Australian Government Actuary - In Conversation with Guy Thorburn


Manage episode 215690247 series 2112798
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As the Australian Government Actuary (AGA) nears 100 years of service, Elayne Grace caught up with its current leader, Guy Thorburn, to find out what the agency of the Treasury does and has achieved. Australian Government Actuary and Macquarie University graduate Guy Thorburn joined Elayne Grace (CEO of the Actuaries Institute) on Tuesday 14 August 2018 on the Actuaries Institute Podcast. The pair discussed how the AGA, with its team of 12, operate in providing services to more than 40 Government departments and agencies. Guy discussed a challenging project being the long-term cost report the AGA carried out for the Defence superannuation fund. There were some significant changes in the assumptions required and most notably, the discount rate had to be reviewed. The AGA's work on a DSS means-testing framework and parameters for the framework was a project Guy then described as a rewarding one over the last 18 months. "That was a good outcome from an actuarial perspective... it created something different in a challenging environment that seems to have generally been accepted - and [was announced] in the Budget," said Guy. The conversation focus then shifted to the importance of the reputation of actuaries as independent, professional advisers, which Guy described as being "critical". "The reputation is the open door. People seek out advice at all levels because they know they're going to get independent advice that's well-grounded and well based [and] that's going to contribute positively to the development of a viewpoint about a policy recommendation..." said Guy. He acknowledged the consistent work of immediate past AGA Peter Martin, and former AGA's ?? Susan XX and Michael XX in building up the reputation of the AGA, its role and the contribution it can make. The fact that actuaries typically represent the interests of the public at large; the individual or member; or what's good for the country was highlighted as something to preserve. As was guarding against getting caught up in different vested interest of commercial or industry participants, at the expense of seeing the bigger picture. Guy provided some tips for actuaries keen to get involved in public policy, including volunteering in one of many roles available through the Institute or writing (or contributing to) a submission to Government. What makes a good submission? acknowledges the objective informs the objective to make it richer inform how we get to the objective represents the public at large "The best submission I've read actually is one that came in many years ago and was written by an actuary. [They] basically wrote almost what you would call a blueprint and it virtually happened," said Guy. Listen in to hear the full conversation and learn about the history and current role of the Australian Government Actuary. These services include: insurance like support to medical indemnity industry social security support veterans affairs tuition protection

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