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Australia’s Public Sector


Fundamental to an active and effective government that is fit for purpose in the 21st century is strengthening the capabilities of our public sector. For almost three decades the skills and the capacity of the public sector has been gradually reduced across major service areas and key portfolios. What we need is better, smarter investment in our public sector to ensure they have the skill sets and tool kits to best design and deliver services across the country. In 2013 and 2014, CPD released its False Economies series exploring the impact of the blunt approach to ‘efficiency’ on the long-term capability of the Australian Public Service. In December 2015, CPD released ‘Grand Alibis: how declining public sector capability affects services for the disadvantaged’ which highlighted key challenges in improving public services for our most vulnerable citizens.

Latest Articles


New CPD Blueprint for Regional and Community Job Deals

communications - September 2020

The Centre for Policy Development is making available a range of policy proposals and materials relating to the delivery of employment services in Australia.  These materials are representative of CPD’s...

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Terry Moran: Consultants being public servants – The Select Committee

communications - August 2020

Published in The Mandarin on 04 August 2020 Malcolm Turnbull has bemoaned it. Our own Bernard Keane has criticised it. The Thodey Review has raised concerns about it. The ‘cult...

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Terry Moran and Travers McLeod opinion piece on the Thodey Review – Canberra Times

Travers McLeod - December 2019

Waiting for the release of David Thodey’s review of the Australian Public Service was a bit like Waiting for Godot. No one seemed to know when it would arrive, even...

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Terry Moran AC delivers John Cain Lecture on ‘Federalism — Commonwealth, State and Local Government Working Together’

Allison Orr - November 2019

Federalism, subsidiarity, respect for local government and public enthusiasm for helping places around Australia to thrive economically and socially is the key to repairing the democratic vessel from which trust...

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The Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage I ANU-CPD Policy Dialogue I November 2019

communications - November 2019

On 15 November, we hosted our fourth ANU-CPD Policy Dialogue for 2019. Our focus was the Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage. The roundtable discussion featured opening remarks from...

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There is plenty of evidence to suggest democracy is in trouble. In Australia, more people are losing trust in our public institutions and processes. Business and civil society are viewed mistrustfully as well.

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CPD has a track record of research into the effectiveness of employment services.

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Australia faces growing inequity and disadvantage in our schools. Our education system is separating into a hierarchy of advantaged and over-funded schools at the top end, and disadvantaged, under-funded schools at the bottom.

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Ensuring that newly arrived refugees settle effectively into their new local communities across Australia offers a range of great benefits to our society and economy.

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