Forum for Climate Action – Inaugural Roundtable

ACoP was delighted to host the Australia and New Zealand Forum for Climate Action inaugural virtual Roundtable on Wednesday, 9 March 2022.

The Roundtable, facilitated by Forum Convenor and ACoP Board member Simon Hann, explored ways in which the collective agency of supporters and signatories of the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter might be activated across the region to create substantial and meaningful outcomes.

In collaboration with founding members Chartered Accountants ANZ (CA ANZ), the National Environmental Law Association (NELA), Business Council of Sustainable Development Australia (BCSDA) and Engineers Australia (EA) we are stewarding the Charter’s ANZ Professional Bodies ‘Forum for Climate Action’.

With ACoP’s member organisations representing a million professionals across Australia, we are championing the duty of professionals to protect our national interest by promoting and practising sustainability in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement and in particular Australia’s international pledge of achieving net zero emissions (NZE) by at least 2050.

Charter Overview

The Charter brings together multi-disciplinary organisations to share and harness their expertise and climate-relevant resources while enhancing the capabilities of a broad range of professional organisations. It will achieve this by ensuring professionals are well informed on best-practices through relevant Continued Professional Development (CPD) resources whilst establishing common awareness and literacy of sustainability across and between professions.

Roundtable Discussion

The expert panel, comprised of national and international experts, shared their wealth of experience and knowledge through professional views and advice on the region’s climate agenda.

Zoe Whitton, (ESG Specialist and Partner, Pollination Group), pointed out that whilst both government and private sectors’ emission mitigation commitments set ambitious goals, many of these pledges have been announced with little or no strategy underpinning them. According to Zoe, capital markets are now strongly aligning their decisions to climate outcomes, primarily driven by asset risk. However, she also noted the rising number of climate-related litigation cases due to inadequate government and private sector responses and related fiduciary responsibilities which are likely to continue if not addressed and managed appropriately. Zoe concluded by highlighting that addressing climate is as much about mitigation as it is resilience and adaptation; and increasingly about nature-based solutions that are formed through collaborations across sectors, competitors, vertical supply chains and individuals.

Lisa Cliff, (Environmental Scientist, Program Manager – Better Futures Australia, Climate Action Network Australia) explained Better Future Australia’s establishment on the back of the 2019 bushfires which represented a politicisation and inertia to a federal climate change response. She also spoke about the opportunity now to advocate for the national climate policy settings for Australia and the need for civil society volunteers to keep fighting the bushfires and supporting flood rescue.  Lisa highlighted that the main obstacle to private sector actions across all sectors is a lack of national standards and policy uncertainty but maintained that industry players and sub-national governments’ collaboration can be a catalyst for national action.

Join the Forum for Climate Action

We invite individuals and professional organisations to join the Australian / New Zealand ‘Forum for Climate Action’ that works collectively to uphold the integrity and contribution that Australian professionals can make in pursuit of our Nation’s climate agenda. “Collaboratively, we intend to harness and share our joint expertise and climate-relevant resources to enhance capabilities to practice sustainability, including a timeline for achieving this and identifying the help and collaboration needed from within our partnerships to achieve this”, said ACoP Presideet A/Prof Klaus Veil.  

For more details, contact

An Election focused on Trust

We need a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).  

The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) members know that in times of trouble trust is essential to a healthy functioning of society.

Peter Strong, ACoP’s Head of Advocacy, stated “Many professions have their own internal and external processes for investigation and enforcement of professional rules and ethical behaviours. In some in some cases for centuries. Professionals know this is essential – and wonder what’s the big deal with a Federal ICAC?

Mr Strong continued “these processes were developed to protect their reputations by querying, naming, punishing and sometimes expelling those who bring the particular profession into disrepute. This approach comes from a deep sense of responsibility for protecting the public interest, for preventing breaches of public trust, for guiding the conduct of professional members and for maintaining the integrity of a profession.  Examples of early self-regulation includes the Hippocratic Oath for Physicians and the Inns of Court for London barristers.” 

ACoP members know that a professional who breaches the rules faces public shame and an uncertain future. It is not a good fate and there are thankfully only a few who have suffered from this outcome, but it essential for the the support of those who work hard to build and maintain the all-important trust.

There are also a lot of government-imposed regulations and investigations. The Professions see no reason why others, including politicians, should not also have a similar process.

Mr Strong further stated “Most politicians are good and honest people and, as with all groups particularly those in positions of influence and power, there is temptation to abuse these positions.
We ask no more than what professional associations and government impose upon the professional community – an independent mechanism for dealing with complaints and where necessary recommending punitive actions.

This should be done for the sake of maintaining and where necessary rebuilding trust.

We know that public trust in many of our institutions has fallen and the politicians need to match the professions in challenging that perception and increasing trust to acceptable levels.

Which one?

ACoP increases its Government Advocacy

ACoP is pleased to announce that Peter Strong has joined the team as our advocate in Canberra. Peter is the immediate past CEO of COSBOA and left that position to have a break. We have coaxed him back into the fray.

Peter Strong
(Photo Jesse Marlow)

In addition to until recently advocating for our MOU partner Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA), Peter lead and participated in various Australian government advisory groups including as Chairman of Ken Henry’s Treasury Business Advisory Forum on Standard Business Reporting (SBR), Marise Payne’s Womens Economic Security Advisory Group member, the ACCC’s small business advisory forum, the ASIC Business Advisory Forum, SBR Board member, the Australian Tax Commissioners small business advisory group member, the ATO’s GST specialist advisory group member and many other advisory bodies to Prime Minister & Cabinet, Treasury, DFAT and the Department of Innovation. In the past Peter has also consulted to government agencies, the World Bank and the United Nations mainly on business development, training, change management, economic reform and industry restructuring.

Peter stated “Working for ACoP is an honour. Working on behalf of the most trusted group in the country is a worthy role. It is interesting that in COSBOA I obviously worked for small business people and many of them were and are professionals – health practitioners, accountants, architect and so forth.

With COSBOA we focused on the importance of small business people to community and also the economy. With ACoP the main difference is that professionals can be business owners, managers, employees, public servants etc. But professionals are the intellectual backbone of our country and the future of innovation. They are also an integral part of community.

ACoP as the peak body already has a seat at tables of importance as do the members of ACoP. We will now expand the reach of ACoP and ensure the opinions, expert opinion at that, will be heard more often.

Click here to see Mr Strong’s experience (linked from his website)

ACoP joins Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration

The Australian federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs The Hon Alex Hawke MP has invited the Australian Council of Professions to serve on his Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM).

The purpose of this Ministerial Advisory Council is to provide advice to the Minister on Australia’s temporary and permanent skilled migration programs and associated matters. MACSM is a tripartite body, comprising of industry, unions, State and Territory government representatives and any other members nominated by the Minister.

MACSM advises the Minister on:

  • policy settings to optimise the contribution of skilled migration to Australia’s economy, including in regional Australia, and in attracting the best and the brightest
  • the size and composition of Australia’s temporary and permanent skilled migration programs
  • skill shortages in the labour market which cannot be met from the domestic labour force and domestic training and education programs
  • opportunities to reduce regulatory burdens and costs on Australian businesses seeking to access visa programs to fill genuine skilled vacancies
  • policies to ensure that Australian workers are afforded priority in the labour market
  • the role of State and Territory governments in skilled and business migration
  • the adequacy of regulatory powers of the Department of Home Affairs to ensure integrity and detect and prevent practices which are inconsistent with the intent of the programs
  • strategies to ensure Australia’s migration programs contribute to Australia’s security, prosperity and economic recovery post COVID-19.

At the MACSM’s initial meeting, we found that ACoP was the only stakeholder representing the professions. We therefore were able to put forward views that we had collated from our member organisations and that would otherwise .

If you would like more information on our participation in MACSM, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

2021 – Professions, Professionals and Professionalism

2020 saw unprecedented challenges for Australians and their institutions. Faced with an unknown virus pandemic, the public and governments trusted the Chief Medical/Health Officers as professionals providing science-based, ethical and responsible thought-leadership and advice to survive this threat to lives and livelihoods.

We are celebrating our 50-year anniversary by declaring 2021 as the “Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism“.  We will use our anniversary to engage with the broader community and public to advocate for the purpose and value of the professions, professionals and professionalism.
With our member organisations we will plan, coordinate and convene events large and small throughout 2021 that will exemplify the value of the professions, their professionals and professionalism.  We will also be working with exemplars of various professions to champion the importance of individuals and governments following the evidence-based advice of professionals in difficult times which includes leveraging the profile that the Chief Medical/Health Officers have gained over the last 10 months in the public eye as trusted advisers and leaders in the pandemic.

Activities have included:

For more information on the Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or!

Professionalism Researcher Strengthens ACoP’s Thought Leadership

As we look into further strengthening our thought leadership in 2021, the Australian Council of Professions have engaged a key resource to help us deliver additional services to our members.

We would like to introduce you to Ruth Ferraro PhD Fellow ARPI GAICD who has joined our Office of the CEO to head the Professionalism Portfolio.

Ruth’s interest in the phenomenon of professions and professionalism was sparked in the early 2000s where she undertook a “Can we Educate for Professionalism?” project for the emergent financial planning profession. Ruth then undertook PhD research at the Work-based Learning Institute, Middlesex University UK entitled “From the intransitive to the transitive – emerging the Australian tax profession as a profession in its own right” which she intends to utilise in a number of our projects. “With over 25 years in executive roles in education with 20 of those years spent in membership bodies for a wide range of professions: medical sub-specialisation, law, accounting, financial planning, etc. I have gained a deep insight into the life-cycle and maturity of professions.” says Ruth.

One of Ruth’s first activities will be to lead the Emerging Professions initiative, which we have created following conversations with existing and prospective members. This input has highlighted that new professions and professionals moving into new areas of practice have created interesting challenges. Ruth’s other activities will be to create and action high-level communications in the domain of professionalism as well as assisting ACoP in its thought leadership and engagement with high-level individuals and organisations.

I am delighted that Ruth has joined us at a time where the purpose, value and maturity of professions has very much moved into the public eye. The emergence of the concepts of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ as well as the healthcare and climate challenges in the last 12 months make the public’s clear understanding of the role and value of professionals, their ethics and professionalism in difficult times all the more important” said President Klaus Veil.

Read more about Ruth’s background at

Welcome Ruth!

COVID-19 Road to Recovery Education/Training Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on employment, required workplace skills and the nature of jobs of many Australian employees and workers. We are seeking your help to establish which and how new skills should be provided, funded and acquired more quickly to ensure all Australians can participate and benefit from Australia’s successful business recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our research team seeks to find out what has changed for working Australians regarding:

  • The technical and generic skills you or your team members need, or need more of, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The optimal ways to address these skills needs in the next 12 months, including innovative approaches and possible government support packages.

We need the views of a broad range of Australian workers including: professionals who work in large or small organisations; small business owners; sole traders and micro business owners; contractors; consultants; and others. If you are an Australian worker over the age of 18, you are invited to share your views.

This survey has been approved and is conducted independently by Deakin University. This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (reference number: HAE-20-087). The research project is endorsed and overseen by the COSBOA/ACoP “COVID-19 Business Recovery Council” which directly advises the Prime Minister’s National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.

For more information on the survey, please contact the Office of the CEO on 1300 664 587 or at!

COVID-19 Business Recovery Council

In May 2020, the Australian Council of Professions joined with the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) to form a thought-leading group for the COVID-19 “Road to Recovery”.

The main focus for the COVID-19 Business Recovery Council is to map a safe way forward for small/medium businesses as well as professional practices. This includes not only safe operating and trading but also enhancing online operation and goods/service delivery as well as ‘re-inventing’ businesses for the post-pandemic period.

The Council advises the National Cabinet through Nev Power’s National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC).

The first initiative of the Council was the COVID-19 Road to Recovery Education and Training Needs research project.

If you would like more information the COVID-19 Business Recovery Council, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

Increased Collaboration of Professionals and Small Businesses

The Australian Council of Professions and the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia are pleased and excited to announce the creation of a formal partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding.

The two organisations between them serve over one million small businesses through their member organisations. This partnership will provide a much greater reach to the community of small businesses and practices and provides both organisations with access to superior information from which to inform policy and comment.

The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) is the unifying alliance of Professional Associations that represents more than 800,000 Australian professionals including engineers, healthcare and computer professionals, veterinarians and accountants.  A not‐for‐profit organisation, they are acknowledged by the community, industry and government as the Thought Leaders advocating for the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism since 1971. Their members are professional associations and supporting organisations that share the mission of building and maintaining community confidence in all professionals.

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) is Australia’s only peak body that exclusively represents the interests of small businesses and consultancies. COSBOA fosters an increased awareness and understanding of the role of the people who are sole traders or run small businesses in Australia and works with all parts of society and the business and policy sectors to achieve that aim. Through its member organisations COSBOA has a reach to over 500,000 small businesses.

Both Councils and their member organisations undertake activities in the areas of advocacy, policy development, education, professional development, information dissemination, communication, resource development and member support.  In the MOU both Councils agree to identify and collaborate on opportunities, initiatives and projects, either existing or planned.

The President of the Australian Council of Professions, A/Prof Klaus Veil FACHI FH7, stated “It is in crisis times like the COVID-19 pandemic that we discover how many things are interconnected.  As we worked more intensively with COSBOA on strategies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, we realised that many of their members serve a similar constituency as do our professional association members, but from a different angle. So it seemed natural to formalise our collaboration so that both Councils can even more effectively contribute to maintaining and enhancing Australia’s well-being and prosperity.”

The Chairman of COSBOA Mark McKenzie, stated “The connection between all small businesses in Australian communities is a key part of the fabric of our society. The connection between professional and non-professional businesses is an everyday event that must be recognised. Professionals will need a haircut or a hairdo, they’ll need newspapers and magazines, petrol and fuel as well as everyday products and specialist products which they will often obtain from small businesses; and small business people will need expert advice on a whole range of complex matters which is when we go and see an expert, a professional. This partnership is empowering for COSBOA and now gives us a reach to over one million small businesses.

Read the COSBOA media statement here.

We look forward to working with COSBOA to support the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism in Australia.