Public service jobs will grow as the federal government pours money into services and leans on its agencies to deliver the health and economic recovery from COVID-19.
But the government will keep its cap on staffing levels despite embracing larger numbers of bureaucrats on its payroll and flagging a new approach to planning the public service's workforce.
Budget papers show the bureaucracy's average staffing level will reach nearly 174,300 next fiscal year, up 5400 compared to 2020-21 numbers.
Among the agencies with the largest growth are the Health Department (500 new staff), the Home Affairs Department (500), ASIO (280), the Australian Federal Police (290) and the CSIRO (400).
The government's growing aged care spend will also bolster the ranks of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which is expected to add more than 300 staff to its ranks and reach 831 employees.
Despite expanding the ranks of multiple public service agencies, the government will again shrink the agency that helped deliver JobSeeker payments to 1.5 million unemployed Australians during COVID-19.
Services Australia will shed 800 staff after a temporary reprieve from years of job cuts in 2020, when the pandemic first put it at the front line of the government's economic response.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, in his first federal budget overseeing public service spending, said there would be modest increases in the bureaucracy's staffing "as Australia recovers its equilibrium and gets back to normal rates of economic and population growth".
Funding for departments would grow as the government increased its services in 2021-22, and the growth in staffing reflected "major efforts to address an unusual convergence of health, economic and social challenges", he said.
Minister Birmingham said some of the increased staffing levels will be required for four years.
Caps on average staffing levels - a controversial limit on public servant numbers blamed for a growing spend on contractors and consultants - would remain as the government "transitions toward the next phase of its workforce-planning approach".
The government also announced it will bring 14 agencies onto a platform for shared corporate services, at a cost not revealed in budget papers due to "commercial sensitivities". Services Australia will develop the technology, called GovERP.
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