“What is incredibly attractive about transport is the combination of big ideas, practical solutions, the complexity and the importance of transport as a part of our world.”
Gillian has over 30 years’ public experience in national, state, and local government organisations leading people-centred reform to deliver an efficient, safe and integrated transport system.
After leading the reform of Victoria’s transport agencies into a central and integrated department through the creation of Transport for Victoria, Gillian joined the NTC to lead the introduction of automated vehicles, improvements to the productivity and safety of heavy vehicles (freight) and increasing the role of rail in a more connected land transport system. Focussing on the harmonisation of road, rail and intermodal transport systems will enable Australia to be more connected, productive, and able to capitalise on innovation and local manufacturing opportunities.
As well as being the CEO at the NTC and the Head of Transport for Victoria, Gillian has held Deputy Secretary roles in Transport & Community Development; she was the CEO at the City of Greater Geelong and the Head of Strategy and Performance at the Transport Accident Commission.
With strong interest in governance and risk management Gillian chairs the Diversity & Inclusion Committee as part of her Board duties at Roads Australia, sits on both the Risk & Audit and the Remuneration Committees as part of her Board duties at the Gordon TAFE. Gillian is a member of Chief Executive Women and was instrumental in establishing the National Women in Transport network, a partnership between the NTC, Infrastructure Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication.
Gillian provides mentoring and support to senior executives and young people. She has a Bachelor of Education, Master of Letters in Cultural Theory and Doctor of Business Administration.
The reform agenda in transport is all about harnessing people’s excitement, energy, technical and aspirational contributions to come up with different ways of doing business. That’s what drives me. Finding solutions.
Getting a group of people in a room, all with differing opinions and diverse experiences, working through an amazing process and realising what can actually be achieved together. It takes more than one person to make something happen and people inherently want to fix issues.
Right now industry reform is about modernising transport by embracing technology. But it’s also about driving cultural change and thinking about future workforce needs. I think it is only in the past 10 years that the industry has really come to grips with future workforce needs and what it will look like if we don’t have enough people with the right skills wanting to work in transport.
If we are to build a diverse workforce to meet our future needs we must provide safety, acceptance, flexibility, agility and harness a breadth of skills - moving away from a historic overweighting to traditional engineering skills in many parts of the industry.
When I was working in the bureaucracy a person gave me a defining piece of advice which I have always held unto. They said ‘your job as a senior executive is to do two things - focus on today for the government and focus on what is happening in 20 years for the community. That’s the job and hold the pen – because then you get to craft the future.’
When I was appointed CEO of the City of Greater Geelong I learnt very quickly about stepping in and owning your own choices. You have made your decision and it’s yours. I learnt a lot in that role about my power and being confident in my decisions. Lifelong learning is also very important.
Women want to work in transport. But they need to be welcomed and developed. The critical questions are: do they get the type of work they aspire to and how do they navigate a pathway logic around skills and career development?
COVID accelerated the conversation around cultural change that was already happening in transport. The past two years have demonstrated how you can do a lot of work differently. It’s my great hope that people will embrace and retain the new ways of working rather than try and go back to ‘normal’.
...we have a workforce of remarkable people coming together to improve the productivity of this country and ensuring we have a modern, safe transport system, including a modern rail network.
There are some amazing gains to be achieved when there is enough collaborative will.