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Digital Transformation in Government Insight #93:
Australia’s elite in digital government

Two Aussies made the cut in apolicitical’s World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government for 2019. In this issue of Digital Transformation in Government we’ll be celebrating the contributions of Pia Andrews and Randall Brugeaud to digital government in Australia.

Salsa Digital 29 October 2019

Pia Andrews

Pia Andrews made the list's top 20, and two years in a row! Pia has been on Salsa’s radar for a while now — we’re big fans of her work and everything she’s achieved to date both here and during her stint in New Zealand.

Pia’s worked in several high-profile roles and has contributed enormously to many important movements in Australia, including open source, open data and open government. In her intro for the EngageTech Forum 2018, referring to open government she said: “Open that’s not digital doesn’t scale, and digital that’s not open doesn’t last.” A great quote that demonstrates the interconnectedness of open government and digital government and is a small taste of Pia’s passion.

Pia’s most recent role (which she left in September) was as the Executive Director of Digital Government and Data, Insights and Transformation for the NSW Government. While only in that role for 12 months, she managed to achieve a great deal including:

  • Setting up Australia’s first Policy Lab
  • Mapping all digital government policies
  • Launching the NSW Government Digital Design Standards
  • An online school enrolment system
  • Significant work in life journey mapping

See more in Pia’s post about leaving that role.

Before that, Pia worked in NZ for 18 months, leading the Service Innovation Lab. In that role, she focused on collaboration across agencies to design and deliver services based on life events, and how digital transformation can achieve better citizen services. Again, Pia continued to drive digital transformation in government — this time in New Zealand.

Pia’s prior role was in Australia, working for AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial and intelligence unit. She was at AUSTRAC for 10 months, working on open data, open APIs and introducing hackathons.

Her roles before 2016 included director for Data Infrastructure and Government Engagement, under the Prime Minister and Cabinet. There she was responsible for, the National Map (see our blog on the National Map) and generally driving an open data agenda and advocating for the necessary changes to make the most of government data. She has worked in open data extensively, including launching both GovCamp and GovHack.

For many years, Pia has been focused on Gov 2.0 — both formally and informally. She spent three years (from 2012 to 2015) as the director of Gov 2.0 in the Department of Finance and even recently wrote on the topic. (Pia’s latest enterprise is spreading her knowledge and sharing her passion through a new series in The Mandarin called ‘The Pia Review’.)

She’s also got a long history with open source. In fact, back in 2007 Pia co-wrote a paper titled ‘The Foundation of Openness’ , which looks at openness in software that goes beyond open source to include things like open knowledge and open standards.

Given her contributions to digital transformation in government, and especially within open government, open data, open source and digital service unification, it’s not surprising that Pia has been named in apolitical’s top 20 two years running (she probably would have been named many, many years in a row except the list was first published in 2018). Of note, the apolitical bio also talks about Pia as being internationally known for the idea of government as API. Another significant passion of Pia’s.

Randall Brugeaud

Randall Brugeaud, CEO of the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), made the top 100 list for the second time. Obviously in his role as CEO for the DTA, Randall drives digital transformation in the Australian government. The DTA is custodian of several high-value projects for Australia, including, digital identity,, the National Map and myGov. Under Randall’s leadership, these projects represent a significant portion of Australia’s digital government initiatives and future strategic direction.

Randall has held many high-ranking positions in government, having worked as COO of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CIO of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, CIO of Australian Customs and Border Security and CIO of ComSuper. Prior to that he worked at the Boston Consulting Group and ran his own IT company for 10 years. His pedigree is IT and his focus now is on the citizen experience. During a speaker session at hub Berlin earlier this year he spoke about the importance of serving the citizens, focusing on life event service unification and the Australian Government’s increased use of small businesses to drive innovation. He also touched on the importance of the minimal viable product (MVP) approach to delivering digital services in government.

Salsa Digital’s take

Both Pia and Randall contribute to digital transformation in government in Australia through a combination of their personal passions and their professional roles — past and present. While it’s great to see Pia and Randall recognised on the international stage, we’re hoping more Aussies doing their bit will be recognised in future apolitical top 100s. We’d also like to acknowledge the many people working in government to make a difference to their customers, citizens, and their work towards making government more open through digital transformation.

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