16 April 2013

IPAA National President declares it’s time for the next wave of public sector reforms

The President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) has urged political and public sector leaders in state and Commonwealth governments to launch a new wave of public service reforms.

Terry Moran AC, who has had the unique experience of being both a Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, argues that a series of sweeping changes are needed to create a 21st century public service.

“In the last thirty years, Australia’s public services have helped to develop and implement policies that have created unprecedented wealth and opportunities,” Mr Moran said.

“From tariff reductions and the introduction of compulsory superannuation, to a national market in electricity and tax reform, Australian public administrators have worked with all sides of politics to develop and deliver major economic and social reforms that have benefited all Australians”.

Mr Moran’s article in the latest issue of the Australian Journal of Public Administration (AJPA) argues that there are five important areas of institutional change needed in the way public administration works in Australia. Specific examples of action in these five areas include:

  •  legislating to remove the “accountability black hole” created by Ministerial Advisers and making them personally accountable for their actions and answerable to parliamentary committees;
  •  establishing Departmental Boards of Management that bring in outside expertise and skills to help Secretaries of government departments to manage what are large and complex organisations;
  •  encouraging public service leaders to speak publicly about long-term strategy in areas relevant to their Department;
  •  improving the way public services are planned and delivered, by increasing the skills base of the public service to cover areas common in the private sector including project management, cost-benefit analysis, innovation and organisational design;
  • building on Australia’s international reputation for the development of standard pricing models, in areas such as hospital care, that reward efficiency and that allow private providers to compete on a level playing field with the public sector.

Mr Moran noted that the cost of government in Australia, as a percentage of GDP, is lower than in almost all other OECD countries and significantly lower compared to the US, UK, Canada and New

“Australia has been well-served by its public administrators in the past. What we need now is take the next big steps in public service reform so that we can build on that record,” he said.

Terry Moran’s article Reforming to Create Value: Our Next Five Strategic Steps is published in the March 2013 edition of the Australian Journal of Public Administration. A copy is available at

Mr Moran has played a major role in driving reforms to the Australian Public Service which included the Ahead of the Game report in March 2010. Mr Moran was recently appointed a Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at Monash University. His AJPA article is based on a speech he gave at the IPAA National Congress in September 2012. IPAA is the professional association for people who work in the public sector.

For interviews or further information please contact Jo Rose, 0417 771 055 or

Media Coverage

6 March 2013 - AJPA – Vol 12, Issue 1, pg 1-6 - Reforming to Create Value: Our Next Five Strategic Directions
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15 April 2013 – The Conversation: Let’s hear it from the public service: Moran
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25 April 2013 - ABC The Drum Opinion - Digging ministerial advisors out of the accountability black hole
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16 April 2013 – The Canberra Times - Call for ministerial advisers to be personally responsible
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23 May 2013 – ABC Radio - Public sector reform: Terry Moran
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23 May 2013 – Herald Sun - Public sector numbers 'already declining'  
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