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The reform program revolutionising financial administration and management in the Australian public sector has brought substantial gains in the cost efficiency and effectiveness of operations of both Departmental and non-departmental organisational entities and programs. The instillation of a business or commercial ethos into public service organisations through the adoption of private sector financial management practices, objectives and accountabilities has wrought profound change to the way the public sector 'does business'. But there is strong evidence that the commercialisation of public sector financial administration has also 'commercialised' public sector accountability and attitudes towards public service and infrastructure provision. This article examines the nature, historical perspective, objectives and characteristics of the managerial reform process within the Australian public sector administration in order to give context to these issues. We suggest that identification and discussion of these issues may help to mitigate against any negative consequences which may detract from the benefits to be gained from the improvements in financial administration.