Year in review

This year has given rise to a series of extraordinary challenges, from the summer bushfires to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which have impacted the way we live and work like never before. In this environment, the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s role in providing leadership and driving innovation and collaboration for the benefit of the Victorian community has been more vital than ever.

The scale of this year’s bushfires across the eastern part of the state was devastating. DPC supported the rapid establishment of Bushfire Recovery Victoria and the Victorian Bushfire Appeal to work with local communities impacted by the fires and led the coordination and planning of recovery efforts.

The government’s declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March prompted a new way of working across the Victorian public service (VPS) and saw the department’s successful transition to a remote working model. DPC worked quickly to implement changes to the structure of the Victorian Government to support the response to the unprecedented health, economic and social policy challenges presented by coronavirus (COVID-19).

DPC has responded, and continues to respond, with incredible professionalism, flexibility and resilience to meet these challenges. The unwavering commitment demonstrated by DPC staff while navigating a period of significant change, both at work and at home, has been outstanding.

VPS employees, whether responding directly to the pandemic on the frontline or working from home to support the core business of government, have embraced new ways of working and continue to serve the Victorian community.

Importantly, as evidenced by some of the remarkable work highlighted in this annual report, the bushfires and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have not stopped DPC from delivering notable initiatives and ably supporting the core business of government over the course of the year.

In December 2019, in a major step forward on the path to Treaty, the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria was officially declared as Victoria’s Aboriginal Representative Body in accordance with the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018. The Assembly, consisting of Victorian Traditional Owners, is the first democratically elected body for Aboriginal Victorians in the state’s history and is working in partnership with the Victorian Government to establish the framework to support future treaty negotiations.

Other important work delivered by DPC this year includes:

  • establishing and supporting the Suburban Rail Loop Authority to coordinate and progress the Suburban Rail Loop Project and transform Victoria’s public transport system
  • planning for the historic 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, including online commemorative services, to ensure Victorians could mark this important milestone
  • delivering the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce, which investigated the conditions for on-demand workers in the Victorian labour market and made recommendations aimed at fairer arrangements and promoting a level playing field
  • launching the Jobs and Skills Exchange jobs-matching platform to enhance workforce mobility across the VPS
  • supporting the development and release of the Victorian Forestry Plan to assist the industry to transition to a plantation-based timber supply by 2030
  • collaborating with departments and agencies to improve the use of data and advanced analytics to support decision-makers and drive better health, social, economic and environmental outcomes for Victorians
  • enacting the Gender Equality Act 2020 to improve and support workplace gender equality across Victoria’s public sector, universities and local councils.