About us

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment (OCPE) is a central agency within the Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS) with sector-wide responsibility for providing an effective employment framework for the management and development of the NTPS workforce.

The Commissioner for Public Employment is the Chief Executive Officer and, under section 12 of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act, is deemed to be the employer of all employees in the NTPS.

Vision and values

Our vision: Creating a public sector that provides the highest quality service to Territorians.

Values identify what is important in terms of appropriate behaviours in the workplace and how we should interact with others in our everyday work.

The NTPS Values give us a shared understanding of the values that underpin how we work in delivering services to Territorians, promote collaboration and professionalism, guide us in achieving our best performance and set common expectations across the sector for all public servants.

Role and function

The role and functions of the OCPE are to:

  • support the Commissioner’s statutory role, as defined in the Public Sector Employment and Management Act
  • provide sound and timely advice to Government on all aspects of human resource issues affecting the public sector
  • support Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and their agencies to develop relevant human resource management policies and practices
  • advise CEOs on the implementation of policies and practices
  • represent the interests of the Northern Territory Government in workplace negotiations and tribunal hearings as the statutory employer
  • coordinate sector-wide training and development programs
  • address employee concerns through appropriate review and appeal mechanisms
  • identify emerging issues and provide a strategic focus for collaborative partnerships with CEOs
  • provide leadership and guidance in the above matters across the public sector.

OCPE sections and their roles

Employee relations

The Employee Relations area is responsible for the development of a range of human resource management policies for the public sector and provision of advice and assistance to agencies in the application of those policies, including industrial relations matters.

ER also provides a Labour Inspectorate function in response to approaches from private sector employers and employees to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Public Holidays, Annual Leave and Long Service Leave Acts.

Strategic Workforce Development

Planning, developing and strengthening the public sector workforce. The Strategic Workforce Development Business Unit collaborates with all NTPS agencies with the aim of developing and strengthening public sector workforce capability, through the development and implementation of strategic workforce policies and planning, and the provision of professional development opportunities across all levels of NTPS employees.The Strategic Workforce Development Business Unit works with agencies to maximise the performance of staff across the sector. Increasingly services will be able to be provided to remote and isolated localities. The Branch develops and delivers initiatives which are culturally appropriate; recognise regional and Territory-wide perspectives; and are sourced from evidence-based practice and policy.

Aboriginal Employment & Career Development

The main function of the Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Division is drive the implementation of the Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy 2015-2020 and provide guidance and support to all NTPS agencies with the aim of increasing Aboriginal employment across the NTPS.

Public Sector Appeals & Grievance Reviews

The main function of the PSAGR is to ensure that all appeals and grievances are considered with integrity and impartiality and resolved within the principles of merit, equity and fairness. The PSAGR provides protection of the rights of individual employees and upholds managers' rights to carry out their job consistent with sound human resource management practices.

Central Australia Representative

The Central Australia Representative has the function of representing the Office in all matters in the Southern and Barkly regions and acting as a major communication channel with employees in those regions.

Administrative Arrangements Order

The Administrative Arrangements Order gives the OCPE principal responsibility for the following areas of Government administration:

  • public sector
  • industrial relations
  • development and coordination of public and private employment strategies.


The OCPE is responsible for the following Acts:

  • Public Sector Employment and Management Act.
  • Public Sector Employment and Management Act (Transition and Savings).
  • Public Sector Employment (Interim Arrangements) Act.
  • Public Employment (Mobility) Act.
  • Prisons (Arbitral Tribunal) Act.
  • Police Administration Act (Part III).
  • Annual Leave Act.
  • Long Service Leave Act.
  • Public Holidays Act.

Key external influences that affect the operations of OCPE are:

  • community expectations and Government policy on employment and workforce development initiatives – to acquit the Government’s responsibility as the largest employer in the NT
  • Australian Government industrial relations system and reform agenda – as the Northern Territory Self Government Act did not establish a Northern Territory industrial relations system.
  • union activity, particularly in relation to the negotiation of workplace agreements.

OCPE strategic plan 2017 - 20 PDF (157.0 KB)

Annual Reports

OCPE annual report 2018 - 19 PDF (6.8 MB)

OCPE annual report 2017 - 18 PDF (9.2 MB)

OCPE annual report 2016 - 17 PDF (15.4 MB)

Email enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au to ask for this report in a different format. You can also request a copy of the earlier report.

Our Minister

The Hon Gerald McCarthy

Our management

Acting Commissioner for Public Employment Mr David Braines-Mead

Organisation structure

Current OCPE organisation structure PDF (39.1 KB)

Last updated: 23 October 2019