Steve-MichelsonWritten by Steve Michelson 

If you’re eagerly counting down the days to the summer break, you might not be the only one.

From rising interest rates and a cost-of-living crisis to a failed referendum and a worsening climate emergency, 2023 asked a lot of us individually and as a community. 

But while the news agenda moved at a rapid pace and angry shouting became a kind of background noise, I’m proud that our clients and our staff worked – and will continue to work – in a different way. 

We understand that it’s not just about the sugar hit of publicity. It’s not about taking a cheap shot just because it’s there to be taken. It’s why we’re proud to work with organisations committed to achieving genuine and long-lasting social impact. 

To make a meaningful, constructive impact, you need to make yourself a part of the decision-making conversation. Your voice needs to be heard not as a slogan but as a trusted source of information and advice. 

Banksia Strategic Partners is proud to have worked with a range of corporate, government, and for purpose clients at the intersection of policy, politics and public affairs to make a positive social impact.

Our positive social impact – a year in review.

A Long Walk Ahead

While the answer to the referendum to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice was “no”, the question that we should all be continuing to ask is “where is the love?”

This was the sentiment that saw former Essendon AFL player and First Nations leader Michael Long retrace his Long Walk to Canberra, this time to meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Banksia was proud to assist ‘Longy’ and his team with the strategy, communications, media handling and stakeholder engagement involved in this history making walk, which started with an address to hundreds gathered at Melbourne Town Hall and involved three weeks of community and media engagements. 

Other the last seven years, the Uluru Statement from the Heart introduced us to the Yolngu concept of “Makarrata”, meaning “the coming together after a struggle.”

With that concept in mind, and despite the disappointing referendum outcome, we take inspiration from Longy, and everyone who joined him on his Long Walk to Canberra, as we continue to push for a more just, equitable and reconciled country. 

Continuing a Just Transition

Climate change continued to be a high profile issue this year, and Banksia has worked with a range of clients towards a clean energy transition.  

We are proud to have worked with some of Australia’s leading organisations who achieved the following outcomes:

  • The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) launched its $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart program to help incentivise green hydrogen production in Australia.
  • The Australian Hydrogen Centre (AHC) completed its feasibility studies into blending renewable hydrogen into gas distribution networks in Victoria and South Australia which can be seen here.
  • The NSW Government agreed to establish a Hydrogen Centre of Excellence by committing $25 million to a vocational training centre in Glenwood in partnership with the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre.

This year we also focussed on strengthening communications around renewable gas, as seen by many episodes of our podcast series; Banksia Explains.

The most recent episode, “Can gas be good?” is a conversation with Mike Davis, the Managing Director of Optimal Renewable Gas explores the potential of renewable gas in Australia’s decarbonisation journey.

This year we also welcomed a new client, Swedish renewables developer OX2 to the Australian energy market following their acquisition of Australian renewables developer ESCO Pacific in May.

We were thrilled to facilitate OX2’s brand transition from ESCO Pacific, as they got to work on bringing their wealth of expertise in green field project development to Australia.

If you’d like to learn more about our creative services, please take a look at an introductory video we produced as part of their entry into the Australian energy market.

Community Health First

Community Health First launch at Victorian Parliament House

If the opening years of this decade have taught us anything, it’s that a strong and resilient health system is vital to our communities’ well-being. 

Community health is an integral but often undervalued component of Victoria’s public health system that delivers accessible, affordable and integrated primary care services for people with complex and chronic health needs, especially those who face barriers to accessing mainstream health services. There is no more perfect reminder of this than during the COVID-19 crisis when community health services stood up testing services across our state.

This year, Banksia supported all 24 registered community health services in Victoria to collaborate under the campaign banner of Community Health First with the aim of achieving stronger policy and funding outcomes for the sector.

In doing so, we supported the development of both a position paper “Strengthening Victoria’s Health System through Community Health” and a budget submission to make its central message clear – that there is a need to reimagine our health system to deliver better outcomes for all Victorians regardless of their bank balance or postcode.

In the new year, the Community Health First campaign will continue to seek out a dialogue with Government decision-makers to promote the central role of community health services in the wider Victorian health system, and we are proud to assist them in doing so.


2024 will mark our seventh year as a firm, and one that will start with a few changes.

As you may have already heard, James Fitzpatrick has been appointed as the firm’s second Director and will help lead our continued focus on client service, development and growth. 

Left to right: Lizzie Duver and Camilla Bale

It is also with much excitement that we welcome Camilla Bale to our team as General Manager. Camilla has worked in large global organisations like Goldman Sachs as well as small local founder led companies. She is an accomplished problem-solver with invaluable experience in management and strategic growth. 

We also welcome Jack Angliss in his new role as Head of Creative as Banksia continues to successfully execute a variety of creative and strategic content service. We look forward to building on our creative services in the coming year as we welcome our most recent recruit, graphic designer Elizabeth Duver. 

We also look forward to announcing a new brand for Michelson Alexander in the new year which will represent a shift away from my name and an increased focus on my talented team. While this means we will have a new name and logo, one thing that will remain unchanged is our firm’s commitment to providing tailored and practical advice to our clients.

We thank our clients for believing in our skills and incredible team of staff who constantly go above and beyond the call of duty.

I hope you enjoy a safe and Merry Christmas, a relaxing summer break, and a very Happy New Year. 

Steve Michelson 
Founder and Director