Department of Communications and the Arts

The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts is a department of the Government of Australia charged with responsibility for communications policy and programs and cultural affairs.

Department of Communications and the Arts
Department overview
Formed21 September 2015 (2015-09-21)
Preceding Department
JurisdictionCommonwealth of Australia
Minister responsible
Department executive
Child agencies

The head of the department is the Secretary of the Department of Communications, currently Mike Mrdak, who reports to the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, who is currently the Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts.


The department was created in September 2015 following Malcolm Turnbull becoming prime minister, replacing the Department of Communications, and transferring responsibility for the arts from the Attorney-General's Department.[1]

Preceding departments

Operational functions

The Administrative Arrangements Order made on 21 September 2015 detailed the following responsibilities to the department:[2]

  • Broadband policy and programs
  • Postal and telecommunications policies and programs
  • Spectrum policy management
  • Broadcasting policy
  • National policy issues relating to the digital economy
  • Content policy relating to the information economy
  • Classification
  • Copyright
  • Cultural affairs, including movable cultural heritage and support for the arts
    • As part of this function, the department administers a programme relating to the return of Aboriginal Australian human remains and cultural objects, the International Repatriation Program (IRP). This programme "supports the repatriation of ancestral remains and secret sacred objects to their communities of origin to help promote healing and reconciliation" and assists community representatives work towards repatriation of remains in various ways.[3][4][note 1]

See also


  1. There was previously a domestic Return of Indigenous Cultural Property (RICP) program run by the former Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA - 207-2010), which supported the return of both human remains and secret sacred objects from institutions within Australia, but it looks as if the functionality has been incorporated in IRP.


  1. Minute Paper for the Executive Council, Executive Council Meeting No. 21 (PDF), Federal Executive Council, 21 September 2015, archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2015, retrieved 4 October 2015
  2. "Administrative Arrangements Order". Commonwealth of Australia. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  3. "Indigenous repatriation". Australian Government. Department of Communications and the Arts. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  4. "Aboriginal remains repatriation". Creative Spirits. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
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