Jennifer Westacott AO

Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia
'Playing to our strengths'
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm
Canberra - 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

Registrations for this event are now closed. Please contact reception for further details.

For the past two years, the Business Council of Australia has been travelling around the nation from Ayr to Geelong and Cairns to Busselton listening to what regional Australia needs to get moving.

Our challenge as a country is how we unlock the next wave of economic growth needed to deliver higher wages, improved living standards, and increased opportunities for all Australians.

The key to accelerating growth lies in our ability to develop and deliver new innovations, industries, products and services, including those on the frontier, while doing everything we can to continue to excel in the areas where we are strong and have a natural advantage.

If we are to truly play to our strengths as a nation, we must unleash the potential of our people, our places and our capabilities, wherever they fall on a map.

Doing this at scale and finding new markets will help transform our regional centres, creating more jobs, more businesses and more opportunities. By powering up strategic areas, Australians can share in the benefits of the next wave of economic growth.


The Business Council of Australia is the nation’s premier business organisation, advocating for a stronger and fairer society through a more prosperous Australia.

Jennifer Westacott AO has served as Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia since 2011, bringing a unique combination of extensive policy experience in both the public and private sectors.

Under her leadership, the Business Council tirelessly champions meaningful policies that strengthen the ability of businesses to grow the economy for the benefit of all Australians.

Jennifer built her career in the public sector, working in senior leadership positions in the NSW and Victorian governments.

She has served as the Director General of the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources; the Secretary of the Victorian Department of Education and Training; and the Director of Housing in Victoria.

She was also the Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Community Services, and the Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Housing.

As a senior partner at KPMG, Jennifer advised major corporations on climate change and sustainability and advised governments across Australia on significant reform priorities.

Jennifer has an unrivalled understanding of how the public and private sectors intersect and can work together to achieve the best outcomes in the national interest.

Since 2013, Jennifer has served as a Non-Executive Director of Wesfarmers Limited.

She is the Chair of the Western City & Aerotropolis Authority, which is overseeing the design and delivery of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis. The global employment centre and investment hub will surround the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport at Badgerys Creek.

Jennifer is an Adjunct Professor at the City Futures Research Centre of the University of NSW.

She is the inaugural Chair of the Board of Studio Schools of Australia, and a patron of Mental Health Australia.

Jennifer also serves as the Australian Co-chair of the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum Organising Committee, the Co-Patron of Pride in Diversity, and as a patron of the Pinnacle Foundation.

In 2018, Jennifer was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of New South Wales and in 2017 received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from her alma mater. She was a Chevening Scholar at the London School of Economics.