These 11 McKell Ideas Became Government Policy in 2023.

December 2023

6 months ago I was appointed as McKell Institute’s 4th CEO. 

It has been a busy, impactful time — as shown in our 2023 Annual Report and Impact Statement. 

Since I joined McKell in 2015, I have been motivated by its purpose to not just talk about problems but to offer practical solutions to them.

We measure impact by whether or not our work leads to a material difference for people in the real world. 

And this year, we have seen eleven McKell Institute policy proposals implemented across state and federal governments, each beginning to improve the lives of Australian people. 

From toll road relief to improved public amenity
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McKell researcher Max Douglass testifying to a Joint Parliamentary Committee in Canberra.

— In NSW, the Minns Government has established a policy that will see Sydneysiders access expanded toll relief, as advanced in a 2021 options paper exploring ways to alleviate cost-of-living pressures for Western Sydney residents. 

— It enacted strict penalties for retail based violence, citing McKell Institute data on the scourge.

— So too has the Minns Government committed to a new domestic manufacturing strategy, to meet the opportunities outlined in our  Build It Here report.

— Our non-partisan June housing summit with the Property Council proposed the implementation of a Transport Oriented Development framework in Sydney, which now characterises the Minns Government’s ambitious housing strategy.

McKell Victoria ED Beck Thistleton testifying to a parliamentary inquiry on housing.

— And along the Parramatta River, people will soon be able to walk, jog and ride an unbroken pathway from the Opera House to Parramatta, improving the health and wellbeing of thousands, with the new NSW Government fulfilling the previous government’s commitment to our proposal. 


Better mental health support & access to training

— In Queensland, we’ve seen the Palaszczuk Government commit to our proposal advanced in Communities in Crisis, alongside Lifeline, to guarantee funding for this essential service. 

— Across Australia, community batteries are now being rolled out thanks to a Federal Government program designed for in our paper, Power to the PeopleThese are providing cheaper clean-energy storage for thousands of households. 

— So too have we seen a major expansion in Free TAFE, as argued for in our 2021 report Trading Upalleviating the skills shortage and providing Australians a pathway towards new opporitunities.

Speaking to 9 News.



Fairer workplaces & strategic regional engagement

— On industrial relations, we’ve seen proposals McKell has been detailing with our partners in the Union Movement become law of the land. Wage theft is now a crime. Labour hire can no longer be exploited to undercut wages. 

— In February, the Albanese Government will work to reform gig work, informed by research undertaken by McKell, TWU and TEACHO that exposed how dangerous ride-share and delivery gigs can be. 

— And the foreign policy front, we’ve seen McKell’s ideas for a greater Australian investment in addressing Pacific energy poverty through the deployment of small-scale electrification funding established. This proposal, first published in our Islands of Opportunity report is now providing funding for Australian businesses to help solve this stubborn regional development and security challenge. 

McKell Queensland ED Sarah Mawhinney addressing an audience in Brisbane.


Toll road relief. Domestic manufacturing. Housing reform. Improved built-environments. Free training. Cheaper clean energy. Fairer workplaces. Strategic Pacific support.

These are tangible improvements in peoples’ lives that we’ve been proud to play a role in.


2024 will be a critical year in our national conversation

2024 will be a critical year in Australia’s public policy debate. 

Cost of living pressures, coupled with an increasingly complex international environment, will challenge governments.

We look forward to building on 2023’s record of achievement and continuing to make a meaningful, practical contribution to Australian public policy in the year ahead.