Work with Purpose | Episode #83 | 8 May 2023

EPISODE #83 | Building digital capability in the public sector

Reliable data is critical for public policy and program development, but many public sector staff still need to build their digital capability and literacy. Currently, the APS Reform Office is reviewing the digital skills of public servants and ways to enhance their skill sets.

To contribute to this important conversation, the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT is hosting the Australian Government Data Forum on May 17. This event will bring together experts from public and private sectors to discuss how data can inform policy and program delivery. The forum is organised in partnership with the Graduate Data Network, the Office of the National Data Commissioner, and the APS Data Profession, which comprises over 1,000 members from 40 agencies.

In this episode, we are joined by two members from the Graduate Data Network – Moira McLoughlin, graduate at the Department of the Senate, and Samuel McMurray, data analyst at the Australian Taxation Office. Together, they share valuable insights into the world of data science and its significance in shaping policy and government programs within the Australian public service. They also discuss tools for staying on top of developments in data technology, such as natural language processing, and the importance of collaboration and continuous learning in the field of data.

Discussed in this episode:

  • Reasons for joining Graduate Data Network and appeal of working with data
  • How data is helping to deliver better policy in the field of family, domestic, and sexual violence
  • The significance of artificial intelligence for the future of government programs
  • Why you should attend the Australian Government Data Forum.


Moira McLoughlin
Moira McLoughlin is a graduate at the Department of the Senate. She was previously a data and information analyst on secondment with the Department of the Senate, after completing the graduate program at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. As the project lead for the Australian Government Data Forum organised by the Graduate Data Network, Moira is passionate about developing data sharing, infrastructure, and reporting to better understand the diverse experiences and stories across Australia. Her experience in data analysis has fueled her interest in leveraging data to inform policy and government programs, particularly in the areas of public health and social welfare.

Samuel McMurray
Samuel McMurray is a data scientist at the Australian Taxation Office and co-chair of the Graduate Data Network. After completing the data stream of the ATO’s graduate program, he is currently working on improving the natural language processing capability as a data scientist in the ATO’s Smarter Data Branch. Samuel is passionate about improving data understanding within the APS and accelerating existing business processes through data-driven approaches. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Graduate Data Network and is committed to promoting the effective use of data across the public sector.




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IPAA ACT acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Contact IPAA

ABN: 24 656 727 375
Phone: (02) 6154 9800
Unit 4A, 16 National Circuit,
Barton ACT 2600

Postal Address

PO Box 4349
Kingston ACT 2604

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