2016 Achievement Award Winners

Individual Categories

Patrons Award
The highest accolade in public administration in WA awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the State.

WINNER: Sharyn O'Neill, Director General - Department of Education

Sharyn O’Neill is well known for leading complex change in Western Australia and nationally. Ms O’Neill has made an outstanding contribution to the public sector in WA, and has led the Department of Education through an extensive reform agenda. Throughout these reforms, Ms O’Neill has had a focus on high quality leadership – equipping, supporting and training school leaders to ensure high quality teaching is at the forefront of all their endeavours. Sharyn works with public, private and not for profit organisations to ensure the very best outcomes for public schools and for the students they serve.  Under Sharyn’s leadership and strategic planning initiatives, public schools in WA have seen significant improvements in performance, operation and status. As Director General, Sharyn has ensured public schooling has been placed on a firm foundation for the future.

Leader of the Year (4 Awards)
The winner of this award will be working in a senior position and have clearly demonstrated leadership qualities. He/She will be respected and demonstrate excellence in leading a team to meet designated objectives and outcomes in the interests of public service.

Murdoch University Leader of the Year Working in State or Federal Government

WINNER: Graeme Gammie, Executive Director - Department of the State Heritage Office

Under Graeme’s leadership, the Department has grown to become highly respected in the sector. The spotlight was shone on Graeme’s delivery of good governance and reporting with the recent triumph of the Department at the 31st WS Lonnie Awards, winning four awards, including the prestigious WS Lonnie Memorial Trophy. His strategic vision has driven the Department to unprecedented levels of success in improving the management of cultural heritage in Western Australia, as per our Government Goal. Highlights include; relocating the office to the Bairds Building - an example of best practice adaptive re-use; the establishment of the Heritage Works Revolving Fund – including the Warders Cottages, Fremantle; the establishment of the State Heritage Office as a stand-alone department; and the transfer of Fremantle Prison, the State’s only World Heritage Listed building, to the Department. His flexible, open and honest leadership style is welcomed by staff, who benefit from his support of their development. He is optimistic and motivational, professional, calm, results focussed, makes evidence-based decisions, and provides clear direction. He celebrates and shares successes. He is fun to work with and through this, maintains a happy and productive workforce.

Hyatt Regency Perth Award Leader of the Year Working in the Not for Profit Sector

WINNER: Chris Hall, Chief Executive Officer - MercyCare

Chris Hall has been pivotal in the Western Australian community sector reform ensuring the sustainability of vital community services to those significantly disadvantaged in the community. His professional affiliations and development activities has enabled Chris to be in a position of strategic influence in all matters relating to the overall ethos, strategic direction and performance of MercyCare. Without his drive, experience and leadership MercyCare and the community services sector would be significantly the poorer. Instead, MercyCare and WA are leading Australia in community services sector reform and relationship building with Government. Ultimately the vulnerable and those significantly disadvantaged people of Western Australia are the ones that have, and will, benefit.

SPECIAL COMMENDATION: Warren Pearce, Chief Executive Officer - Local Government Managers Australia

Corruption and Crime Commission Award Leader of the Year Working in Local Government

WINNER: Joanne Trezona, Chief Executive Officer - Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup

Joanne has worked in rural local government for over 27 years, 17 of those as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Following six years as CEO of the Shire of Tambellup, Joanne was CEO for the neighbouring councils of Broomehill and Tambellup for a period of two years before leading those councils through the process of formal amalgamation to become the Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup in 2008. At a sector level, Joanne has served on the Local Government Advisory Board, Minister’s Advisory Committee on Women in Local Government and WALGA’s Country Reform Policy Forum while, at a regional level, she was heavily involved in the formation of the Southern Link Voluntary Regional Organisation of Councils in 2008. This organisation has seen nearly $4.7m worth of funded infrastructure delivered to member councils, demonstrating a very successful level of collaboration between the CEOs and councils involved. Joanne’s major local achievements include involvement in establishing a bank franchise, gaining funding for seniors housing, and $3.6m for a recreation facility upgrade.

Leader of the Year Working within a Division / Team / Organisation

WINNER: Malcolm Robb, Branch Manager Water Science - Department of Water

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Malcolm Robb has forged a reputation as a leader in the field of water science and water management in Australia and on the international stage. He is highly skilled in developing and coordinating partnerships with other government agencies, industry and community groups, taking a leadership role and making sure that the results of their collaboration are meaningful and rigorous. Adopting this approach, he has been instrumental in developing Western Australia’s first ever water quality improvement plan, our first estuary health assessments, the first phosphorous binding clay Phoslock™ which is now commercially available worldwide, and the first comprehensive monitoring programs for catchments and estuaries, now considered one of the world’s best estuary data sets. Malcolm Robb has spent more than 20 years in the public sector, developing a reputation as one of the most skilled, committed and energetic practitioners in his field. As head of the Department of Water’s Water Science Branch he is renowned for his pragmatic approach to problem solving and his capacity to “make things happen”. Malcolm’s commitment is reflected in the successful outcomes of a wide range of projects he has undertaken for the Department of Water.
Pictured: Mike Rowe, A/Director General Department of Water, receiving award on behalf of Malcolm Robb.

SPECIAL COMMENDATION: John Purcell, Assistant Director of the Office of Information Management - WA Police

Public Sector Commission Young Leader of the Year
The winner of this award will have emerging leadership qualities; a thirst for knowledge and a commitment to learning. Making a difference by demonstrating best practice in the public service.

WINNER: Petro Scafidas, A/Principal Project Officer - Department of Mines and Petroleum

An ambitious, delivery focused, proactive professional with good strategic thinking, and strong analytical and interpersonal skills, Petro Scafidas has consistently demonstrated excellence in public service. His ability to bring people and ideas together in diverse, often challenging circumstances, coupled with his talent to inspire teams to success, has significantly benefited the Western Australian community. Throughout his employment with the Department of Mines and Petroleum, Mr Scafidas has proved to be a valuable leader who has excelled in all aspects of public administration and management. His practical and logical approach to service delivery has also enabled him to lead and encourage innovation across the sector. In addition, Mr Scafidas’ resourcefulness and initiative has generated a number of different opportunities from which other employees and external agencies are able to benefit. His effective interpersonal and communication skills have helped to promote positive change throughout the department. Furthermore, his dedication to supporting, guiding and fostering other young professionals to grow and develop their skills is an inspiration and has led to him becoming a role model to his peers.

Best Practitioner in the Public Service (4 Awards)
The winner of each of these awards will be working at manager level or higher. He/She will be a respected practitioner and demonstrate excellence in high achievement in their field of expertise.

Randstad Human Resource Management Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Damien Miles, Director, Human Resources - Pilbara Ports Authority

Damien Miles is the Director of Human Resources at Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA), a Government Trading Enterprise, which oversees two of the world’s largest bulk export ports in Dampier and Port Hedland in the Pilbara region. Damien led the implementation of PSC’s Code of Ethics, developed the port authority’s Code of Conduct and enhanced the organisation’s recruitment brand and commencement processes. Damien also coordinated the establishment of a HR function that continues to ensure high-calibre candidates from around Australia are recruited to PPA, and receive ongoing support and training in their role. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership during PPA’s significant changes as a result of the 1 July 2014 ports amalgamation, ensuring staff were regularly informed and supported before and during their transition to the new entity.

Information Technology Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Martin Jackson, A/Director, Strategic Business Development - Department of the Attorney General

Mr Martin Jackson is acting in the position of Director, Strategic Business Development within the Court and Tribunal Services Division of the Department of the Attorney General. His substantive position is Executive Manager for Technology, Planning and Development, a role he has occupied since 2008. In his substantive role, Mr Jackson undertook the lead role in the delivery of the Department’s eCourts Plan which was developed in 2014. The key foundation stone of the eCourts Plan was the implementation of the Integrated Courts Management System (ICMS) to replace nine legacy systems for criminal case management across all court jurisdictions and the management of fines enforcement. Representing the Department on a cross-agency working party, Mr Jackson led the introduction of this seamless, electronic, criminal case management process. Engaging stakeholders and solving problems specific to their needs, the subsequent technological solutions implemented by Mr Jackson and his team have created many successful outcomes.

Department of Fisheries Award Policy Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Ben Whitehouse, Director Out of Home Care Reform - Department for Child Protection and Family Support

In summary, Ben has exceptional leadership qualities, together with prodigious communication and interpersonal skills and conceptual and analytical ability. Through this project, he will leave a lasting legacy in providing a brighter future for many children who unfortunately need to come into care. Hi work, which has been outstanding, will lead to fundamental improvements in the way the Department and the whole of the out of home care sector responds and delivers services to the most vulnerable children and their families in WA.


Department of Finance Award Finance Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Carolyn Gibbon, Financial Reporting Manager - Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

In less than two years, Financial Reporting Manager Carolyn Gibbon has drastically improved the quality and timeliness of financial reporting at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA). She has used her extensive knowledge and experience, including client relationship and team building skills, to strengthen the Finance team and transform their reporting processes. Carolyn’s efforts have resulted in the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) removing all qualifications around DAFWA’s annual financial statements and the team completing the 2015 statements at least eight weeks earlier than in recent years. She was also instrumental in ensuring a quality outcome of a major agency expenditure review. Carolyn has been commended by DAFWA’s Executive, the OAG and Department of Treasury on the improved accuracy of financial information reported by DAFWA. 

SPECIAL COMMENDATION: Tanvi Haria, Chief Finance Officer - Fremantle Ports

Organisational Categories

Business News Award Innovation in the Not-for-Profit Sector 
The winning organisation of this award will demonstrate the implementation and use of innovative practices and approaches to meet community and public service objectives.

WINNER: South West Metropolitan Partnership Forum

The South West Metropolitan Partnership Forum (SWMPF) is the first and only partnership of its kind in Australia. Funded through a State Government Social Innovation Grant - awarded to St Patrick’s Community Support Centre in 2013 - the SWMPF today comprises some 80 not-for-profit and government service providers, business, philanthropy  and community members in Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville.  They have come together to pool their resources and unleash their collective creativity to find innovative solutions to complex social issues, recognising that ‘business as usual’ simply isn’t having the necessary impact.  Piecemeal approaches are necessarily leading to piecemeal results.  The SWMPF is trialling its collaborative model through four pilot projects, all of which are being driven by the communities and/or individuals they are seeking to support. This ‘bottom up’ approach, which makes for more responsive services and builds capacity in communities, is a key component of the SWMPF model.  The empowerment and participation of community members is critical to the realisation of the SWMPF’s mission. The diverse perspectives of the SWMPF’s broad range of stakeholders are helping to challenge traditional wisdom, encourage creative thinking and develop innovative solutions to address the region’s ‘wicked problems’. The SWMPF has also moved beyond the scope of its four projects  to streamline funding applications from not-for-profit organisations in the region to ensure these are coordinated on the basis of agreed priority need. The improved social outcomes  the  SWMPF has delivered in just 21 months of implementation is testament to the success of its ground-breaking  model.


Best Practice in Collaboration (2 Awards)

The award will go to a project or an ongoing practice that demonstrates high level collaboration and coordination across organisations to meet a priority objective in the delivery of service to the community.

Best Practice in Collaboration Between Government and Non Government Organisations

Note: two winners in 2016

WINNER: Disability Services Commission - Changing Places WA

The $2 million Changing Places WA project is a collaboration between the state and local government sectors and the disability sector. Led by the Disability Services Commission, the project is breaking new ground through a deliberate and determined effort to establish a network of Changing Places state-wide. Peak bodies, the WA Local Government Association and National Disability Services WA, are key partners along with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and consumer organisations. This policy-in-action project demonstrates best practice in collaboration between government and non-government organisations. It delivers community services in partnership through improved state and local infrastructure that is designed to overcome a critical barrier to community participation by people with disability. Changing Places are room sized community bathroom facilities that meet the specific requirements of people with disability. An innovative multi-sectoral influencing strategy has engaged stakeholders and garnered support leading to significant investment well beyond project funding for up to 20 Changing Places. In its first year, the project has secured a commitment to a total of 34 Changing Places in WA. More significantly, private sector organisations and urban planners are shifting their thinking to provide more equal experiences of community. Urban designers are approaching flagship infrastructure projects from an inclusion perspective rather than the accessible built environment. It bodes well for sustainable change in community infrastructure design and planning.

WINNER: South West Metropolitan Partnership Forum

Cross-sector collaboration is the only way to effect transformational change.  Isolated individual interventions are doomed to fail because no one sector has the capacity to respond to the complex social issues confounding governments and civil society throughout the world. The South West Metropolitan Partnership Forum (SWMPF), which is led by St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, is the first and only collaborative partnership of its kind in Australia. Funded through a three-year State Government Social Innovation Grant, the SWMPF  has brought together  approximately 80 government (all three tiers) and non-government  service providers - as well as business, philanthropy and community members - to trial collaborative and innovative approaches to respond to the ‘wicked’ challenges facing the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville. Since 2014, SWMPF members have pooled their combined resources and unleashed their collective creativity to test the effectiveness of collaborative working, in terms of improved social outcomes and increased efficiencies.  They have done this through the implementation of four pilot projects, all of which are being driven by the communities and/or individuals they are seeking to support. This ‘bottom up’ approach, which makes for more responsive services and builds capacity in communities is a key component of the SWMPF partnership. The diversity of perspectives within the SWMPF enables members to challenge traditional thinking, leading to innovative approaches and, most importantly, better results.   Indeed, the improved social outcomes  the  SWMPF has delivered in just 21 months of implementation is testament to the success of this ground-breaking  collaborative partnership.  

Best Practice in Collaboration Across Government Agencies

WINNER: Department of the Attorney General - Sunday Courts

Since it began operations an estimated 30 people appear before the Sunday Court each week. The Magistrate will finalise matters, remand offenders in custody, in which case they will be taken to metropolitan prisons, or they will be released on bail to appear in court at a later date. Previously, people arrested after Saturday morning, who were precluded from being released on bail by the police, were held in police custody until the Perth Magistrates Court sat on Monday morning. The Department of the Attorney General started planning for the establishment of these courts early in 2014. The Sunday Court commenced its inaugural sitting at the Perth Police Centre, Northbridge, on Sunday, 6 July 2014. This new, significant community benefit was introduced within six months, primarily as a result of comprehensive and effective consultation with key stakeholders. As with any genuine innovation this program was designed to address two issues; Develop an accessible and efficient justice system where people who are charged with offences over the weekend, and have been refused bail by police, will appear in court on the weekend; Reduce the amount of time police officers spend monitoring people in custody, enabling police to return to other priorities.

SPECIAL COMMENDATION: Department of Water - River Health Assessments

Organisation Demonstrating Best Practice (2 Awards)
Excellence in demonstration and delivery of programs, policies and approaches in public values in corporate citizenry, social responsibility and welfare of staff are the two foci of these two awards. Organisations must demonstrate ongoing delivery and commitment in these areas.

Best Practice in Corporate Social Values

WINNER: Department for Child Protection and Family Support - White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support was recently awarded White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation, which is national recognition of workplaces that take active steps to prevent and respond to family and domestic violence. The Department is the lead coordinating agency responsible for addressing family and domestic violence strategic planning in Western Australia. It has a key role in providing appropriate responses to those experiencing family and domestic violence, including Department employees. Achieving White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation involved providing evidence that the Department meets the criteria of a White Ribbon Workplace by supporting staff who experience violence; promoting the understanding that violence against women is unacceptable; and facilitating activities designed to raise awareness about men’s violence against women. The Department will continue to keep human resource policies and procedures, communication and training refreshed and reinforced across the workforce to ensure sustainable change and foster a culture of zero tolerance of violence against women. The Department is the first government agency in Western Australia to achieve White Ribbon Accreditation. The Department is a leader in this space, and encourages other government agencies to contribute to a national cultural change of preventing and responding to violence against women.

Department of Health Award Best Practice in Health and Wellbeing

WINNER: Department of Fire and Emergency Services - The Peer Support Program- Prepare to Care

Mental health issues are prevalent in the emergency services sector, with increases of mental health problems being recorded. To address this alarming rise, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services developed the ‘Peer Support Program – Prepare to Care’ program to support its 32,000 DFES personnel, volunteers and families. The foundation of the program is to train emergency services personnel and volunteers to support their colleagues. The program is closely linked to the philosophy of a ‘mate helping a mate’ and is available throughout all metropolitan, regional and remote areas of Western Australia’s 2.56 million square kilometres. The face to face support allows those in need to call upon someone they know and trust to gain support. The program commenced in June 2015 and has employed 100 Peer Support Officers who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to assist those in need. In nine months over 450 employees, volunteers and their families have sought assistance from the Peer Support Officers. This program will be closely monitored and will undergo an external review in its third year, ensuring its delivery and the model is relevant to the needs of our staff, volunteers and their families.*All above text supplied by nominator in Award submission.

For more photos from the 2016 Achievement Awards, please click here.