System reform: Is it dead?

Panel plenary session
Thursday 26 July, 1500 – 1700


Madonna King, Writer and Journalist


Professor Brigid Featherstone, University of Huddersfield
Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett AM, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM, Productivity Commission and former Commissioner to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Dr Nicholas Gruen, Lateral Economics

“No wrong door”; “Joined-up services”; “Service integration”; “Wraparound services”;

These are just a few of the phrases arising from repeated efforts to reform our fragmented patchwork of siloed services in complex areas of policy such as health care, mental health, child protection, housing, family support, employment, juvenile justice, drug and alcohol services, family violence, and family law.

Numerous enquiries, including Royal Commissions, have investigated human tragedies and system failures – and we have a large body if evidence of what’s not working. But what does it take to achieve change? Is system reform dead?

Despite considerable investment in formal enquiries and “system reform “ becoming a term widely-used, , research demonstrates only modest changes compared to the expectations of policy makers and the public.

So, are we doing it wrong? Do systems change efforts sufficiently target the systemic nature of our most “wicked” problems? Do they target the complexity of those systems? And how much is it “us” versus how much is it the “system”?

Panel purpose
The purpose of this panel is to stimulate debate and discussion on the ideal vs the reality of system reform in Australia. Our facilitator, Madonna King who will lead a Q & A panel discussion with our four panelists.