Secretary’s foreword

The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) leads and coordinates the whole of government policies and performance that serves all Victorians.

2020–21 was a demanding year for all Victorians. The response to the impact of COVID-19 was and will remain a major focus for government as we navigate through recovery and our new ways of living and working.

The demands of work, while also navigating the impacts of public health directions on our personal lives, has been an enormous challenge for our people, as it has been for all Victorians.

In rising to these challenges, many parts of the Victorian public service and the public sector have changed the ways in which we work. In our adaption to fast-changing circumstances, we have never been more responsive, more innovative, and more collaborative in delivering and advising on the policies and services of government.

In addition to adapting and responding to COVID-19 challenges, DPC has also changed to reflect the priorities of the government.

This is exemplified in the establishment of the First Peoples–State Relations group in April 2021. This group is charged with leading the delivery of lasting change and strengthening self-determination for Aboriginal Victorians and Traditional Owners by prioritising work on treaty and truth.

In the short term, the First Peoples–State Relations group has also worked closely across government and with community to deliver self-determined, place-based responses to COVID-19 impacts. One such response includes the $10 million COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund as part of a $23 million whole of Victorian government Aboriginal-specific COVID-19 package.

DPC also established Digital Victoria to streamline and accelerate digital reform across government and to contribute data analytics more easily to better inform decision-making.

More broadly, DPC continues to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to leading strong policy outcomes, and professional public administration.

Since its establishment in DPC in 2019, the work of the Fairer Victoria group has centred on fostering inclusive and engaged communities, including across the equality, multicultural affairs, veterans, women and youth portfolios. In February 2021, Fairer Victoria transferred from DPC to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. Its place in this newly created department brings together a dedicated focus to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable in Victoria.

Within DPC, this priority is not lost. Two years after its establishment, the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System handed down its final report on 2 March 2021. Following the government’s acceptance of the Report’s 65 recommendations, DPC has worked closely with the Department of Health to support the planning and delivery of reforms to Victoria’s mental health system and services.

In March 2021 DPC supported the establishment of Breakthrough Victoria Pty Ltd to oversee the Breakthrough Victoria Fund. The fund, which was announced in the 2020–21 Victorian Budget, will drive investment in research and innovation in Victoria, and support Victoria’s economic recovery.

It is difficult to fulsomely list all of DPC’s achievements in 2020–21, but the breadth of information in this annual report describes and accounts for that activity.

I am extremely proud to lead a department and a public service that has shown tremendous resilience and the utmost dedication to improving outcomes for our citizens, businesses, and each other.

I look forward to continuing to work alongside my colleagues at DPC and the Victorian Secretaries’ Board to drive a high performing and professional public service for all Victorians.

Jeremi Moule