The commercial affairs branch of the government’s communications arm has been under pressure in recent months.
In March, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would review the position, and Turnbull later defended the move.
The communications department said at the time it had “been reviewing and assessing the commercial activities portfolio over the past few months.”
But in April, Turnbull said the position would remain unchanged, citing “serious concerns about the commercial activity portfolio.”
“The portfolio currently encompasses a range of public communications activities including communications, communications media, communications, digital, social media and digital media, media, social, community and digital,” the department said.
“As a result of this review, the department is currently reviewing and reassessing the portfolio and will continue to do so as it relates to these important public policy issues.”
But Turnbull later changed his position, saying the department would review and reassess the portfolio once the review was complete.
The minister’s comments came after a Senate inquiry into the commercial communications office found that the office was poorly funded and understaffed.
It also revealed that “at least six” communications executives from a company owned by the minister were on the staff of the office, and that communications minister Fiona Nash was also on the board of the company.
The Senate inquiry also found that in 2016 the office received almost $30 million in grants, but that it was “underfunded” by $4.8 million.
The commercial communications department has been criticised in the past for its lack of independence and the inability to conduct its own oversight of the business of the department.
Turnbull has previously said he wants the department to “get its act together,” and that he “never would have appointed an independent and impartial person to be the next director-general” if he had not received the advice of the director of public affairs.