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Arts to be merged into new government ‘super-department’

From 1 February 2020, the Department of Communications and the Arts (DCA) will be incorporated into the new Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, meaning the arts will no longer be represented in a federal government department title.

The move is part of a reorganisation of the Australian public service that cuts the number of departments from 18 to 14. Five departmental heads will lose their jobs including DCA secretary Mike Mrdak, who has held the position since September 2017.

‘I was told of the government’s decision to abolish the department late yesterday afternoon,’ Mrdak said in a memo. ‘We were not permitted any opportunity to provide advice on the machinery of government changes, nor were our views ever sought on any proposal to abolish the department or to changes to our structure and operations.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the changes are not designed to cut costs. ‘Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people.’

The DCA was created in September 2015 following the election of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, replacing the Department of Communications and transferring responsibility for the arts from the Attorney-General’s Department. It contains a portfolio that includes entities such as the Australia Council, Prime Minster’s Literary Awards, National Library of Australia, SBS and the ABC.


Category: Local news