Public administration and politics in NSW: a statistical profile

Public sector Australia New South Wales
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This paper, the fifth in the Social Indicators series published by the NSW Parliamentary Library, provides a snapshot of public administration and politics in NSW. While the focus is on NSW, relevant information is provided on the other States and Territories to assist in providing appropriate context and perspective for the NSW data.

Section one examines the public sector at a Local, State/Territory and Federal level. There are 1.9 million public sector employees throughout Australia, of whom 563,400 are in NSW. The NSW public sector employs 444,700 people, more than one in ten of all employed person in NSW. The Health and Education sectors account for 60% of employment. The NSW public sector is more feminised than NSW employment as whole, with the majority of its employees being women. Its workforce is also older, with more than half of all employees aged 45 years or over.Section one also briefly considers the issues of how to define the public sector and whether public sector workers are overpaid. Whilst attitudes towards the public sector and its efficiency vary, much community support exists for the government provision of numerous services including: electricity, universities, transport, water, motorways, community services and prisons.
Section two of the paper is concerned with the parliaments and governments throughout Australia, with a focus on NSW. It compares the composition of Australian parliaments, by party, House and gender. The number of sitting days and passage of Acts throughout the year are noted. For each jurisdiction, information is also provided on the composition of Government Ministries. Australian citizens may be called to serve on juries, they must vote in Australian elections, they have the right to stand for election to Parliament, and they may apply for an Australian passport which enables them to leave and re-enter Australia.
Section three considers the notion of citizenship and provides a summary of the number and distribution of citizens within Australia. It also refers to the number of new citizens and where they are from. It notes the number of voters on the electoral roll, voter turnout in recent elections and the level of informal voting. It also highlights some of the ways Australians participate in the wider community, with almost 19% of people actively participating in civic and political groups in the previous year. The changing nature of political party and trade union membership is also discussed.
Sources are identified throughout the paper. However, much of the data on the NSW public sector has been sourced from the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet’s ‘Public Sector Workforce Snapshot Tables’ which are available from

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