What needs to go to Cabinet and what Cabinet document to use?

Use a Cabinet submission if Cabinet is being asked to approve a proposal. A Cabinet submission will include one or more recommendations. A Cabinet submission should be used for the following items:

Strategic policy

  • Significant or sensitive policy decisions, whether they are new policy issues or changes to existing policies
  • Significant or sensitive issues requiring extensive consultation within the public sector or with non-government organisations
  • Recommended negotiating positions on significant industrial relations issues
  • Significant policy announcements or politically sensitive Ministerial statements to Parliament
  • Establishing a new government board or committee


Financial matters

Intergovernmental matters

  • Most forms of intergovernmental agreement, for example national agreements and national partnership agreements
  • Applications for Commonwealth grant funding by state government agencies that:
      • include a component of state government funding not being met within existing resources
      • is likely to be greater than per capita share or over $11 million (incl GST)
      • and includes all grants within the scope of the Commonwealth Grants Commission calculation for GST relativities
    • Proposals with a possible effect on relations with other governments (Commonwealth, state or local) or their agencies
    • The government's negotiating position on significant or contentious items for ministerial meetings
    • Submissions to state or national inquiries and reviews of issues that are contentious or controversial
    • The government’s position in relation to proposals for Australia to enter into international treaties

Any significant appointments including to the judiciary, government boards and committees and Chief Executives. The Templates, Forms and Checklists page has further information.
Administrative matters

  • Machinery of government changes
  • Offers of rewards
  • Other matters requiring Executive Council approval

Cabinet notes

Use a Cabinet note to provide information to Cabinet. A note is for information only and cannot be used where Cabinet approval is required, including in-principle approval.

The following must be noted by Cabinet:

  • Progress of significant strategies or projects of importance to Cabinet
  • Public release of significant reports
  • Outcome of travel by ministers (principles and reporting requirements can be found in the Premier's Guideline: Air Travel by Ministers and their Staff)
  • The Government’s position on a Private Member’s Bill or motion.
  • Early advice of significant emerging issues that may impact on the budget or require a major change in policy direction for the Government
  • The outcomes of ministerial meetings if South Australia’s position was not endorsed or the matter is controversial or contentious.

Other items can also be noted by Cabinet. Whether a matter requires noting by Cabinet is a matter of judgement, taking into consideration if the matter is contentious or controversial.

If the item is straight forward then it may not be required to come to Cabinet. Examples of items that do not need to be noted by Cabinet include the outcomes of ministerial councils if South Australia’s position was endorsed.

Use a strategic discussion ‘A3’ to support a strategic discussion (Thursday) Cabinet.


Cabinet documents are the property of the government of the day and must be held securely and separate from other working documents of government. Confidentiality is crucial at every stage of Cabinet’s operations. They should be classified with the correct information asset classification (e.g. Sensitive: SA Cabinet).

Ministers are responsible for holding and storing original Cabinet documents. In both draft and final form, they can only be shared with those with the authority and the need to view them and they must be stored securely. They must not be emailed outside the government email network.

Any breaches of confidentiality or security must be reported to the responsible line manager. The line manager should then report the breach to an appropriate executive or contact Cabinet Office.


There are a range of conventions regarding access to Cabinet documents.

Requests for access to, or copies of, documents of the current government are normally referred in the first instance, to the originating Cabinet minister. Requests for access to documents of previous governments should be directed to the Director, Cabinet Office.

Members of the public can access Cabinet documents over ten years old through Freedom of Information arrangements.