The James Martin Institute for Public Policy (JMI) hosted the inaugural Policymaker Summit at UNSW Sydney on 7 August 2023. The new flagship event brought together over 200 public policy experts from across government, academia, civil society and industry.

The event marked the second anniversary of JMI. “We are extremely proud to celebrate this special occasion with so many distinguished public policy professionals and researchers at the JMI Policymaker Summit,” said Libby Hackett, CEO of JMI.

From the left: Libby Hackett, Prue Car, and Verity Firth

The program featured keynote remarks by NSW Deputy Premier Prue Car MP, NSW Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness The Hon. Rose Jackson MLC, and JMI Chair Professor Peter Shergold AC in addition to contributions from The Hon. Prof. Verity Firth AM, Prof Attila Brungs, Professor Heidi Norman, Professor Andy Marks, Associate Professor Amanda Tattersall, Professor Mark Evans and many more.

Click here to view the full program.

Building communities of action to drive change and innovation

“We are here to explore the complex challenges facing New South Wales in the year ahead and how to build a community of action driving innovation and pragmatic solutions in these areas,” Hackett said during her opening remarks.

The Deputy Premier’s keynote remarks highlighted the crucial need to engage key stakeholders in all forms of policy development and implementation, in particular teachers and school leaders in relation to education policy.

“When it comes to education, I want our teachers to know why we are pursuing reform or implementing policy,” the Deputy Premier said. “It’s about genuinely engaging with people, testing ideas, assumptions, incorporating suggestions.”

Panel discussion during the JMI Policymaker Summit 2023

Two expert panels then explored how public policy can drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth and how communities can become active shapers of the collective response to our biggest challenges.

Two expert panels then explored how public policy can drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth and how communities can become active shapers of the collective response to our biggest challenges.

The importance of lived experience in policy design and delivery

Echoing the remarks of the NSW Deputy Premier, NSW Minister Jackson delivered a first-hand account of the need to balance the desire to move quickly on policy decision-making with the critical importance of healthy democratic engagement, putting the experience of people with lived experience front and centre of policy design and implementation.

“Taking the time to give people with lived experience a chance to have a say is incredibly important,” Minister Jackson said.

NSW Minister Rose Jackson MLC during the JMI Policymaker Summit 2023

JMI Chair Professor Peter Shergold AC provided reflections on how to bridge these divides in order to build greater policy coherence and collaborative models for policy solutions. He commended successive NSW governments for taking a leadership role and boosting this collaboration through the creation of JMI, which was created to forge these partnerships to inform policy innovation.

A turning point for government-university collaboration in Australia

Taking stock of JMI’s first two years, Professor Shergold said the Institute witnessed “enthusiasm, commitment, and excitement of people coming together with a shared vision of how academic research can contribute to the goals and the direction and the complexity of public policy.”

Professor Peter Shergold AC during the JMI Policymaker Summit 2023

This new dawn for government-university collaboration came to life during the Summit’s Policy Impact Exhibition. The exhibit showcased the work of leading policy institutes that help shape the dial on many complex policy challenges facing Australia today.

The exhibition included contributions from the UNSW City Futures Research CentreCentre for Policy DevelopmentYoung and Resilient Research CentreSydney Environment Institute, the Whitlam Institute, Social Policy Research Centre, Sydney Policy Lab, and the Gulbali Institute.

Policy Impact Exhibitors at the JMI Policymaker Summit 2023

Looking ahead, JMI looks to continue to build on its success to date in key areas of policy work and new workstreams. Sign up for our newsletter here to keep up to date.

JMI extends its thanks to UNSW for hosting the Policymaker Summit, our government and university partners, and all our expert speakers and guests for joining us and engaging in this collaborative effort to transform public policy in Australia.

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