Treasurer Jim Chalmers has told emerging public service leaders they were needed more than ever to help the government tackle the looming economic challenges of inflation, rising interest rates and climate change.
Dr Chalmers spoke to public servants in the Sir Roland Wilson Scholarship program on Wednesday, saying they would play a crucial role in government efforts to manage the nation's headwinds.
He listed falling real wages and flatlining productivity, downgrades to economic growth, food and energy insecurity, climate change and global tensions, and tightening financial conditions and serious fiscal constraints among the challenges ahead.
"We need you now more than ever. We need all of your effort and energy and talent. All your ideas and experiences and expertise," Dr Chalmers said.
"I know how fortunate we are as a country to have people of your calibre willing to front up and skill up to become the next generation of very senior policy makers and shapers in our system.
"I find that genuinely exciting. It gives me great confidence. You don't get a Sir Roland Wilson Scholarship without being seen as the future of the public service, people who are worth investing in."
The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation, named after the long-serving Treasury secretary who helped coordinate Australia's post-war economic expansion, provides public servants with scholarships and supports research informing public policy in the Australian Public Service.
Dr Chalmers praised his department, including its secretary Steven Kennedy, for the quality of its briefings after he became Treasurer.
"I've been really blown away by the horsepower in my department, starting with my friend, Steven Kennedy, but all the way through the organisation," he said.
His speech is the latest in a series of signals from the new Labor government that it wants to work more closely with public servants, and will lean on them for advice through coming national challenges.
Dr Chalmers last month declared a "new era" for the Australian public service as Glyn Davis began work as the nation's top bureaucrat.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday also promised to use the talents of public servants after meeting with bureaucrats and senior department heads at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.