Acknowledging the exceptional effort of the public purpose sector in Victoria in 2022

23 Jun 2023
The following essay has been adapted from a speech given by Brigid Monagle, Victorian Public Sector Commissioner, at the 2022 IPAA Victoria Leadership in the Public Sector Awards on Thursday 22 June 2023.

The Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) is proud to partner with IPAA Victoria to recognise excellence — right across Victoria’s public purpose sector — through the 2022 Leadership in the Public Sector Awards.

Congratulations to all the nominees across federal, state and local governments.

Looking through the nominations, I was so impressed and inspired by what these the nominees have designed and delivered for our community. I think peers across Victoria — indeed Australia — can take great inspiration from what was delivered in 2022.

Among the nominations are applications of technology to improve public services and community safety. Excellent examples of the use of both data and public engagement to put citizens at the centre of policy making, service design, and delivery. Perhaps, surprisingly, some services reduced digital interactions, prioritising face-to-face conversation with customers with great success.

There are examples of regulation being used to boost community health and safety, streamline processes and combat scammers.

And many of the nominees are tackling some of the most important issues or opportunities of our time head-on: climate change, emergency management and Aboriginal self-determination, to name a few. How we handle these challenges now will be felt for generations to come.

I’m pleased that the awards also acknowledge leadership amongst public sector employers. I’m a big believer in making public sector workplaces great places to work — with positive, inclusive and safe cultures so that all our employees can thrive.

IPAA Victoria’s awards recognise public sector employers that have uplifted capability, improved employee engagement, and embedded a culture of continuous improvement.

This sort of workplace culture is important in its own right, but it is also vital for us to design and deliver policies and programs that make Victoria a great place to live.

We’ve examples of integrity culture being strengthened and good governance delivering accountability and transparency. With the year-on-year decline of public trust in government globally — we all need to continue to uplift our awareness, capability and commitment to governance and integrity in the public purpose sector.

At the Victorian Public Sector Commission, we work to build a high-performing, diverse and trusted public sector that delivers for the Victorian community.

So it is opportunities like that which these awards provide that fill me with optimism for the future and immense pride in being a public servant, as all public sector employees should also feel.

Friday 23 June is United Nations’ Public Service Day. Around the world, people will be acknowledging important role public servants play in building, strengthening and sustaining our communities.

I encourage all the nominees to take an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate your contribution to the community.

I’d also like to acknowledge the incredible effort we’ve seen over the past three years, following the onset of the global pandemic.

Off the back of responding to fatal bushfires that engulfed large parts of Victoria — and indeed Australia — in the 2019-2020 summer, many thousands of public servants swung into action again to protect our community during this once-in-a-lifetime public health emergency.

I saw first-hand the efforts of many public servants, working tirelessly and making significant sacrifices to help Victorians and other Australians to be safe.

I also observed the many amazing members of the public sector who kept business-as-usual work going during this time.

The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed our capacity to be responsive, agile and collaborative in our approach to tackling the biggest challenges of our time, which is something we should all take immense pride in and take with us into the future.

So thank you to our public servants for your efforts over the past few years.

Please share my pride in acknowledging, through the IPAA Victoria Leadership in the Public Sector Awards, the diligence, effort and ingenuity of our people — day in, day out, in service of 6.7 million Victorians.

Thank you to IPAA Victoria for facilitating these awards. It’s so important we pause to recognise and amplify good work and build pride in what it means to be a public servant.

Read about the Victorian Public Sector Commission.

Read more about IPAA Victoria's Leadership in the Public Sector Awards here.