period of time (years even) until a specific event triggers the members to meet to consider matters in order to provide advice and/or make decisions.
Time Limited Bodies
Some bodies are considered to be ‘time limited’ where they exists for only a set period of time. Only bodies that continue in existence for 3 months or longer should be reported on the Register.
Where the ‘life’ of the body is shorter than 3 months, they should be excluded from reporting except where there is a need to report the appointees to meet Senate Order 15 reporting requirements.
Abolitions and Cessations
A body created through statutory means can only cease once its enabling legislation has been successfully repealed. Even though a decision has been made to abolish the body by the Government, legally it still exists until its underlying authority is repealed.
Subsidiaries of corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies can only be abolished once sold (or when the Government's material component is sold) or when they are wound-up and deregistered on ASIC's Organisation and Business Names Register (or another similar register for those bodies registered in an overseas jurisdiction).
In general, for all other bodies, they can only cease when the underlying authority is no longer relevant.
Reporting of Creation Dates
A Department’s or entity’s creation date will always be based on the authority that establishes it, for example:
- A Department’s creation date will be based on the date the Administrative Arrangement Order (AAO) was issued. This includes those changes where existing Departments are renamed by an AAO.
- For a PGPA Act entity, the creation date will be based on the commencement date as specified by its enabling legislation or through listing in Schedule 1 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.
Where a secondary body is replaced by a Department or PGPA Act entity, its creation date will be based on the commencement date as specified by the authority establishing the new Department or PGPA Act entity.
Similarly, where a PGPA Act entity is merged into an existing Department or entity and continues to exist as a secondary body with an identical name, the creation date will be based on the commencement date establishing the secondary body under the new authority (this could be through legislative or non-statutory means, that is, the date of effect for when the non-statutory function with a separate branding commenced operations).
This approach ensures the creation dates are tied to the relevant authority and overarching governance arrangements.
Secondary and Other Bodies
The creation date for secondary bodies will usually be based on the authority for when they were established. Sometimes that authority may mean when the Government assumed control of the entity. Some more specific examples are provided below:
- Where they are established by legislative means, their creation date will be based on the commencement provisions as specified by the Act. Usually applies to Category E and K bodies and to Category L when they are considered to be established by the existence of a statutory contract.
- The creation date of advisory/non-statutory bodies (usually Category D and F bodies) is based on:
- the body’s terms of reference
- a Ministerial announcement proclaiming its commencement
- when it commenced operations
- when it first meets, and/or
- when the first chairman is appointed and has commenced in the role.
- For Ministerial Councils and inter-jurisdictional bodies, these would be based on the effective commencement date as specified within the agreement/treaty obligation. For smaller Ministerial Council sub-committees and working groups, their creation date could be determined by referring to their terms of reference where one exists. Usually applies to Category G and H bodies.
- For subsidiaries of corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies their creation date should be based on when the Government assumed control of the entity which can vary depending on the circumstances:
- where the Government establishes the subsidiary from the beginning, the creation date will match the registration date reported by ASIC’s Organisations and Business Names Register, or
- where a corporate Commonwealth entity assumes control of an existing subsidiary (that is, purchases an existing entity), the creation date will need to reflect when the controlling interest was assumed to have taken effect, that is, the date for when the shares were transferred to the parent entity. This usually applies to Category I bodies.
- For Joint ventures and partnerships their creation date needs to reflect when a controlling interest was assumed to have taken effect. Usually applies to Category J bodies.
- Where a body existed prior to the 2014-15 financial year and its exact creation date is unknown, but the year in which it was created is, the creation date is to be defaulted to the start of the financial year (that is, 1 July XXXX).
- Where the month is known, but the exact day is not, then refer to the first day of the month. The above covers the most common examples for determining a body’s creation date. Where a body exists that is not captured by one of the above examples, the principals of referring to when the underlying authority came into effect and/or when control was assumed continue to apply.