The Australian Government has responsibility for the external territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, collectively known as the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT). The Government, through the department, facilitates the delivery of services normally expected from a state government.

State-type services are delivered through Service Delivery Arrangements (SDAs) with the Western Australian (WA) Government, directly by the private sector under contract, or by the department. Additional government services, such as those involving quarantine and customs, are the responsibility of the relevant Australian Government agencies.