Australian PM wants to use insight from public servants to drive government reforms

By on 25/01/2023 | Updated on 25/01/2023
Official portrait of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, published by the Australian Government under Creative Commons
Albanese wants to unlock the ideas of public servants. Portrait published by the Australian Government under Creative Commons.

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has said that he wants to better “tap into” the skills and talent within the Australian Public Service as part of a strategy to make it “an asset for the country”.

Speaking in a radio interview, Albanese signalled that he was keen to get more insight from public servants on how to reform government.

“There are thousands of really smart people who’ve gone into public service not just to tick boxes and fill in paper, but to contribute to their country. And they have ideas,” he said.

“And we need to tap into that resource. So, I think one of the things I’ve tried to do is to use the Commonwealth public service in a more respectful way and utilise them as an asset for the country.”

The comments are the latest sign of reforms to the Australian Public Service and government more widely since Albanese became prime minister last May. The government has launched independent capability reviews for departments, and it is also focusing on reforms to the public service recommended in a milestone 2019 review, known as the Thodey review.

Read more: Minister vows to revive ‘mothballed’ Australian Public Service reform agenda

Australia’s minister for finance and the public service Katy Gallagher has made announcements since Labor returned to government around pay for public servants, the government’s intention to improve training provision, proposals for an in-house consultancy model, and its plan to address historic gaps in representation, resource, and staff engagement.

In the latest comments reported by The Mandarin, Albanese said he had spoken to the head of each government department late last year to get their reflections on progress in the first six months of the new administration.

“We just went through, in a coordinated way, each of the departments: what they got right in the first six months of the new government, what their ideas were for the coming year and for the rest of this term,” he said, with the aim being to “get the best of the public service”.

Read more: Former Australian PM slammed by inquiry into secret appointments

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About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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