Types of Submissions

Cabinet approval of legislation

Cabinet approval of legislation is required at two stages:

  • approval of the policy and to draft the Bill (known as 'in principle' approval)
  • approval of the Bill itself and to introduce it into Parliament.

'In principle' approval to draft a Bill

To seek Cabinet's 'in principle' approval to draft a Bill the general Cabinet workflow applies.

The Cabinet submission should focus on the policy intent of the proposed legislation. It should not recommend specific wording for the Bill as this is a matter for the Parliamentary Counsel.

The Cabinet submission's recommendations must include enough detail to authorise the Parliamentary Counsel to draft the Bill and to issue a report that it has done so in line with Cabinet's decision (known as a PC report).

Only the Secretary or the General Counsel of DPC can authorise drafting of a Bill in advance of Cabinet approval.

Cabinet Standing Committee on Legislation

Where a Bill has been drafted in accordance with Cabinet's 'in principle' approval, Ministers can proceed to have the PC Report considered by the Cabinet Standing Committee on Legislation ( LegCo), rather than submit a further Cabinet submission (known as a 'Bill submission') seeking Cabinet approval of the Bill and its introduction into Parliament.

DPC will determine whether the Bill can be approved by LegCo or whether a Bill submission is required in consultation with the Minister's Office.

Bill Submission

At times, Cabinet is asked to approve a Bill and its introduction into Parliament, including where:

the final Bill differs substantially from Cabinet's 'in principle' approval, or
Cabinet has decided it should approve a Bill (rather than LegCo) before it is introduced into Parliament even if it is consistent with Cabinet's 'in principle' approval.
In these cases, a Bill submission is needed. Its title is simply the short title of the Bill.

You must lodge the Bill and Explanatory Note with the Bill submission which usually requires one stage of consultation, unless there are such significant departures from Cabinet's in-principle decision that the two stage system is warranted. To do this, please contact Cabinet Secretariat for assistance.

A Bill submission that requires one stage of consultation must be circulated for comments five days before it is lodged, and be lodged at least six days before the date of the Cabinet meeting.

Any alternate timings due to Parliamentary scheduling should be discussed with the Cabinet Secretary.

A private member of Parliament may introduce a public bill. Before a vote on a Private Member's bill is taken in Parliament the Government will develop a position on the matters proposed in the Bill. The Government position requires Cabinet approval, which is sought through a submission to Cabinet and usually requires one stage of consultation.

NSW Positions on COAG Council Agenda Items

Before a position is taken on an item to be considered at a Council of Australian Government (COAG) Ministerial Council, there is a requirement to advise the Premier and/or Cabinet of the agenda and the proposed position to be taken. This is done by developing a Cabinet submission with the proposed issues and suggested NSW Government positions and seeking Cabinet endorsement, ensuring a coordinated position across government.

Parliamentary Inquiries or Cabinet Committee

Committees of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly publish reports of inquires that require a Government response six months after publication. To provide for orderly and coordinated response to these inquiries, all responses are to be considered by Cabinet before submission to the Parliament.

The following timings apply:

Step Month
After interagency and stakeholder consultation, the lead agency provides a draft Cabinet submission 3

Cabinet considers the response:

  • If approved, the lead Minister is authorised to provide the Government response to Parliament before the 6-month deadline; or
  • If changes required:
    • the response is returned to the agency with Cabinet instructions
    • the agency delivers updated report to DPC within one month. DPC will coordinate final advice for the Premier to consider and approve.
Minister provides approved submission to Parliament 5-6
Response deadline expires 6

Arrangements for NSW Government submissions to Parliamentary inquiries that are not Government responses, for example submissions during the hearings phase of an inquiry, continue to be determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with Premier's Memorandum M2012-14 State Submission to Inquiries including NSW Statutory and Parliamentary Committees, Inquiries initiated by the Commonwealth Parliament, Government Responses to Public Accounts Committee Reports and Other Reviews.

Commercially Sensitive Cabinet Submissions

Cabinet and Cabinet Committees are sometimes required to consider and approve matters that involve commercially sensitive information, for example, the outcome to a tender process.

This may require limiting the detail or restricting the distribution of submissions or decisions.

Guidelines are available on the eCabinet help portal to support agencies through these submissions.

Joint Submissions

A joint submission is one where more than one Minister sponsors the submission for consideration by Cabinet or Cabinet Committee. There are two scenarios for a joint Cabinet submission:

  • Where more than one Minister sponsors a submission and the Ministers fall within the same NSW Government cluster
  • Where more than one Minister sponsors a submission and the Ministers fall across two or more NSW Government clusters.

Guidelines are available on the eCabinet help portal to support agencies through these submissions.