What needs to go to Cabinet and what Cabinet document should I 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

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

Generally intergovernmental matters can also be brought as notes including:

  • Advice of upcoming intergovernmental meetings (e.g. Ministerial Council meetings) that deal with significant policy or program issues, or issues that have a cross-portfolio impact.
  • Advice of the outcome of intergovernmental meetings (e.g. ministerial council meetings) if significant issues arose at the meeting or if outcomes are significantly different from those Cabinet was advised prior or if South Australia’s position was not endorsed or the matter is controversial, contentious or of public interest.

In some instances intergovernmental matters should be brought as a submission including national agreements, partnerships or grant applications that include a significant, unbudgeted state funding component. Cabinet Office can provide advice on a case-by-case basis to assist determine if an intergovernmental matter should be brought as a note or a submission.

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 routine or 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 advice of routine ministerial councils, the outcomes of ministerial councils if South Australia’s position was endorsed. Contact Cabinet Office for guidance in determining whether an item needs to be noted by Cabinet.

Use a strategic discussion ‘A3’ or Placemat to support a strategic discussion (Thursday) Cabinet. An A3 is presented as a single A3 piece of paper, printed single or double sided with the information presented visually e.g. using infographics, charts and graphs etc. It should not be printed on card or consist of multiple pages.


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.