Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on public service bosses to "bust congestion" within the bureaucracy, as well as committing to performance targets.
In a meeting with the deputy prime minister Michael McCormack as well as departmental secretaries, Mr Morrison laid out his vision for how the public service would work and the challenges the government faces, including on the international stage.
"I think it very important that we continue to focus on the ways we can use our influence and our relationships and build on those relationships in the Indo-Pacific region and with our friends and partners around the world to continue to be a voice of reason and common sense that is focused on the prosperity and the peacefulness in our region for the people of our region," Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister said the public service should give frank and fearless advice, but was also "professionally responsible" for delivering services to the country.
"Whether it's in the National Disability Insurance Scheme or whether it's in hospitals and infrastructure delivery, where Michael [McCormack] is so involved, concluding arrangements and ensuring that the funding that is provided to the states and territories, and the services that we run through Centrelink, this all needs to work seamlessly and efficiently."
He also signalled the public service would have "very clear targets about performance levels we expect" and that ministers would present clear ideas about the direction the government was going in.
There was also a call for an end to red tape and that Australians and investors want "blockages" dealt with.
"Congestion busting just doesn't need to happen on our roads and around the country," he said.
"Congestion busting needs to happen in the bureaucracy. I want to see some congestion busting in the bureaucracy, ensuring that we get things done."
Mr Morrison also said he respected the role played by the public service.
"I deeply respect, as does Michael, the work of the public service in delivering on the agenda of a government. On delivering on the policies of a government. In every portfolio that I've served in and worked with the public service, that is always the relationship I have had."
The prime minister said he wanted to continue the partnership between the government and the public service.
"I wanted to sent a very clear message that I understand the role that the public service plays in delivering on the government's plans and the government's agenda," he said.
"It is an important partnership. It is a partnership that I respect professionally and I've always had that respect returned to me with all of those I've worked."