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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.
The Business Council believes robust economic growth with a strong safety net for the most vulnerable Australians is the nation’s best defence against inequality.
For Australia to thrive, private enterprises must be allowed to flourish in a modern, open economy that incentivises, rewards effort, and encourages aspiration.
Throughout her life, Jennifer has been a passionate advocate for greater social and economic inclusion.
Jennifer built her career in the public sector, working in senior leadership positions in the NSW and Victorian governments across housing, education, and infrastructure, planning and natural resources.
Jennifer, who grew up on NSW’s central coast, was the first woman to become director of Housing Victoria and the first public housing tenant to run a housing department.
Her first-hand understanding of disadvantage, coupled with an unwavering commitment to create opportunities to ensure all Australians can reach their full potential, has carried over to her work in the private sector.
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 the Chair of the Mental Health Council of Australia and has been instrumental in focusing attention and resources on mental health issues.
Jennifer is a Non-Executive Director of Wesfarmers Limited, one of the nation’s largest and most respected private sector employers.
Following on from her work helping to develop Australia’s new International Cyber Engagement Strategy, Jennifer serves as a member of the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre. The centre aims to promote and protect Australia’s capabilities in cyber security research, development and commercialisation.
Jennifer is the Australian Co-chair of the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum which was established to discuss opportunities facing the two nations and identify where they can better collaborate on issues such as foreign policy, economic growth and education.
Jennifer is the Co-Patron of Pride in Diversity and is the Co-Chair of the Australia Sino One Hundred Year Agricultural and Food Safety Partnership (ASA100). The partnership seeks to promote, develop and advance international trade in Australian agriculture and manufactured food products.
In 2018, Jennifer was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to private and public sector administration through executive roles, to policy development and reform, to cross sector collaboration, to equity, and to business.
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.