Treasury secretary makes business case for more interstate presence

By Harley Dennett

Monday June 20, 2016

The Commonwealth Treasury’s decision to open an office in Sydney almost a year ago has been vindicated with almost half the local staff members arriving as new blood from the private sector.

Treasury secretary John Fraser pointed to the value of local presence for his department’s forecasting ability, as he opened a second interstate office last week in Melbourne.

“Ongoing, productive engagement with the community must be a standard part of our business,” Fraser said. “Consultation and engagement informs our advice and brings understanding, influence and confidence that Treasury will deliver sound, authoritative advice to government.”

The two interstate offices — and potentially a future office in Perth to better engage with Asia — fit an agenda of tapping into the broadest range of stakeholders, including those from state government, industry groups, academia and the broader community.

“These offices allow us to recruit from a diverse pool of skills and experience.”

Christine Barron, the head of the Sydney and Melbourne offices, said the extra office will help facilitate a higher and more continuous gathering of information for forecasting. Of the 32 staff in Sydney, 10 were private sector recruits and a further five were private sector secondees. The Melbourne office — situated at the heart of Melbourne’s CBD at 120 Collins St will initially have 13 staff.

“We have already seen great success in building our relationships with the private sector through our Sydney office. Our presence in Melbourne will expand these connections further,” Barron said.

“In particular, we look forward to entrenching and enhancing our relationships with business, the superannuation industry, academia and think tanks in Melbourne.

“Both our interstate offices give Treasury an opportunity to form stronger relationships with stakeholders and support more secondments from the private sector for the mutual benefit of all parties. These offices also allow us to recruit from a diverse pool of skills and experience.”

So, how can these stakeholders get in contact with the new team in Melbourne? We’re still figuring out. There’s a postal address: PO Box 2936, Melbourne 3001. Or there’s always the Canberra switchboard.

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