Ideas in Action

August 11, 2017

In the lead up to Public Sector Week, we chat to David Ali (Chief Executive Officer – IPAA Victoria)

Cube Group is proud to be a corporate member of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA Victoria) and supporter of the upcoming Public Sector Week to be held at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne (Monday 14 August to Friday 18 August 2017).

Nick Field (Cube Group Partner/Chief Operating Officer) asked IPAA Victoria CEO David Ali a few questions to find out more.

David, tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming the new CEO of IPAA Victoria?

I have always had a passion for public administration and social justice, which has been part of my 30 plus year career in the Victorian Public Sector (VPS). I received good advice early in my career to join the union and also IPAA (or Royal Australian Institute of Public Administration as it was then), so I have been an IPAA Victoria Personal Member since 1984. I quickly learned the value of membership lay in: meeting interesting and clever people, networking, attending thought-provoking events, and broadening my perspective to look at interstate and international good practice solutions.

My career progressed through Executive Officer level roles with several departments, and most recently I was the inaugural CEO of the Commission for Children and Young People and then a consultant for a couple of years.

I’ve been in my current role for just seven months, and feel both privileged and humbled to be CEO of an organisation I have been involved with for so long.

What does IPAA Victoria actually do?

We are a not for profit association for public sector professionals at the Federal, State and Local levels of government, as well as the community sector, academics and corporates who work alongside the public sector. Our focus lies in: representing our members, designing and delivering events, supporting communities of practice, co-ordinating sector wide awards and providing a range of networking opportunities.

We are going through the final stages of developing our 2017 to 2020 Strategic Plan which will reframe our orientation to best meet our members’ needs in:

  • Building pride in the public sector amongst the broader community in “an era of distrust of government”
  • Exploring and crystal-balling the Big Ideas that will impact the public sector, in partnership with thought leaders such as academics, consultancies and subject matter experts amongst our member base
  • Leading on providing the professional development opportunities that will give our members the capabilities to respond to current and future challenges
  • Building better connections across our sector and with the community, tertiary education and corporate sectors.

How does Public Sector Week align with IPAA Victoria’s strategic objectives?

It really aligns well with all of our current objectives to advance the profession, foster ‘leading thinking’, extending our influence and enabling our profession.

Our 30 events are structured around thought leadership, communities of practice, professional development, functions and fora. Events will cover topics such as integrity, disruptions, Aboriginal self-determination, governance, place, public policy, innovation, engagement; and so much more. Our aim was always to have diverse offerings to attract attendance from a broad range of sectors, with something for everyone.

How did Public Sector Week originate?

Our Board was instrumental in a shift from ad-hoc events to a dedicated week in June 2015 of over 80 events across Melbourne; run mainly by third parties but co-ordinated through IPAA Victoria. We have learned much from that experience and responded to member feedback; to offer a smaller number of events all run by IPAA Victoria, within a single venue.

What can we expect next week?

Dynamic debates, thought provoking presentations from over 120 passionate speakers, lively discussions and the opportunity to really learn and network. It has been a conscious decision to avoid the traditional “talk fest” and move to more interactive events with space for a hackathon, boot camps and the use of the app to ask questions of panel members, conduct polls and post comments.

Sli do

All speakers have been briefed to provide some key take home messages. IPAA Victoria plan to survey all attendees within the next few months, to see what they have learnt, applied in the workplace and done differently as a result of attending.

Also, the Sofitel on Collins is a fantastic venue, which is accessible to our membership base and provides an easy flow between events for attendees.


Who should attend and why?

A combination of those early into the public sector careers; as well as managers, leaders and Executives from a range of sectors; alongside the private sector and academia. Weeks such as this work best when there is a diversity of thinking from different perspectives. It is important not to just be the same people talking about the same old things, but rather new thinking and networks emerging. That is the way we can tackle the future public administration challenges and wicked problems such as homelessness, which have policy and service delivery implications for all tiers of government and those who work closely with them.

How can attendees get the most out of the week?

  • Attend!
  • Be part of the discussion and ask questions
  • Be open to a free thinking environment
  • Talk to others in the breaks
  • Make use of social media
  • Take your insights back to your colleagues in the workplace
  • Continue to be involved in IPAA Victoria through our future events and membership.

Do you have any plans for Regional Victoria?

We had originally planned to take our events to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo in late August. However we are now reviewing our approach to ensure these are even more relevant to regional challenges, and will have specific events later in 2017.

Are there any events or speakers that you are personally looking forward to?

Given Cube Group’s involvement I really should mention the IPAA Victoria Young Professional Network Meet the Leaders session ( on Thursday evening!

Three that really stand out for me are:

Participatory democracy: exploring experiences (

Are we doing Government ethically? (

Lessons Learned: Improving cyber-security culture and practice (

I couldn’t single out a particular speaker as they each will bring quite different perspectives and approaches.

And finally….?

In advance, I would like to thank: the hardworking and committed IPAA Victoria team, the IPAA Victoria Board and in particular the PSW Subcommittee chaired by Kym Peake, our corporate and individual members, sponsors, speakers, panellists, hosts and everyone for their efforts to make for what should be a fantastic week.

To find out more about IPAA Victoria, visit –

To find out more about Public Sector Week, visit –

Follow #PublicSectorWeek on Twitter or visit the Facebook page

David Ali

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