2023: A year in review with AELERT CEO Greg Abood

Dec 13, 2023

G’day Regulators,

Happy 20th birthday AELERT. AELERT’s first conference was in Melbourne in November 2003. Past leaders and practitioners (from Peter Wells to Monica Collins) have all combined to make this unique network what it is today and what it will be for years ahead. Their legacy continues. AELERT has, is and will always be run by regulators for regulators. This year, your network has moved significantly as a result of you, your work and collaboration with your peers. Thanks!

Early this year AELERT’s National Council released its new 2023 – 2025 Strategic Plan. A plan drafted based on your feedback of your needs, priorities and your vision of where you want the network to head.

This plan set the scene for the significant movement we have seen this year. In 2023 we:

  • Welcomed a new national council, a new chair, Grant Barnes (NRAR) and a new deputy Chair Amy Dennison (NT EPA). We welcomed new representatives Lisa Docherty (G-REG, MBIE, Wellington, NZ), Kate Harbert (DES Queensland) and Kate Gavens (DEEECA Victoria). Now our governance team has members from all jurisdictions, all levels of government and represents the diversity of disciplines and functions in your network;
  • Introduced new membership categories – such as strategic partner, operational partner and importantly, a sponsoring membership category, enabling members to get the most out of the network and play a regulatory stewardship role for their peers;
  • Reformed our groups and created new communities of practice – we now have 16 active communities of practice with over 650 members in those communities. Based on what we heard from you, this year we created seven new communities of practice. Our groups now better reflect the diversity of members in AELERT covering all jurisdictions, all levels of government and the diversity of functions from legal / policy makers to law enforcers and all in between;
  • Our working groups are working on common regulatory problems and running initiatives that will better our collective capability and practice. Our network leaders in operations, regulation and engagement and capability building are currently running six interagency work programs from lithium ion battery waste stream problems to best practice guides on regulatory priorities and outcomes, performance measures to enhance the Modern Regulator Improvement Tool (MRIT) and our Regulatory Officer Capability Framework and Self-Assessment Tool. This practical work is run by regulators and will be available for all agency members to better their regulatory maturity, capability and performance. These regulatory leaders are turning good ideas and wicked problems into material products and solutions that will benefit us all;
  • Launched a new website – with a new website comes new resource library, new products and new groups, forums and a way for members to manage their own membership. Now direct access to your peers, resources and products is quicker and easier;
  • Released new and enhanced products for agencies and practitioners – this year we released a new Interagency Twinning Program so that two trusted peers can support each other on the regulatory maturity, capability and assurance journey. We enhanced the Modern Regulator Improvement Tool (the best tool in the AELERT kit) to make it more versatile, more accessible and more effective at growing organisational maturity;
  • Built new partnerships – providing new connections and options for our members to work with our partners and beyond our network. This year we built new working relationships with G-REG, NELA, INECE and all relevant regulator networks in Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America and the Pacific. We now collaborating very closely with NRCoP. This means we are now energising and supporting each other’s networks and work programs as well as collaborating like running joint webinars, events and conferences. Stay tuned for the joint webinars and conferences planned for 2024!
  • New members – in local government including Port Macquarie Hasting Council the latest last week (welcome!), state government agencies such as DMIRS WA and in non-environmental regulatory disciplines like disabilities, safety, research and construction. We have also new members taking out strategic partnerships like the Inspector General of Water Compliance Aust Government. Welcome to all our new members, welcome to the history and current day connections in this practical network. Your involvement in the network will benefit you and your peers.

What’s on for 2024?

In 2024, we will consolidate our network groups and convert the synergies between them into real material goods that benefit business as usual activities of our member agencies. We will work closely with our network partners by holding joint events and creating connections between the work programs of each network. We will also release two more practitioner products – the Practitioner Mentoring Program and Job Swap Program.

AELERT members and leadership team will enhance the MRIT by updating it, creating new guides, structures and templates to make it more versatile and accessible than ever. They will enhance our professional development offering including the Regulatory Officer Capability Framework and the self-assessment tool (ROCSAT).

Next year I am looking forward to taking real steps toward making the network more accessible to all local governments in Australia and New Zealand and regulators in Pacific Island nations. Most importantly, we will continue to engage with you and adapt the network to cater for you and your agency needs as a regulator and leader in society, because that is exactly what you all are, leaders in society who serve for the public good.

Thanks for your work in moving your network in 2023. 2024 will be one of consolidation and enjoying the benefits from that work.

Happy regulating,

Greg Abood

AELERT CEO

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