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06. Environment

Last updated 26 July 2023

The tax, superannuation and registry environment is complex. It is globally connected and can be affected or disrupted by geopolitical shifts, emerging technologies and unpredictable events.

The tax, superannuation and registry environment continues to be complex, presenting both opportunities and challenges to the delivery of our purpose and vision. We will continually evolve to meet these challenges and the changing needs of our clients, workforce, and the government. Our operating context requires agility and flexibility as we respond to emerging demands, while continuing to deliver on our commitments to the Australian community and the government. We adopt a whole-of-system perspective to continuously improve our performance, services and culture, building trust and confidence in Australia’s regulatory settings.

Megatrends and our approach

Trust and client perception

Trust is our greatest asset. Our ability to drive willing participation in the tax, superannuation and registry systems is currently being tested as global economic optimism and trust in government institutions declines.

Community sentiment, perceptions of fairness and integrity in the administration of the tax and superannuation systems, and trust in government can all have implications on people’s willingness to engage and comply. With recent large-scale data breaches involving private and other government entities eroding client and community confidence, the ATO must remain a trusted organisation of high integrity. Our focus on system integrity and fairness, coupled with our tailored engagement approaches aim to maintain and grow community confidence in the ATO.

Service evolution and adoption

The evolution of service delivery has been shaped by the rise of the digital economy and exponential growth in technology. By leveraging and building our digital platforms, we can provide streamlined and tailored services that present new opportunities for the community to engage with the tax, superannuation and registry systems.

The ATO has a critical role in the Australian economy, and it is important that the experiences and digital services we provide make it easy for clients to engage with us – that we enable streamlined tax, superannuation and registry services that ‘just happen’. The ATO should ensure that all segments of the community are engaged, even those who have limited or no access to digital services.

Data, analytics and technology

Large-scale use of data, analytics and technology is powering the global digital economy, creating considerable opportunities for all sectors.

Australia’s ongoing economic success depends on its ability to harness technological advances to drive innovation, improve business efficiencies, create new products and markets, and enhance daily life. Amid a surge in technological advancement, including artificial intelligence and high-volume data breaches, safeguarding data holdings is becoming increasingly difficult.

In using data and analytics to enhance services that meet community and government expectations, the ATO remains focused on ensuring data security and strong data stewardship. As a large data-driven agency, we are a key participant in the whole-of-government approach to data, analytics and digitalisation, and we are playing a leading role in data sharing across government. We bring our commitment to our data ethics principles to all our use of data and analytics activities.


With an increasing dependence on technology and a shift towards digital interactions, the significance of cybersecurity and the protection of our systems and information remains critical.

Cyberattacks on businesses have become increasingly prevalent in recent years and this is likely to continue as the digital economy and services continue to grow. The ATO has multiple layers of security in place to govern, protect, detect and respond to cyberthreats. Our staff are our first line of defence against cyberthreats and we continue to work with stakeholders across the public and private sectors to ensure a safe and secure digital experience for the community.

Future of work

New ways of working have emerged driven by the pandemic, technology and employee preferences. Providing a flexible working environment is a key focus within the Australian Public Service (APS) and forms part of a broader reform agenda. In a competitive labour market, our workforce strategies aim to ensure we have the right workforce into the future. A modern staff experience aligned with operational requirements and staff expectations will help to attract and retain the right talent, skills and capabilities to meet current community and government priorities and future challenges.

Geopolitics and geoeconomics

Global crises and shifting national tensions continue to be a feature of the current world view. The challenges facing governments and revenue collection agencies worldwide are shared. The ATO is a world leading revenue collection service that collaborates proactively with other tax jurisdictions to ensure we collectively overcome international tax challenges.

The globalisation of the economy, climate change and geopolitical considerations will impact the tax, superannuation and registry systems into the future as the external environment shifts, both nationally and internationally.

The ATO remains responsive to the impacts on the community of a slowing global economy, political and economic confrontations, and impacts of climate change and natural disasters.