Doing a lot with very little: a high impact year of public policy projects


Australia21: Cowandilla Primary School SAAs the year comes to a close, Australia21 is proud to release our 2016-17 Annual Report. We did a lot with very little over the period, running nationally significant projects, boosting our profile and calibrating the goals that will keep us powering through 2017-2018.


Goal 1: Our research and expertise informs and drives public debate and policy change

In 2016-17 we ran the equivalent of 7.5 major projects; we appointed a specialist communications expert to the Board and contracted her to ensure our research informs and drives public policy debate; our research received at least 26 mentions in the media and our website and social media reach and engagement increased significantly.


Goal 2: Australia21 is a strong, trusted and dynamic organisation with the personnel and funding to continue to contribute to the public good

In 2016-17, our Risk and Compliance committee reviewed our risks and ensured our strategic plan was up to date. Funding bodies and organisations seeking our services committed to providing $111,500 across 2016-17 and 2017-18 for projects and administrative costs. We ran a successful end of financial year donations drive, raising $26,605 in public donations.


Goal 3: We engage with young people and enable their voice to be heard

In 2016-17, we restructured our part time paid office position to allow for better focus on engagement with young people and the general community. We started a consultation project with young people about the future and work. We also worked with school students to refine our Smarter About Drugs initiatives.


Australia21: 2016-17 annual report infographic


The Annual Report gives a concise overview of our work, so take a look to find out more about Australia21 and our aims and activities.

Click here to read the



Here’s a summary of what happened at the project level in 2016-17:

  • We built on the outcomes of Australia21’s forum, Mindfulness, Empathy and Compassion: The Building Blocks of a Mindful Nation, held at the University of Melbourne in June 2016, with Board member Dr Lynne Reeder establishing the Mindful Futures Network to provide a national space for Australians investigating the organisational and societal benefits of mindfulness, empathy and compassion.
  • In September 2016, Dame Marie Bashir launched the Australia21/FearLess essay volume on trauma-related stress in Australia. Following that, Director Emeritus Mick Palmer organised funding from the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and Northern Territory Police to enable us to convene a Roundtable of first responders at AFP Headquarters in early May. The writing up of the report, in consultation with participants, is at an advanced stage and we are hoping to launch the report early in the new year.
  • In November 2016 we held a Roundtable on algal farming and released the report at Parliament House in Canberra this August.
  • The March 2017 launch of the report from our third illicit drugs Roundtable received widespread public and media coverage, prompting an important conversation about the need for drug law reform. Roundtable convenor, former AFP Commissioner Mick Palmer, launched the report with former NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr and former Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett.
  • With YoungA21 and the Australian Lions Drug Awareness Foundation (ALDAF) we tested and released Smarter About Drugs: A conversation pack, and supported the drug awareness program at Cowandilla Primary School in South Australia. We very much appreciate the cooperation and collaboration we have received from ALDAF, Cowandilla Primary and Star of the Sea College in Melbourne, on this important but sensitive project.
  • Also with YoungA21, we started a project looking at the future of work from the perspective of young people. Making our Future Work will provide new insights for policy makers by talking directly to young people about how they feel about the future and work.
  • We started discussions for a new project canvassing possible solutions to growing inequality in Australia, following from our 2014 inequality roundtable and report; we are looking for an opportunity to contribute to discussions about existential threats; and we have under consideration a possible new project on the psychology of attitudes towards complex socio-economic issues.



Get informed. Be heard. Shape the Future.

All our reports are available for free download and even though they’re grounded in specialist knowledge, they’re written for the general reader. The Latest News page on our website is also good for browsing information about our projects, while our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages are handy for keeping up to date on topical issues — and commenting about them yourself. In addition, you can follow YoungA21 and the Mindful Futures Network.

As our Chair, Paul Barratt, points out in the 2016-17 Annual Report, everyone has an opportunity to get involved in shaping a fair, sustainable and inclusive future for all Australians. So make the most of it!

Australia21: Chair Paul Barratt“We firmly believe that Australian democracy works best when an informed citizenry engages with the political class on big issues of the day. So whether you agree with our analysis or not, do not hesitate to write to your local member and/or the relevant Minister(s) about the matters that are important to you. You may, as you no doubt assume, receive a pro forma reply, but politicians take careful note of the representations they receive from the public – the issues raised and the lines taken. As one who has spent many years in the public policy domain, I can assure you that the cumulative weight of the letters our politicians receive has an impact beyond the expectations of any one correspondent.”

Australia21 looks forward to once again showing leadership on important Australian issues in 2018.


Australia21: annual report 2016-17 social media infographicHow you can help

If you would like to support Australia21 or a particular project we run, here are some options:


Share our Latest News and social posts

Sharing our research with your friends, family and colleagues or even mentioning what we do in a conversation helps generate public awareness, stimulate debate and encourage evidence-based decisions on important issues. It also helps us grow our support base. To share our work on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other platforms – or to email it – simply click on one of the grey icons at the top of our post, or the coloured ones in the sidebar to the right. Easy!


Donate to Australia21

  • Make a one-off or regular donation by clicking on the yellow DONATE button at the top of this page or go to our GiveNow page here: Make a donation.
  • Give the gift of a donation to that difficult-to-buy-for friend or family member.
  • Request a gift in memory, in lieu of flowers.
  • Make a bequest in your will.

For more information about arranging gifts and bequests, please contact Anne Quinn at or on 02 62880823.


Partner with us

  • Become a Corporate Partner.
  • Sponsor our work.
  • Engage us to work on a mutually agreed topic.

For more information go to Partners.


Australia21: volunteers at the launch of Smarter About Drugs: A conversation pack with David StanleyVolunteer with us

Our volunteers live all around Australia and undertake a variety of tasks on our behalf. Some tasks are related to particular projects (such as providing research assistance) and some are related to administrative support (from helping us prepare our newsletter through to advising us on our organisational strategy). All contributions are highly valued.

For more information go to How to volunteer.



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