$195 – $1,335

IPAA 2018 National Conference

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Olympic Room, Melbourne Cricket Ground

Brunton Avenue

Richmond, VIC 3002


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Event description


The 2018 IPAA National Conference will examine four fault lines with the potential to dramatically shake the foundations of our professional public sector: hyper-partisanship, automation and AI, the use of consultants, and other challenges impacting on the public sector.

What you can expect

Using moderated discussion, vigorous debate, presentations and audience interaction, the Conference will develop answers to four big questions:

  • What does it mean to be a public sector professional in a hyper-partisan political world?

  • What is the realistic potential for automation and artificial intelligence to reshape the forms and functions of public sector workplaces?

  • Does the growing use of consultants prevent the public sector from developing the capabilities it needs for long term success?

  • What are the big challenges facing the public sector in context of integrity, intergovernmental relations, service delivery, systems, cultures, political priorities and public expectations? And what should we do with them?

Conference Host

Walkley Award-winning Australian television and political journalist Tony Jones




Welcome & Garran Oration
Conference host Tony Jones to welcome guests followed by the Garran Oration presented by Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs


Professional Public Servants in a Hyper-Partisan World

This session explores what it means to be a public sector professional in a hyper-partisan political world. In the US, public service advice and expertise is increasingly seen as being part of the “Deep State” problem and not part of the solution to complex public policy problems.
In the UK, debate about the public policy consequences of Brexit have become increasingly bitter and factually contested. In that new world is it possible to continue being a profession offering frank and fearless advice?

Jill Rutter - Institute for Government, United Kingdom
Prof Helen Sullivan - Australian National University


Morning Tea


Artificial intelligence, automation and the new world of work. Hype or reality?

Will the next wave of automation and artificial intelligence reshape the fundamental forms and functions of public sector workplaces? Conference Host, Tony Jones, will facilitate a discussion that offers a range of perspectives.

According to Michael Priddis, government and corporate Australia are “spectacularly unprepared for automation” and Australia urgently need new strategies and policies if we are going to survive and thrive in the next wave of digital disruption.

But Jeff Borland isn’t convinced. He argues that not only are we over-estimating the changes that AI/automation will cause but that we have faced these types of workplace-change issues before.

Who is right and what policy advice should public administrators be briefing government about the next wave of the digital revolution across Australia.


Jeff Borland - Truby Williams Professor, Department of Economics, University of Melbourne
Michael Priddis - Chief Executive Officer, Faethm



Optional 30-minute MCG Tour, networking and tradeshow


Government 4.0
Seeing the future

Over the last six months, IPAA National President Professor Peter Shergold AC has visited every IPAA division across Australia to explore what they see as the big challenges for the public sector and IPAA, as the professional association for people working in that sector. What has he learned and what does he think the future of the public sector looks like?

Professor Peter Shergold AC


Consultants, capabilities and the public sector – finding the balance

A recent Government audit found that the Commonwealth government spends around $700M a year on consulting.

How can we leverage consultants to achieve outcomes while continuing to develop capabilities within the public sector that we need now and in the future?

In this session we look at what we know about the public sector’s use of consultants in Victoria, what it’s like to be a consultant working with the public sector and the two brand new Public Service Commissioners for Victoria and New South Wales will reveal the skills and capabilities that they think our sector most needs to develop


Dr Paul Grimes - Commissioner, Victorian Public Sector Commission
Emma Hogan - Commissioner, NSW Pubic Service Commission
Paul Low - National Leader, Infrastructure, Government & Healthcare, KPMG
Danielle Wood - Budget Policy and Institutional Reform Program Director, Grattan Institute


Afternoon Tea


Q&A: Navigating public sector fault lines

This Q&A style session will explore the future of the public sector in light of the fault lines identified in earlier Conference sessions, as well as other major issues, including: collapsing community trust in institutions, public sector integrity challenges, changing methods of service delivery and continually vexed Commonwealth-State relations.

With such a daunting group of challenges, can we be optimistic about the future?

Conference Host, Tony Jones, will moderate our special panel of past, current and future public sector leaders as they explore how they think we can successfully navigate these fault lines


Gill Callister - Secretary of the Department of Education and Training, Victoria
Gordon de Brouwer PSM - Former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Energy, Federal
Terry Moran AC - former head of Prime Minister and Cabinet


Conference Close

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Olympic Room, Melbourne Cricket Ground

Brunton Avenue

Richmond, VIC 3002


View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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