Michael Kennedy

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Michael Kennedy is one of Victoria's most experienced and innovative private and public sector chief executive officers. After an extensive senior management career leading transformational change in the business sector, in the bus industry, in road, rail and sea freight, in logistics and in manufacturing, he came to local government as a chief executive officer, just prior to Victoria's local government reform process, leading successful organisational and business reforms at two of Victoria's largest municipalities.

While in business and in the public sector, Dr Kennedy undertook leadership roles with industry and professional peak bodies, and in significant community organisations, with a strong focus on driving reform and transformational change. Throughout Dr Kennedy's extensive career as a management practitioner he contributed to tertiary education as a member and/or chairman of industry advisory committees at three universities, actively participating in subject and course development and review, and lecturing for many years in management practice and theory.

Dr Kennedy’s work brought him into ongoing contact with State Government at senior political and bureaucratic levels, initially through effective advocacy, then through membership of Ministerial and other councils/committees, providing input into policy development and implementation across a range of ministerial portfolios, including in transport and land use policy and strategy development, and chairing organisations reliant on significant State Government funding, again leading transformational reform processes.

Dr Kennedy undertook doctoral research into customer-focused team-based management and leadership, to inform his leadership of transformational change programs. He has contributed to Victorian public sector reform thought leadership as a member of the Institute of Public Administration Australia's 'Public Sector of the Future' Committee, chaired by a senior departmental secretary. He provided reform advice to a number of State Government departments and statutory authorities.



CEO, City of Boroondara

As first permanent CEO, led the amalgamation of Camberwell, Kew and Hawthorn to create a single, service-focused, responsive and cost-effective local government which, after four years, had achieved its strategic and financial objectives, and had the highest community satisfaction rating in Victoria.

CEO, Mornington Peninsula Shire

Led the transformation of the Shire post-amalgamation from unviable and poorly performing to one of the State's best-performing local governments, delivering high quality services and infrastructure at rate levels among the lowest in the State, achieved through a strong focus on innovation. Strong relationships were built with State Government, based on policy and strategy leadership in key policy areas.

CEO, Port of Hastings Development Authority

Short-term appointment, to provide advice to the Minister for Roads and Ports on future port management arrangements, following 25 years of externally contracted management. Developed and secured approval for a Risk Management Plan for the port, a Major Hazard Facility, having identified significant weaknesses in risk management.

Director/General Manager, Coastal Expressline

Led the transformation of the Bass Strait shipping business to a customer-focused door-to-door freight business, involving the acquisition of new ships, terminals, handling systems, containers and road vehicles.

Executive General Manager Australasia, ANL Limited

Managed shipping services to Tasmania and New Zealand, and road and rail freight businesses in Australia, leading business transformation processes.

Founding Chairman, Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Foundation

This UNESCO approved foundation included State Government departments and agencies, as well as five local governments, as members. Its shared objective was/is to achieve social, economic and environmental objectives in the planning and management of sensitive, highly valued natural assets, including the operation of a port, a steelworks and a fractionation plant in an internationally approved RAMSAR wetland.

Chairman, Victorian Healthcare Association

Led the State's public hospitals/community health services peak body through a period of restructure, reform and recovery. (Health Minister Daniel Andrews)

Founding Chairman, Life Saving Victoria

Led the creation of a single aquatic safety organisation for the State, through the merger of Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving state organisations, a world first. Life Saving Victoria is now a member organisation of Emergency Management Victoria, alongside Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, State Emergency Service, and the fire services. (Supported by the Minister for Emergency Services)

Board Member, Civic Mutual Plus

Long-time member of the board of the local government mutual insurance scheme, operating under State Government legislation, providing public liability insurance to local governments across Victoria.

Member, Transport Integration Act Ministerial Advisory Group

Advised the Transport Minister on the form and content of world-leading transport legislation, incorporating social, economic and environmental objectives into legislation governing transport infrastructure and service provision.

Member, Victorian Road Based Public Transport Public Advisory Council

Advising the Transport and Roads Ministers in relation to the provision of road-based public transport across the State.

Member, Melbourne 2030 Implementation Reference Group

Advising the Planning Minister regarding the implementation of land use and related transport strategies to facilitate Melbourne's accelerating growth.

Member, Victorian Sustainability Advisory Council

Chaired by the Deputy Premier, provided policy input in relation to addressing environmental and social objectives in State Government policy, in alignment with economic policy.

Member, Public Transport Victoria Governance Ministerial Consultancy

Developed, for the Transport Minister, the governance model for the creation of Public Transport Victoria, drawing on research into public transport entities across the world.

Consultant to CEO, Public Transport Victoria

Undertook consultancy project for the CEO, PTV, to produce an Interface Bus Service Improvement Plan, identifying and prioritising required bus service improvements in Melbourne's Interface Councils, to respond to rapid population growth and urban development in Melbourne's outer suburbs.



Dr Kennedy's network of contacts in government, initially established while in the business sector, in transport, shipping, logistics and manufacturing, then sustained and further developed in the public sector through a range of appointments, provides a sound base for advocacy to State and Commonwealth governments. Set out below is a small sample of advocacy projects successfully undertaken.

Meeting Our Transport Challenges (MOTC). $80M in recurrent State Government funding

Leading a major advocacy campaign on behalf of Interface Councils secured $80M in additional recurrent funding for bus services in outer Melbourne, a doubling of public transport services on the Mornington Peninsula in five years, and won a national public relations award.


Secured Commonwealth funding for an express bus service from Mornington Peninsula to Monash University at Clayton, to facilitate time-effective access to tertiary study to Peninsula residents. This is significant in that the Commonwealth does not fund bus services, and it required the creative co-operation of Commonwealth, State and Council officers, and the bus operator, to 'find a way' to fund the service, which is now permanently established as a PTV service.

State Government gazettal of the Mornington Peninsula Planning Statement

Described as "an achievement of generational significance", this gazettal addresses the potential conflicts between the economic development of a diverse $11 billion local economy, while protecting the highly valued local environment, and defining the Peninsula's future role relative to Melbourne's accelerating growth.

The approved document states "This planning policy will guide decision-making on the Mornington Peninsula by every State Government department, by every State Government public authority, by Council and by any responsible authority.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or