A year of economic uncertainty and structural realignment

What are the major challenges for public sector leaders in 2015? In a still-tightening economic environment, budget management and strategic commissioning, while still investing in staff.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has outlined his agenda for the year — which may or may not save his job. But what does 2015 hold for the public service?

“In my view,” former top Victorian bureaucrat Helen Silver said, “the most crucial challenge facing all governments in Australia is the uncertain outlook for the economy and the future state of the labour market.”

The Mandarin asked a number of bureaucrats, current and former, and government watchers what they expect over the next 12 months. The economy figured prominently. According to Silver, a veteran of the Commonwealth and state sectors and an editorial adviser to The Mandarin, the tight fiscal environment should prompt wider structural reform.

“This situation should encourage a more mainstream debate about the role of the different levels of government in influencing industry and employment outcomes,” she said. “What is the role of government? And what are the correct levers and policy interventions?”

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