top of page
katie CHEN.png

Katie Chen is a dedicated professional in the field of housing policy with a strong commitment to data-driven, compassionate, and evidence-based approaches. With previous experience in regulatory bodies focusing on childcare and energy, she brings a wealth of knowledge in social, environmental, and energy policy. Katie's experience in the public sector has equipped her with valuable skills and a growing curiosity, driving her ambition to make a positive impact on Australian policy.


Could you tell me about your job and your day-to-day responsibilities?

I’ve just joined the Housing Division at Commonwealth Treasury as a Policy Analyst. My day-to-day can typically involve anywhere from working on policy proposals to drafting ministerial correspondences.


To explain what policy proposals are – any policy that involves spending money has to go to the Expenditure Review Committee (Prime Minister and select cabinet ministers).


Preparing policy proposals is often quite an involved process that requires providing evidence, costings and analysis of how the policy impacts different cohorts. Ministerial correspondence is a process where governments respond to letters from a range of people concerned about a particular policy, these could include members of the public, to advocacy groups or state ministers submitting their thoughts.


What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Working in policy to me is one of the most rewarding careers, as you can put your skills and passion towards creating widespread (hopefully) positive impact. I think public service policy work is one of those rare careers where you can indulge in your nerdy side and direct it towards real-world outcomes.


I also work in housing, which is arguably the most important essential good to support population growth and ensure the equity of current and future generations. A safe and secure home supports social and economic life. The list of positive benefits goes on. It’s just simply so rewarding to work in an area of policy where the outcomes are tangible.


What advice would you give young women in university at the start of their careers? 

I would suggest making the most of your subjects to explore all the possible different things you could enjoy. Often it’s really easy to fall into a particular career direction because that is the status quo, I know that certainly was the case when I studied for my bachelor’s degree. For me, exploring subjects in environmental politics and competition law helped me discover subject matter that I found very meaningful. 


Another tip is definitely don’t hesitate to reach out to people and ask about their experiences as a way to gain insight into potential careers. Attend different seminars outside of your university classes and speak to people in the field. Networking becomes demystified when you approach it with a lens of curiosity to explore your own interests.


What is one change that you would like to see for women in your field? 

I really believe norms are created by those in leadership and the example they set. An obvious shared vision by many is seeing more women in senior leadership roles, in particular women of colour.


I truly believe people strive for what they can see is possible, and that also involves developing a culture that embraces the strengths that women in leadership bring. This includes male senior leadership also being vocal and genuine allies of women in leadership.


How has your passion for data played a role in your career?

It’s funny I didn’t really come out of university as a big data person, but as I journeyed through roles in electricity, childcare and now housing, it’s astounding to see how compelling data is as a source of evidence that supports policy-making and how underutilised some data is.


A lot of the time data is underutilised because there may not be the systems, resources or personnel to analyse it. I think that is something a lot of organisations are increasingly looking to unlock.


As I have had the privilege of digging deeper into data with Excel and RStudio, I have quite enjoyed the technical and problem-solving side of analysis and coding.


If you have any questions for Katie Chen, please:

1. Leave a comment under our Woman of the Week FB post, or

2. Email us at

bottom of page