Written by: Jacqui Sealy – The Pro Forum Community of Practice

As the Federal election is now over, and the new Government is sworn in, many changes will happen in the coming weeks with changes to government portfolios, ministers, and the policies that the winning party has promised.  One of the most common changes to the Australian Government during this time is that departments and agencies will merge, break apart, or no longer exist due to a Machinery of Government.  However, this doesn’t always happen straight away and can cause headaches when the Government consolidates portfolios to meet their new agenda.

Changes can sometimes be effective when planning, communication, and responsibilities are clear with action taken to minimise the risks that a merger can sometimes cause.   Communication is required at all levels within the impacted departments, as the staff in these departments must be considered in the process at the very start of the merger.  Resistance amongst the staff can be the catalyst of any merger and this can take months or years to resolve staffing issues if the expectations are not set on what will happen to them, or their jobs, or their working teams.

It is a common concern amongst staff in impacted departments to worry about losing their jobs or movements within their working teams.  When consolidation of departments can often mean a consolidation of the functions within both departments, it is not surprising that people would be concerned about changes to or losing their jobs.  When two functions merge as one, it is likely that there will be duplication of roles and responsibilities, and depending on the needs of the new department, will depend on whether that duplication is necessary, or the number of staff will need to be reduced to a manageable number.


Without knowing what the new Government will bring, it is a great time to remember your staff in times of change.


NOTE: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, and specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. The content must not be relied upon as legal, technical, financial or other professional advice.