It is a reference guide that provides an overview of how government works in Victoria. It explains the functions of key institutions such as Parliament, the executive and the judiciary. It describes the composition and role of the Victorian Public Service and public sector. It also provides information on Victoria’s finances, accountability mechanisms, the employment framework, and the levels of government in Australia.

The Victorian public sector plays a key role in supporting the Government of the day to serve the Victorian people. On behalf of the elected Government, the Victorian public sector funds, delivers and regulates a range of public services. Critical services such as public hospitals, schools and TAFE institutes; the police, courts and corrections system; as well as major roads and public transport, are the most visible areas of public sector activity.

The public sector also provides ambulance, fire and emergency relief services; consumer protection; support for the agricultural industry; and programs to support business development. It is responsible for managing major public buildings and facilities, such as Federation Square, Olympic Park and the MCG; major cultural institutions, such as the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, and the Royal Botanical Gardens; and promoting tourism and major events such as the Van Gogh Exhibition and the Australian Open.

All these services are delivered by organisations and staff that comprise the Victorian public sector. It is a major enterprise with an annual budget of $60 billion and over 200,000 full time employees. As a public sector employee, you may be developing government policy, providing advice to Ministers, or delivering government programs and services. You may be working with communities, the not-for-profit sector or other levels of government such as the Commonwealth or Local government. No matter what your role, you operate within a common framework of governance processes, policies and accountability.

Understanding how government works and the processes of government is a cornerstone of being able to effectively work in the public sector. This guide is intended to assist you in your role.