APS Commissioner’s closing remarks at the IPAA Annual Address to the APS 2021
Speaker: Peter Woolcott AO – Australian Public Service Commissioner
What: IPAA Annual Address to the APS 2021
Date: 8 December 2021
Closing remarks, Peter Woolcott AO
Check against delivery
Thank you Steven
I follow on from two fine speeches - so probably enough - and I will be brief
Can I thank Phil for his very reflective speech including on all we have done and have yet to do.
It has been a genuine pleasure working with him over the past year.
Can I also thank Letitia. I have worked with her as part of the APS Academy through her role advising on the craft of engagement and partnership. As we all know, Trust from the people stems much from the Government’s ability to deliver on its promises. To a great extent that is about implementation, but is also about having the skill of hearing and understanding what they want - their voices. Letitia exemplifies this.
But most of all can I thank all of you for the enormous commitment you have brought to forging a better APS, sharing lessons and expertise, and working as one.
This time last year we reflected on how the twin crises of 2020 had accelerated the APS reform agenda.
This year tells me that we were in fact largely laying the groundwork - and the impact of what we are doing around a more joined up, mobile and capable public service will reverberate into the future.
It has been a big year and we have delivered at pace.
As Phil said it is important to take a break and to recharge for 2022.
Next year will present an array of challenges and we also have an election before the end of May. I am conscious of the renewed energy that a new Parliament often brings to our work.
One of the great things about Australian democracy is the way we manage transition between Governments. The notion of incoming Government briefs, where both a blue book and a red book, are prepared for whatever side of politics are voted into power by the people at election time.
These briefs set out how the APS will work with the incoming Government to implement its election policies and sets out all the risks the Government will need to manage. The goal of the APS is a simple one - to ensure the smoothest possible transition of power between one elected government and another.
It is something very remarkable about Australia democracy.
Whatever the outcome the expectations on us from Government and the Australian people will be enormous. And I have no doubt that you will all keep on delivering.
With that I wish you and your teams a safe and happy holiday season – as the Italians might say “il dolce far niente”
And I look forward to working with you in 2022.