La Trobe Business School

Month: November 2015

La Trobe Business School experts change lives in Papua New Guinea

Emma Sherry La Trobe Business School Papua New Guinea

The NRL-run League Bilong Laif (League for Life) program in Papua New Guinea is positively changing the lives of participants, according to an evaluation by the Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe University.

Experts from La Trobe recently returned from a visit to PNG to assess the impact of League Bilong Laif, a sport-for-development program that runs in schools and promotes messages about respect and the importance of education for all Papua New Guineans. The program is funded by the Australian government and delivered by a team of Papua New Guinean NRL staff in four regions.

“We are starting to see that League Bilong Laif is more than just a schools program and can impact change for females, males and people with disabilities of all ages and in all regions”

“We are starting to see that League Bilong Laif is more than just a schools program and can impact change for females, males and people with disabilities of all ages and in all regions” says NRL Pacific Program Manager John Wilson, who travelled with the La Trobe review team to Port Moresby, Eastern Highlands Province, East New Britain Province, and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“The NRL PNG team under the management of Mark Mom are doing a great job. We are building awareness that rugby league is not just a sport through delivering our positive education and respect messages in each community that will ultimately define the future of the program. The team is also delivering the program in sign language to make it more accessible” said Mr Wilson.

In addition, research found that participating in the League Bilong Laif program provides children with an opportunity to engage with education in a meaningful way, and that the program reinforces the message of gender equality through female NRL PNG staff, who are seen as role models and strong women.

Reflecting on his visit, Mr Wilson said PNG was full of great people that were looking for ways to contribute to their communities for a better tomorrow. “League Bilong Laif is a great platform for our staff to give back. In each region that we visited, the staff presented new opportunities for me to explore the cultural and logistical differences that affect the programs we deliver every day,” he said.

The research has found that the impact of the program extends beyond participating children, with preliminary findings suggesting positive change for program staff and broader communities, through partnerships with PNG and international charities, and community outreach programs.

Education specialists have been involved from the initial stages to establish and review the LBL program to ensure quality delivery of the program with desired outcomes. Review team member and sports management specialist Dr. Emma Sherry said they monitor education and gender equality outcomes through surveys and interviews with teachers and NRL PNG staff, stories of change with children, and via in-depth in-country interviews with program funders and key stakeholders.  By utilising these tools, the review team has sought to identify changes in attitude, behaviour and the impact of these on the participants, their school and community.

Dr. Sherry stated that the LBL program had grown exponentially since its inception three years ago, and the success of employing full-time staff, reaching out to dozens of schools, hundreds of teachers and many thousands of children is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the staff in both PNG and Australia.

“During the pilot phase, the program had been refined and is now being replicated across the Pacific [Fiji, Samoa and Tonga] as an example of how to actively engage children and their communities in education” she said.

League Bilong Laif is managed through a three-way partnership between the Australian Government, the PNG Government (represented by the National Department of Education) and the NRL. The program is supported by the Autonomous Bougainville Government Department of Education, the PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL), the University of PNG and the PNG National Sports Institute.

This article awas originally published on

UniSuper’s WIL invaluable for financial planning students

UniSuper La Trobe Business School
One of the key strengths of the Financial Planning program offered by La Trobe Business School is the range of work integrated learning (WIL) experiences that students can participate in.

La Trobe’s Financial Planning program, led by Senior Lecturer Marc Olynyk, has developed strong relationships with the profession and leading industry practitioners. As well as teaching the theoretical knowledge required of a financial planning professional, students are also taught to apply this theory to real-life work issues.

Over the past four years, the annual UniSuper Financial Planning seminar has grown to become a key feature of La Trobe Business School’s Financial Planning program. UniSuper – one of Australia’s leading superannuation funds – hosted this year’s seminar on 25 September at their offices in Melbourne’s CBD.

Led by Mr Graham Eggins, Regional Manager Southern at UniSuper, and supported by various team members, the seminar provides students with the opportunity to experience financial planning in a real-life work environment. It also aims to develop their skills in communication and strategy development.

“UniSuper has been a great supporter of the financial planning program at La Trobe University over a number of years and has a strong commitment towards promoting the education experiences of our students,” said Mr Olynyk.

La Trobe Business School is one of the market leaders in financial planning education in Australia. The Financial Planning program places considerable emphasis on a range of work-based learning experiences, as well as providing work-ready skills to prepare students for entry into the rapidly expanding profession. The Financial Planning Major can be undertaken from within a number of undergraduate business courses on offer from La Trobe Business School.

Interested in enrolling in a Business Degree? See our Business courses page for more information. 

Lauren Jackson on the significance of sport– Listen to the complete interview!

La Trobe Business School Lauren Jackson Sport in Regional Australia Bendigo Lauren Jackson

Last week, La Trobe Sport and the SER RFA facilitated a 2 day industry conference in Bendigo at the Capital Theatre on Sport in Regional Australia. The event marked the second running of the conference and had over two hundred delegates and speakers over two full days, and more than thirty speakers from industry, government and community groups.

This year’s key note speakers included former CEO of the AFL Andrew Demetriou, Australian basketball player Lauren Jackson and the head of Community Strategy and Netball Development at Netball Australia, AnneMarie Phippard.

“Sport gave me a way to be myself and evolve as a person.”
– Lauren Jackson

The interview with Lauren Jackson, conducted by La Trobe’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact (CSSI) David Lowden, was one of the highlights from this year’s conference. Jackson spoke about her experiences growing up as the daughter of a well-known ‘basketball family’, the culture shock she experienced while playing in countries like China or Russia, and where her career is now.

Jackson burst onto the scene as a member of the Australian Institute of Sport, leading a team of future stars to an unlikely WNBL championship in 1999. A year later she joined the Australian Opals and won silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Her early success at national and international level positioned her as one of the most sought after prospects in the 2001 WNBA draft class in the US, and she was selected with pick one by the Seattle Storm.

Her commanding play secured two WNBA championships for Seattle, and four WNBL championships for the Canberra Capitals. Jackson won gold at the 2006 FIBA world championships, and continued to shine at Olympic level, with silver medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Catch up on this fascinating interview on Soundcloud.

2015 La Trobe Business School Students show entrepreneurial flair in organizing cause-related upcoming events in fights against cancer

Ellie Lemons model nutritionist La Trobe Business School


Every year, La Trobe Business School students organize events for their ‘Event Project’ capstone subject, as an assessment. This way, students get the opportunity to get some hands-on, real-life experience in a professional environment. Profits from the organized event are all donated to The Cancer Council (for students who study at the Melbourne Campus), or The Otis Foundation (for students studying in Bendigo).

This year, there are two more events coming up:

Event: Warriors Against Cancer

‘Warriors against Cancer’ will be held on Saturday November 28 at La Trobe University’s Simpson Lawn and the Odeon. Participants will attend an hour long yoga workshop run by Ian Cresswell, a highly regarded yoga instructor from KX Yoga. Following the yoga session, attendees will enjoy a healthy and delicious morning tea which will be hosted by Ellie Lemons, a well-known model and nutritionist. We will also have a raffle at the event, which will raise some much needed funds for Cancer Council Victoria. There are raffle prizes up for grabs which consist of a luna park merchandise bag, 2 x unlimited passes to Luna park rides, 2 tickets to the Peninsula Hot Springs, a La Trobe hoodie and much more to come! The guest speakers that will tell their extraordinary stories, includes Ian himself as well as from cancer survivor, Camilla Inman. Joining us will be content creator, model and nutritionist Ellie Lemons, alongside The Voice Australia contestant, Sarah Valentine who will be playing a special acoustic set.

What is included:
Refreshments, entertainment, guest speakers and a raffle competition (raffle tickets would be sold 1 for $5 and 3 for $10)

Location: La Trobe University, Simpson Lawn, and The Odeon

Cost: $40 early bird, $50 general admission (morning tea session is included in price)

Buy tickets and register via Eventbrite.

Find more information on the corresponding Facebook page.

To donate, go to the event’s donation page.

Event: The Brunch Bar

On Sunday the 29th of November, come spend the morning at the Royal Saxon in Richmond. You can enjoy a delicious brunch and hear from a Cancer Survivor, with opportunities to take something home in the silent auction, raffle prizes and goodie bags.  Prizes include Peninsula Hot Springs Vouchers, a Mimco bag, a Guess Bag and yoga discount vouchers.

What is included: Food and non-alcoholic drinks available

Location: Royal Saxon, 545 Church St, Richmond, 3121, 10am-1pm.


Buy tickets and register via Eventbrite

Find more information on the corresponding Facebook Page.




Seminar: The Future of the Tax Profession

La Trobe University’s Centre for Public Sector Governance, Accountability and Performance (CPSGAP) invites you to attend its Seminar on “Future of the Tax Profession” on Monday 30 November 2015.


The seminar will address a number of points including:

  • Digital transformation of the tax regime especially the introduction of standard business reporting
  • The ATO’s reinvention program and the way it is challenging conventional paradigms of tax administration
  • The parallel changes facing the tax profession and its response to various challenges including, amongst others, digital disruption, offshoring, globalisation and a more informed public
  • The roadmap ahead for change with emphasis on adaptiveness and changing skill sets.

Access the event flyer, here.


Colin Walker ATO La Trobe Business School La Trobe UniversityColin Walker is an Assistant Commissioner in the Tax Practitioner Lodgment Strategy and Compliance Support group of the Australian Taxation Office (the ATO) and is currently responsible for managing the relationship between the ATO and tax practitioners and other intermediaries in the tax and superannuation system.

Colin has previously held a variety of senior roles with the ATO including the development and implementation of significant new legislative programs including the Tax Consolidations regime, the Review of International Tax, the Childcare Rebate, the former Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax.

He also has extensive experience with the International Monetary Fund providing in country technical assistance in tax and customs policy and administration in many overseas developing countries.

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of PracticeMark Morris is a Professor of Practice in Taxation in La Trobe University’s Business School where he teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate taxation and actively contributes to broader industry engagement initiatives between the Business School and the tax profession and other key stakeholders.

Mark also Co-Chairs the ATO’s ‘Future of the Tax Profession 2016’ working group with Colin which comprises senior representatives from the ATO, professional bodies, software developers and practitioners concerning the implementation of the ATO’s standard business reporting initiative.

He has over 30 years experience in senior tax roles in chartered accounting, industry and professional bodies including his former long-term role as Senior Tax Counsel with CPA Australia.


Date: Monday 30 November 2015

Time: 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Venue: Level 20, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne

RSVP: Please respond by Friday 20 November, 5.00pm, via the La Trobe web page.

Business analytics critical to business futures, as new Master of Business Analytics and SAS Analytics Innovation Lab launched

Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data

On a very significant evening for La Trobe Business School, the Master of Business Analytics degree and the SAS Analytics Innovation Lab were officially launched. At a very well attended event on Tuesday 10th November at the City Campus, Andrew Condron, General Manager, Analytics at Telstra gave the key note address, providing insights into the significance of analytics for contemporary business activity, including for decision making. As Andrew made clear, the future of business is fundamentally linked to analytics. Following Andrew’s presentation, Lynette Clunies-Ross, Chief Operating Officer at SAS, reaffirmed the importance of the relationship between SAS and La Trobe as she launched the SAS Advanced Analytics Lab, a lab that will make a highly significant contribution both to the research and teaching of the analytics team in La Trobe Business School.  Associate Professor KL Ong, Program Director of the Master of Business Analytics, provided an overview of the new program, highlighting its innovation both in terms of its integration with business, and its flexible delivery through live streaming. Professor Damminda Alahakoon, leader of the Business Analytics group in LBS, then highlighted the research innovations occurring within the Business Analytics team, including their engagement with key industries including health, police and sport. The event was opened by Professor Paul Mather, Head of La Trobe Business School, and closed by Professor Tony McGrew, Pro Vice Chancellor, College of ASSC.

In the lead up to the first full offering of the Master of Business Analytics, LBS is running a series of Business Analytics workshops. If you are interested in finding out more, see our website.

For information on the Masters of Business Analytics, see the Business Analytics La Trobe web page.

If you would like more information on our series of workshops or our Masters Courses, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data

Business Analytics La Trobe Business School Telstra Big Data

Organisations must innovate to take advantage of digital disruption, says Adjunct Professor Ahmed Fahour

La Trobe Business School Ahmed Fahour
On 29 October 2015, La Trobe Business School Adjunct Professor Ahmed Fahour spoke about contemporary leadership challenges at an extremely well-attended Alumni event at La Trobe’s City Campus. Drawing on examples from his professional experiences as a leader at major organisations including Australia Post, as well as NAB and Citigroup, Ahmed argued that companies need to be able to innovate and adapt rapidly in a context of significant digital disruption if they are to be successful in the current technological era. He also reflected that, while the pace of change is intense, companies and leaders need to be ready to engage proactively and strategically with the opportunities afforded by disruption. Under his leadership, for example, Australia Post has been implementing a more customer-focused business model designed to capture the corporation’s major growth opportunities in ecommerce, logistics and as a provider of trusted digital services. Ahmed also noted the importance of new ideas in engaging with these challenges. In the question and answer session, Ahmed discussed the opportunities available for people entering the workforce now, arguing that graduates must be prepared to be innovative and entrepreneurial if they are to be successful. He also commented on the need for organisations to promote the importance of soft skills, as well as technical skills, so that they can adapt to the challenges ahead.

Companies and leaders need to be ready to engage proactively and strategically with the opportunities afforded by disruption.

  • Ahmed Fahour, CEO Australia Post

One of Australia’s most influential and dynamic business leaders, Mr Fahour has a wealth of experience in diverse industries. In his current role as Managing Director & Group CEO of Australia Post, he is responsible for the business’s transformational change as Australians shift towards using digital forms of communication and transactions. He was appointed Adjunct Professor in La Trobe Business School in 2014, and is a La Trobe alumnus, having graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (Honours).

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Peter Sivey: “This isn’t the way to fix private health insurance”



The private health insurance sector is ripe for reform, but the Federal Government should look further than populist policies that seem to offer more choice but at a cost to overall equity and efficiency, writes Peter Sivey.

The Federal Government has confirmed that it is considering reforms to private health insurance regulation that would allow new policyholders with healthier lifestyles (including non-smokers and people with low BMI) to pay lower premiums.

This policy change would represent a relaxation of Australia’s long-held “community rating” system which enforces a rule that everyone pays the same price for the same policy.

The proposed reform sounds like classic small “l” liberal reform: reducing regulation and improving choice for consumers. But it’s bad for fairness and it’s bad economics.

Smokers nowadays are a relatively small but highly disadvantaged group in Australian society. Latest estimates suggest only 18 per cent of Australians are smokers. But disadvantaged groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, remote and rural Australians, those currently unable to work, and single parents have much higher smoking rates, up to twice as high.

We know that smoking is highly addictive and it is hard to argue that the differences in smoking prevalence across socio-economic status represent the rational choices of individuals. On this basis, price discrimination against smokers is unfair and inequitable.

Allowing such price discrimination would surely lead to some smokers dropping their private coverage as their premiums rise to reflect their higher health costs. These smokers would now seek their expensive treatments from the public hospital sector. So the net effect of the policy would be to move more of smokers’ health costs (as well as the costs of others with unhealthy lifestyles) onto taxpayers. Previously their costs would have been subsidised by their own health insurance premiums, and the premiums paid by other policyholders in the same fund.

The Government is also considering allowing private health insurance to cover out-of-pocket fees for GP services (for example, when GPs don’t bulk bill and charge a fee higher than the Medicare rebate).

Again, this reform seems appealing on the face of it. Why shouldn’t we be able to use our costly private health insurance to cover bills from the GP surgery?

A primary reason is that the existing policy of forbidding insurance coverage of GP fees has put the responsibility on GPs themselves and the Government of the day to keep fees low and bulk billing rates high. For example, the Howard government introduced a series of increased payments to doctors which successfully reversed the decline of the bulk-billing rate in the early 2000s. Under private health insurance coverage, GPs would have an incentive to increase fees and the government would have the temptation to deflect any problem with accessibility onto private health insurance. There goes the principle of universal access to primary care.

The private health insurance sector is certainly ripe for reform, but the Government should look further than populist policies that seem to offer more choice to consumers but at a cost to overall equity and efficiency. The ability of health funds to design restrictive policies which exclude certain treatments mainly needed by older people (hip replacements are a common example) would be a good starting point for better regulation.

You only have to look at health insurance TV adverts to see where the system is going wrong. Excessive marketing to young people, and focus on ‘extras’ cover (dental, optical, etc), shows where the fat profit margins lie. Restricting extras cover and enforcing more adequate minimum levels of hospital cover could improve price competition and improve coverage for essential medical procedures.

Peter Sivey La Trobe Business School Economics ABC The Drum

Peter Sivey is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and Finance at La Trobe Business School.

This post was originally published on the ABC website for The Drum.

Ken Lay shares his wisdom on Responsible Leadership

Ken Lay Kenneth Lay Victoria Police La Trobe Business School MBA Leadership

On Sunday 18th October MBA students studying Responsible Leadership, and Values, Ethics and Diversity, had the privilege of hearing Ken Lay’s views on leadership. Ken was Chief Commissioner for Victoria Police until December 2014. He currently holds two federal government advisory roles:

Chair – Council of Australian Governments Committee to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (with Rosie Batty);

Chair – Prime Ministers’ National Ice Strategy Taskforce and in December will assume the Chair of Ambulance Victoria.

He gave us a fascinating and thoughtful snapshot of his leadership journey from a boy in Korumburra, country Victoria, to commanding 17,000 people and keeping the State of Victoria safe, describing his leadership style along the way. Ken developed an expert executive team to support him, noting that he looked in the mirror and honestly assessed his capabilities, saying “What am I good at and where do I need assistance?”. With the help of a loyal and smart team of colleagues he launched initiatives such as developing the Victoria Police Blue Paper, which outlines a vision for Victorian Police to 2025. This includes:

– rethinking the traditional operating model to better use resources

– improving capability through workforce reform and technology

– collaborating through partnerships

Part of this plan is increasing diversity and inclusivity in the police force, with suggested targets for sworn officers of

  1. 35-40 per cent female
  2. 5-10 per cent who speak a second language at home
  3. 1 per cent Indigenous

Ken spoke about why diversity is important to organisations, making a clear case for the link between better performance and diverse and inclusive workforces, particularly the impact of women in senior roles. In terms of lessons learned about leading responsibly he noted that he would like emerging leaders to have the courage to call colleagues when they may be acting out, in order to develop a positive work culture. We look forward to hearing about the important difference Ken makes in his new roles.

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