The National Conference of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) was held in Sydney on 14 and 15 October 2015. I attended. Speakers included former South Australian Premier the Honourable John Bannon on “Why Are We Reforming the Federation?” and former Victorian Premier the Honourable John Brumby on “What It Would Take to Achieve Reform”.

These two topics gave a remarkably hands-on view of the past and present issues to be confronted.

Later sessions included reform of Housing and Homelessness, Options for Education Reform and Health Federation Reform and Healthcare.

As conferences go, it was remarkable for the quality of papers, intellectual stimulation of the issues and speakers as well as the interactive app system used for submitting questions to speakers in live time, both of those in the audience and those attending online.

It also had sessions on Big Data, Commissioning (a move forward from Outsourcing of Government Services) and Market Stewardship.

The various sessions gave a great overview of how, with the benefit of developments in information technology and some changes in thinking, the provision of Government Services and bees being profoundly transformed.

To me that was evidenced by my experience, on the train, when I noticed “passenger” now being replaced by “customer”.

Given my background in technology in the Law, including submissions to the Commonwealth Green Paper on Automated Decision Making and doing a lot of work on electronic transaction facilitation, the idea of many Government functions being affected and delivered online has intrigued me for years.

It has potential to increase the speed, accuracy and certainty of the delivery of many government services, yet at lower cost.

Bring on the future!