Government of the Australian Capital Territory

The Government of the Australian Capital Territory, also referred to as the Australian Capital Territory Government or ACT Government, is the executive authority of the Australian Capital Territory, one of the territories of Australia. The leader of the party or coalition with the confidence of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly forms Government. Unlike the Australian States and the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly directly elects one of their number to be the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory as the head of the Government, rather than being appointed by a Governor or Administrator.[1]

Government of the Australian Capital Territory
Logo of the Australian Capital Territory government and its directorates
Coat of arms of the City of Canberra, used for formal and ceremonial purposes.
Australian territoryAustralian Capital Territory
Legislative branch
LegislatureAustralian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
Meeting placeAustralian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, Canberra
Executive branch
LeaderChief Minister
AppointerACT Legislative Assembly
Meeting placeAustralian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, Canberra
Judicial branch
CourtSupreme Court

Since December 2014, the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory has been Andrew Barr, leader of the Labor Party. Following the 2016 ACT election the Government has been formed by a coalition of twelve Labor members and two Greens members. The terms of the coalition are outlined in the Parliamentary Agreement for the 9th Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory.[2]

Ministers are appointed by the Chief Minister.[3] The current ministry of the Australian Capital Territory (Second Barr Ministry) comprises eight of the twenty five Members of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly.[4]

Constitutional framework

The ACT has internal self-government, but Australia's Constitution does not afford the territory government the full legislative independence provided to Australian states. Government for the Australian Capital Territory is outlined in Commonwealth legislation; the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988.[5] Nonetheless, the ACT is governed according to the principles of the Westminster System, a form of parliamentary government based on the model of the United Kingdom.

Legislative power rests with the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly.

Executive power rests formally with the Executive, which consists of the Chief Minister and Ministers, and is informally called the Cabinet.

Judicial power is exercised by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and a system of subordinate courts, but the High Court of Australia and other federal courts have overriding jurisdiction on matters which fall under the ambit of the Australian Constitution.

The ACT does not have a separate system of local government such as that seen in the Australian States and the Northern Territory. In the ACT, government functions that would usually be handled by local government are instead directly handled by the Territory government.

Current Ministry

The current arrangement of the incumbent ministry (Second Barr Ministry) of the ACT was appointed on 26 August 2019, comprising seven Labor Party members and one Greens member.[4]

Portfolio Minister Party affiliation Term start Term end Term in office
  • Chief Minister
  • Treasurer
  • Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality
  • Minister for Tertiary Education
  • Minister for Tourism and Special Events
  • Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment
Andrew Barr MLA   Labor 26 August 2019 (2019-08-26) incumbent 113 days
  • Deputy Chief Minister
  • Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Minister for Housing and Suburban Development
  • Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
  • Minister for Sport and Recreation
  • Minister for Women
Yvette Berry MLA   Labor
  • Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries
  • Minister for the Environment and Heritage
  • Minister for Planning and Land Management
  • Minister for Police and Emergency Services
Mick Gentleman MLA   Labor
  • Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
  • Minister for Children, Youth and Families
  • Minister for Health
  • Minister for Urban Renewal
Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA   Labor
  • Attorney-General
  • Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events
  • Minister for Building Quality Improvement
  • Minister for Business and Regulatory Services
  • Minister for Seniors and Veterans
Gordon Ramsay MLA   Labor
  • Minister for City Services
  • Minister for Multicultural Affairs
  • Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction
  • Minister for Roads and Active Travel
  • Minister for Transport
Chris Steel MLA   Labor
  • Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Minister for Corrections and Justice Health
  • Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety
  • Minister for Mental Health
Shane Rattenbury MLA   Greens
  • Minister for Community Services and Facilities
  • Minister for Disability
  • Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety
  • Minister for Government Services and Procurement
Suzanne Orr MLA   Labor

ACT Government Directorates

The ACT Government is served by a unified ACT Public Service agency, reporting to a single Head of Service.

Administrative units, known as Directorates, are grouped under areas of portfolio responsibility. Each Directorate is led by a Director-General who reports to one or more Ministers.

As of November 2019, there are seven Directorates:[6]

Public Authorities and Territory Owned Corporations

The ACT Government also has a number of Public Authorities and Territory Owned Corporations:[7]

  • ACT Building & Construction Industry Training Fund Board: providing funding for the training of eligible workers in the ACT building and construction industry.
  • ACT Long Service Leave Authority: administers portable long service leave schemes.
  • ACT Teacher Quality Institute: an independent statutory authority established to build the professional standing of ACT teachers and to enhance the community’s confidence in the teaching profession through professional regulation and practical initiatives to raise teacher quality.
  • Cultural Facilities Corporation: manages the Canberra Theatre Centre; the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG).
  • Icon Water Limited: providing drinking water and wastewater services to the ACT and surrounding regions.
  • EvoEnergy: owns and operates the ACT electricity and gas networks as well as gas networks in Queanbeyan and Palerang shires and Nowra.
  • Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission: a statutory body set up to regulate prices, access to infrastructure services and other matters in relation to regulated industries and to investigate competitive neutrality complaints and government-regulated activities. The ICRC also has responsibility for licensing utility services and ensuring compliance with licence conditions.

The following are officers of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly:

See also


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