First listed on: 26 June 2024

Head of Government Relations


  • Salary breakdown: Base Salary + Superannuation + Salary Packaging ($15,900.00 + Meal & Entertainment expenses)
  • Flexible working, hybrid working and access to 9-day fortnight benefit 
  • 2-year maximum-term contract, ending 16/07/2026

Job Description

About the Institute
Located on Gadigal and Bidjigal land (Randwick, NSW), Black Dog Institute is the only Medical Research Institute in Australia to investigate mental health across the full lifespan, our aim is to create a mentally healthier world for everyone. Through effective communications, we lead Australia’s population health response to suicide prevention and champion the ongoing conversation of mental health in our society.


  • Hybrid work, 1-2 days per week in office (choose your days, consistent team collaboration days where possible)
  • 35 hour work week, flexible hours agreements & 9-day fortnights
  • Salary Packaging: $15,900.00 of your base salary tax free & up to $2650.00 meal & entertainment
  • Family first, people first culture, we put our research into action at work to make sure we maintain mental health and wellbeing at work
  • Pet friendly workplace
  • Leave benefits including public holiday swap, gifted annual leave, and wellbeing leave 
  • Employee discounts 

Desired Skills and Experience

The Role

To create better mental health for all Australians, we need positive systems and policy change, and an increase in funding. This role is responsible for leading Black Dog Institute’s government advocacy and engagement strategies at State and Federal levels to drive revenue and ensure that policy decision makers are connected to and informed by world-class mental health evidence. Spanning strategic and tactical work, this role requires a collaborative approach and broad focus across the organisation and mental health sector. As well as requiring strong consultation with internal stakeholders, relationship building and engagement with peak bodies, professional colleges and other sector organisations will be key to success. Specifically, this role will play a lead role in developing government briefs, funding proposals and engagement strategies as well as providing strategic advice to the Institute’s executive team and working collaboratively to achieve organisational goals.

Duties & Responsibilities

Government Relations

  • Lead the development, implementation and evaluation of government advocacy and engagement strategies to support Black Dog Institute’s strategic goals
  • Generate revenue through government grants and funding for special initiatives.
  • Maintain high levels of advocacy engagement to ensure involvement in relevant government policy
  • Drive policy activities that improve population and clinical mental health approaches.
  • Develop policy position papers, submissions, responses, presentations, evidence briefs, speech notes and other relevant material
  • Represent the Black Dog Institute at relevant meetings, conferences, and events
  • Contribute to process improvement across contact management and integrated campaign management.

Collaboration and stakeholder management

  • Identify and build positive relationships with decision makers across State and Federal Government and key stakeholder groups
  • Maintain close collaboration across the Black Dog Institute to facilitate the transfer of research, data, clinical and specialist insights into effective advocacy, communications and policy content
  • Join the dots across the organization to leverage existing thought leadership, philanthropy and other initiatives for advocacy purposes


  • Direct line management, mentoring and coaching of a high performing government relations team.
  • Provide high quality strategic advice to the Chief Scientist, Executive Team and Board on policy and advocacy issues including the development of briefing documents.

Skills & Experience Required 

Essential Criteria

  1. Tertiary qualifications in public health, public policy, politics, or equivalent relevant experience and a minimum of ten (10) years’ experience in government advisory or advocacy-related roles
  2. Proven track record of effective evidence-based government advocacy or policy influence
  3. Experience in the development and implementation of policy and advocacy strategies
  4. Demonstrated experience in budget management, including proposals and expenditures.
  5. Highly developed written communication skills, including experience in drafting documents, advocacy and position papers, reports, briefings, and correspondence.
  6. Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills and the ability to influence leaders to achieve business objectives.
  7. A team player with strong collaboration skills and an emphasis on bringing others along on the journey.
  8. Highly developed ability for systems thinking and the ability to synthesise complex information into compelling communications.
  9. Understanding of the Australian system of government at Federal and State levels and its practical application to regulatory and policy reform.
  10. Demonstrated ability to build strong networks and relationships within stakeholder groups and government at State and Federal levels.
  11. Ability to travel as required by the position.

Desirable Criteria

  • Demonstrated experience or understanding of the health or mental health sector and a broad awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector.
  • Empathy or alignment with mental health and wellbeing.

EOO Statement 
Black Dog Institute is committed to achieving a diverse workforce that reflects our wider community. We ensure equal opportunity for all, regardless of age, culture, appearance, sexual orientation, lived experience, gender identity, disability and/or family status.

How to Apply 
To become a part of the Black Dog Institute team, follow the link to our careers site on ELMO to submit your resume and cover letter. Please note that we do not ask candidates to share their identification until after attending an interview.

We are a 2022 Circle Back Initiative Employer and commit to respond to every applicant.

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