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Parkinson, Tune join list of IPAA national fellows

Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson and retiring Finance head David Tune are among those recognised for achievement in the public sector as national fellows of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

IPAA named 11 new recipients of its national fellowship as part of its annual conference in Perth last week. Some 211 fellowships have been awarded in its 31-year history.

The 2014 national fellows are:

  • Cath Ingram (ACT)
  • Paul O’Connor (ACT)
  • Dr Martin Parkinson (ACT)
  • David Tune PSM (Australian Capital Territory)
  • Mike Allen PSM (New South Wales)
  • Leanne Wallace (New South Wales)
  • Geoffrey Knight (South Australia)
  • Richard Sellers (Western Australia)
  • Yehudi Blacher PSM (Victoria)
  • Gill Callister (Victoria)
  • Robert Cockerell (Tasmania)

IPAA national president Terry Moran called them “talented, dedicated and highly professional public administrators” who “have made an outstanding contribution to the public sector throughout the country”.

“The overall cost of government in Australia, as a share of GDP, is around 35%. This is lower than in the United States and Canada and its even lower than in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, which don’t have state level government. The reason that Australia can run such a high-quality low-cost public sector is because our sector contains some very remarkable people. I am very pleased to be able to honour some of those people tonight,” he said.

Three young achievers — Liem Ngo, Maja Havrilova and Mia Davison — received the IPAA Young Public Sector Leader Award for outstanding work by public servants under the age of 40 who have completed the Executive Master of Public Administration program.

And John Wanna was given the Meritorious Service Award for editing IPAA’s Australian Journal of Public Administration for two decades years. Michael Di Francerso was recognised for writing the best article of the year.

Cath Ingram

The chair of KPMG’s Canberra Office, Cath Ingram is the leader of the firm’s Australian government practice nationally. As a professional adviser to the Australian government, Ingram has led the KPMG teams responsible for providing independent assurance to major Commonwealth government initiatives, including the Department of Human Services’ Service Delivery Reform; the Treasury-led Standard Business Reporting initiative; Department of Human Services’ Access Card; and Centrelink’s Welfare to Work program. Ingram has also worked closely with the Australian National Audit Office over many years, providing strategic insights to senior executives and leading the document design, development and drafting of key ANAO publications.

Paul O’Connor

Paul O’Connor is CEO of the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority, continuing his public sector leadership roles in insurance, risk management and business regulation. O’Connor has been active in disability, rehabilitation, mental health and public sector insurance reforms. Previously, O’Connor served as CEO and sole director of Comcare, a federal workplace regulator and insurer. He was also deputy chair of the Seacare Authority, a federal regulator of the offshore maritime industry. O’Connor was a member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission that oversees the work of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was also a member of the federal Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission. Previously, he served as CEO of Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission. O’Connor’s commitment, passion and advocacy to prevent harm and improve people’s health, well-being and recovery have been the common threads throughout his working life. His ideas for helping people and workplaces thrive have been adopted by many agencies across Australia and overseas.

Dr Martin Parkinson

Martin Parkinson is secretary to the Department of Treasury. His early experience with the recently retired head of the US Reserve Bank, Ben Bernanke, in the early 1990s, when the US and Europe were in an economic downturn, paved the way for the development of economic expertise second to none in Australia. Parkinson’s other experiences in the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Climate Change, the International Monetary Fund, and the Treasury have led him to signific ant leadership on a range of issues from micro-economic poloicy settings to micro-econolmic reform, climate change to social policy, tax policy and international agreements and forums. A champion of diversity and inclusivity, during Parkinson’s tenure as secretary of the Treasury the level of representation of woman at leadership levels has substantially increased (in the SES from 23% in 2011 to 35% in 2014). Parkinson has earned enormous respect from government ministers, colleagues and key stakeholders for his willingness to engage.

David Tune

David Tune had a long and distinguished career in the public service before retiring on June 27 after five years as secretary of the Department of Finance. As the head of the Department of Finance Tune was well regarded by colleagues and ministers alike. He had a reputation for a good understanding of the breadth of government policy and an eye for its financial detail and was an inclusive and supportive leader. Many of the policies he developed and reforms implemented were at a whole of government level and had implications for regional communities and individuals. He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2009 for his “outstanding public service in economic development and social policy reforms in a way that models whole-of-government service”. Tune’s laid back demeanour, warmth and dry wit stood him in good stead as he successfully fulfilled his final public service role in advising the government of the day where and how savings could be achieved during a time of economic decline in Australia.

Mike Allen

Mike Allen is a public service leader who has championed excellence in service delivery and a respectful focus on client outcomes during more than 30 years in the public sector. Allen has recently retired as the chief executive of Housing NSW,
NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Housing NSW is the largest social housing provider in the southern hemisphere, providing housing assistance to around 419,000 people annually and with responsibility for the tenancy management of 150,000 properties in New South Wales. For several years, as agency head, Allen has managed Housing NSW relationships at a National level and led the planning and delivery of major policy reforms and programs.

Leanne Wallace

Leanne Wallace worked for over 30 years in the NSW public sector at executive and senior management levels. She has experience in governance, health and human services policy, corporate services, workforce reform, information management, nature conservation and natural resource management. Wallace has also worked with a broad range of not-for-profit organisations on the areas of government policy, governance, funding reform and workforce development. She currently works primarily in consultancy firm Nous’ strategy and public policy practice, with a focus on consultancy services for government, particularly in the health and human services sector.

Geoffrey Knight

Geoffrey Knight has had a distinguished public sector career ranging from senior cabinet officer, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Director Budgets SA Treasury Department, through to deputy chief executive and chief executive Department of
Primary Industries and Resources SA and chief executive Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy. Over the course of his public sector career and particularly in his role as chief executive of key agencies, Knight has championed change management and organisational culture as a means to driving agency performance towards service excellence and building leadership teams that support positive, “can-do” work environments and a commitment to innovation. This has resulted in agencies under Knights’s leadership receiving frequent recognition for service excellence in people management, corporate governance, financial management and corporate strategy and development.

Richard Sellers

Richard Sellers was appointed as the director-general of Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum in June 2009. He oversees the department, which acts as Western Australia’s lead agency in attracting private investment in resources exploration and development. As a leader, Sellers is a visionary who makes considered and complex decisions. His insistence on consultation and transparency in decision making, together with his willingness to implement innovative business methods have been key factors of his stewardship of DMP, during the busiest growth period of Western Australia’s resources industry.

Yehudi Blacher

Yehudi Blacher has had 30 years experience in a range of departments in the Victorian public service. His work has covered major system and program reforms, organisational design and strategic management. Prior to his retirement from the Victorian public service in 2011 he was secretary of the Department of Planning and Community Development. Prior to this, Blacher was the secretary of the Department for Victorian Communities and also held deputy secretary level positions in the departments of Premier and Cabinet and Human Services. Blacher’s current roles include chair of the Port of Hastings Development Authority, deputy chancellor at Monash University, deputy chair of Victrak and professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Gill Callister

Gill Callister currently leads an organisation of over 11,000 staff and an annual budget of around $4 billion. She is responsible for the delivery of child protection, disability, youth, housing and family violence services. Callister has held a range of senior roles in the Victorian public service including, child protection, family services and mental health units within the Department of Human Services, and was deputy secretary at Skills Victoria. Callister is president of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria). Her leadership in public policy was recognised in 2013 when she was named in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, and received a Sir James Wolfensohn Public Service Scholarship to attend Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Callister is passionate about social justice and improving public policy and service delivery and she is a frequent public speaker on these issues.

Robert Cockerell

Robert Cockerell has had a long and productive career in the Tasmanian public sector where he has provided strong contributions to the practice of public administration at both an agency and whole of government level. Cockerell’s enthusiasm, commitment and drive to implement difficult change means that he has participated in most of the key whole of government ICT processes in the past decade. He played a key role in setting up the rural Service Tasmania shop-fronts and continues to be a strong advocate through his role on the Service Tasmania Board. Within his own agency Cockerell has driven significant change in corporate support, particularly the onerous task of amalgamating the functions of separate agencies. He is adept at identifying barriers to change but is up to the challenge of overcoming them. Cockerell’s contribution to IPAA Tasmania has been second to none in the past five years where he has transformed the financial systems of the division.

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