May 17

Budget 2014: Public Service gains/losses

This visualisation shows which portfolios are gaining or losing staff comparing the Budget 2013 with Budget 2014.


  • When the image is first displayed the grey circles are the Porfolios: circles connected to portfolios are Departments or Agencies which are part of that Portfolio.
  • Where there has been a loss of staff between Budget 2013 to Budget 2014, the circle will be red, if there has been a gain in staff the circle will be green.
  • The size of the circle is based on how many staff are gained or lost.


  • The circles can be selected and dragged around the screen.
  • When released in a new position the whole graph will “bounce around” on the screen until it settles.
  • Clicking on either the Portfolio circles (or the center circle) toggles the visibility of the linked child circles.
  • Hovering the mouse over a circle will display how many staff are affected and the name that circle represents.


  • Budget Paper 4 – Table 2.2 – Estimates of average staffing levels (ASL) of agencies in the Australian Government general government sector (p122 – p133). Available as a digital download from data.gov.au.


There is still quite a bit to do to complete this visualisation as there is missing information. Importantly some of the gains and losses can be explained due to what are called Machinery of Government changes which moves around blocks of staff as the Government changes the structure of Executive Government. There is plenty of detail contained within the footnotes of the source table yet to be visualised.
This visualisation does however provide another way to look at how public servants (the number employed) is impacted by the decisions of government. It can be seen some portfolios are impacted more than others.

  • _p1_

    Very interesting way to represent this data. As noted, the MoG changes very much shape the result – it would be interesting to see the data from a year without large reorganization of departments and agencies… if such a year exists.

  • http://vislives.com Chris Pudney

    Great work – it inspired me to visualize the same dataset using a Treemap. http://www.vislives.com/2014/06/australian-federal-budget-201415.html

    • davispg

      Hi Chris, nice Treemap viz, I’ve a post in mind which is APS staffing related. Would it be OK if I refer to your viz?

      • http://vislives.com Chris Pudney

        Of course you may (if you say nice things). The treemap is CC4.0 licensed should you wish to reuse/rework it.

  • http://www.whalesongservices.com.au Bill

    This is genuinely important work. Congratulations. The need for coherent, place-based policy is clear. The need for accessible data-visualisations in real-time or near-real-time has, in my opinion, never been more urgent. The complexity of place, requiring nuanced, specific and discrete policy responses has never been more obvious. Thanks for the important and inspiring work.

    • davispg

      Thank you for the kind words Bill.