The Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) has honoured the work of eight outstanding public administrators from across Australia.

The eight new National Fellows were announced by Professor Peter Shergold, former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and new President of IPAA National.

“These eight new 2017 National Fellows join a pre-eminent group of public sector leaders, from across jurisdictions and agencies, whose work has demonstrated the qualities and attributes required of our profession” said Professor Shergold.

IPAA is the professional association for people working in or with the public sector in Australia.

The new National Fellows are:

  • Dr Gordon de Brouwer – Former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Energy and Professor of Economics in the Crawford School of Economics and Government, at the Australian National University.
  • Daniel Butler – Principal Consultant at the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet and Curator of the 2016 IPAA National Conference in South Australia.
  • Susan Hunt – Long-time CEO of the Perth Zoo and current CEO of LotteryWest.
  • Elizabeth Koff – Secretary of New South Wales Health and former inaugural CEO of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.
  • Renée Leon – Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and former Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Employment.
  • Jennifer Mason – Former Director General of the New South Wales Department of Community Services and Department of Human Services.
  • Ben Rimmer – CEO of the City of Melbourne and former Deputy Secretary for Strategic Policy and Implementation in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Dr Helen Sullivan – Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University and Foundation Director of the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne.

National Fellowship is the highest award that IPAA offers and in the last 33 years the Institute has awarded just 244 Fellowships.

Other awards presented at the recent IPAA National Conference included the Sam Richardson Award for the most influential article published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration. This year, there were two winners of the Sam Richardson Award:

  • “Co-Production of Public Services in Australia: The Roles of Government Organisations and Co-Producers” written by Professor John Alford, Australia and New Zealand School of Government and The Melbourne Business School and Dr Sophie Yates from the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
  • Commercial Lobbying in Australia: Exploring the Australian Lobby Register – written by Professor Darren Halpin and Emeritus Professor John Warhurst, both from the Australian National University.

The Awards Ceremony was held as part of the IPAA 2017 National Conference in Canberra.

Further biographical details are provided below. For more information on the individual fellows and photographs please contact: Jo Rose – 02 9928 5853 or 041 771 055 

More details about the achievements of new National Fellows.

Dr Gordon de Brouwer

Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM is a well-respected expert in public administration with over 30 years’ service. His career includes serving four years as the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy, as well as working in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, The Treasury, Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy and the Reserve Bank of Australia. During this period he worked on three major financial and economic crises, monetary and budget policy, the role of Australia in Asia and in the world, natural resource management, climate policy and, more recently, energy policy.

Daniel Butler
Daniel Butler has made a significant contribution to the development of the public sector through his passion for innovation and reform and the development of an ethical and adaptive public sector focused on the common good. He is a highly regarded professional public servant of the highest integrity who has made a significant contribution to the best practice of public administration. It is also testimony to Mr Butler’s outstanding contribution to the support of IPAA SA, providing much valued input on Divisional Council, Subcommittees and support at events for the benefit of the South Australian Public Sector.

Susan Hunt

Susan Hunt is an IPAA WA Fellow and a past Vice President of the IPAA WA council. She has recently been appointed CEO of Lotterywest, following 13 years as CEO of Perth Zoo. During her time as CEO of Perth Zoo, Susan guided the Zoo to experience strong growth in commercial revenue, along with the achievement and maintenance of its highest public approval levels. Susan has been the driving force behind the transformation of the Zoo from a ‘recreation facility’ to a wildlife conservation organisation. Her passion for wildlife conservation has extended to the regional and global spheres through her membership and contributions to a number of committees and boards. Ms Hunt was awarded a Public Service Medal by the Governor General of Australia in the 2010 Australia Day Honours list for her outstanding contribution to conservation and public service. In 2013, Susan was invited by the Public Sector Commissioner to be a member of the inaugural CEO Advisory Group to the Centre for Public Sector Excellence.

Elizabeth Koff

Elizabeth Koff is a senior public servant and current Secretary of NSW Health, a leadership position in the biggest public health system in Australia with more than 230 public hospitals and around 108,000 dedicated FTE staff.  Ms Koff was previously Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Resources with responsibility for strategic health policy development, inter-jurisdictional negotiations and funding strategies, system-wide planning of health services, integrated care, mental health and drug and alcohol services, direction for child and family health policy and the whole of government strategy for Women NSW.

Renée Leon

Renee Leon PSM is a prominent and respected public servant who has worked for two decades across the Australian Public Service and ACT public service. Her career includes serving four years as the Secretary of the Department of Employment, as well as working in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Attorney-General’s Department and the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety. During this period, she has worked across a range of issues including workplace relations policy, employment services, governance, human rights, courts administration, administrative law, international law and strategic policy and governance.

Jennifer Mason

Jennifer Mason is a senior public servant and academic who has served the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments for more than thirty years. For the past year, Dr. Mason has been engaged by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, overseeing the completion of the extensive research agenda of the Royal Commission, and providing advice to Commissioners about the final form of policy recommendations to assist in survivor support, advocacy and reform of current institutions, including schools and out-of-home care. Dr. Mason is a former Director General of the Departments of Family and Community Services and Juvenile Justice, as well as a lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University. She has served on numerous Boards and Committees, including as a Councilor for the Institute of Public Administration (NSW),and is currently a member of the Professional Conduct Committee of the NSW Bar Association .

Ben Rimmer

Ben Rimmer is the epitome of the agile and innovative public sector leader, having worked across all three tiers of government – from Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, to the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and the City of Melbourne. He has gained a deep respect among his colleagues for his inimitable ability to engage constructively on sensitive issues – from workforce participation and intergovernmental negotiations to early childhood and mental health issues. As Associate Secretary at the Department of Human Services, he oversaw work on developing a new national Health and Hospitals Agreement and the roll-out of MyGov. As Chief Executive Officer at the City of Melbourne, Ben champions an integrated vision for the city that is creative, sustainable, prosperous, fair and inclusive.

Dr Helen Sullivan

Professor Helen Sullivan is a leading public sector academic whose work has pioneered global thought on the changing nature of state-society relationships and their implications for public governance. She is widely published, with a list of academic accomplishments that is as rich as it is long. She has been a committed member and Fellow of IPAA Victoria since she relocated to Australia from the United Kingdom in 2011 to assume the position of Foundation Director at the Melbourne School of Government. In addition to serving on the IPAA Victoria Board and various committees, she has regularly given her time as a facilitator and speaker at a long list of IPAA Victoria events. In 2016, Dr Sullivan was appointed as Director of the ANU’s prestigious Crawford School of Public Policy. At the helm of the Asia-Pacific’s leading public policy school and with an extensive body of academic work, her influence in challenging public sector thinking and practice has never been more profound – and is certain to extend for many years to come.

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