The Public Administration Act 2004 (PAA) is a key part of your agency's governance framework (the laws, government policies and other obligations that bind it).

The PAA and the codes published under it, such as the Directors’ Code of Conduct, which applies to board members, require:

  • board members to comply with the public sector standards of conduct (e.g. honesty and integrity)
  • boards to have certain policies and procedures in place
  • other governance obligations in the Act to be complied with.

Model policies

Section 81 of the PAA requires most major DEECA agencies (and some small committees of management of crown land reserves) to have certain board policies in place.

Your agency’s policies on these topics should be consistent with the relevant DEECA model policy.

Even if your agency is not legally bound by section 81, it is basic good governance to have policies on these topics:

Another key policy that your board should ensure it has in place is on Induction and education  (professional development).

Guidance notes

Requirements in Divisions 2 and 3 of Part 5 of the PAA

This guidance note:

  • applies to most DEECA agencies (except most committees of management).
  • summarises the obligations in Divisions 2 and 3 of Part 5 of the PAA (sections 79 to 90), for example:
    • section 79 - 'duties of directors' (board members)
    • section 81 - requirement for certain board policies
    • section 85 - board's accountability to the Minister
    • section 89 - powers to remove or suspend a board member.

PAA - Divs 2 and 3 of Part  (PDF, 150.5 KB)
PAA - Divs 2 and 3 of Part 5 (DOCX, 1.8 MB)

Board policies required under section 81 of the PAA

This guidance note:

  • applies to most DEECA agencies (except most committees of management).
  • explains which board policies must be in place to comply with section 81 of the PAA.

PAA - s81 board policies (PDF, 947.0 KB)
PAA - s81 board policies (DOCX, 2.0 MB)

Section 13A and other 2014 amendments to the PAA

Outlines the 2014 amendments to the PAA, in particular, section 13A, which requires DEECA agencies (unless prohibited by law) to provide the Secretary of DEECA with information requested about the agency.

PAA - recent amendments (PDF, 833.1 KB)
PAA - recent amendments (DOCX, 1.8 MB)

Governance links

Related support modules

On Board has related support modules for board members of DEECA agencies, including:

Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC)

As part of its role in promoting good governance in the public sector, the VPSC issues the Directors’ Code of Conduct, which applies to board members, and a range of information about obligations under the PAA.

Watchdog agencies

As part of their watchdog role, the Victorian Ombudsman, the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO), and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) also promote a high standard of public sector governance. For further information see the Integrity complaints  support module.

For example, some reports published by the Ombudsman and VAGO investigate whether boards have suitable policies in place in relation to obligations in the PAA (e.g. conflicts of interest). Other agencies may find these reports useful reading.

Which laws and other governance obligations apply?

Almost all DEECA agencies are public entities (as defined in section 5 of the PAA). Key obligations for DEECA agencies in the PAA include:

  • the board's accountability to the minister (e.g. section 85)
  • the board's overarching duties, for example:
    • act consistently with the functions and objectives of the establishing Act
    • inform the Minister (and the Secretary of DEECA) of major risks to the effective operation of the agency
    • provide the Minister (section 81) and the Secretary of DEECA (section 13A) with information requested about the agency, unless prohibited from doing so by law
    • have certain policies in place for board members (e.g. section 81) and employees
    • act in the public interest.
  • the standards of conduct that board members and staff of DEECA agencies must comply with, in particular:

Page last updated: 05/04/24