30 June 2017

The Institute of Public Administration Australia WA (IPAA WA) celebrated individual and organisational excellence at its sixth annual Achievement Awards presentation ceremony on Friday 30th June 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Perth.

The Achievement Awards is the only awards system in Western Australia to recognise both individual and organisational achievements across all three tiers of government, the not-for-profit and tertiary education sectors.

IPAA WA President and Chair of the Awards judging panel Mr Sven Bluemmel hosted the Awards, and in his opening remarks, he welcomed guests including the IPAA WA Vice Patron, the Hon. Dr Mike Nahan MLA, Leader of the Opposition.

A record number of nominations were received this year, breaking last year’s record. Mr Bluemmel commented on how this made judging process more rigorous than ever, and praised the high calibre nature of all the nominations that were received.

The formal part of the afternoon commenced with the presentation of awards for organisational achievement. “It was great to see so many nominations for the two collaboration awards. This has been a trend since the Awards started, and is indicative of the ongoing, successful collaborations between government and non-government agencies across WA. These collaborations are vital in bringing improved services and better outcomes to the WA community”, Mr Bluemmel commented.

“It was also impressive to see many nominations for the Leader of the Year awards. We have some fantastic leaders across the sector, and it is great to recognise some of them here today.”

Following the first group of Achievement Award presentations, a special IPAA National Fellowship was presented by Mr Bluemmel in his capacity as IPAA National Councillor. The National Fellowship was presented to Ms Sharyn O’Neill, Director General of the Department of Education for her distinguished service to the Department of Education in Western Australia over the past 30 years. Mr Bluemmel highlighted the significance of this award, “The Institute of Public Administration Australia Fellow is the highest national award bestowed by the Institute. Those achieving Fellowship status have made significant contributions to public administration and the activities of the Institute. There are a limited number of IPAA Fellow accolades presented per annum and thus it is a prestigious title”.

The remaining awards were presented, following a short break. The Achievement Awards ceremony concluded with the presentation of the IPAA WA Patron’s Award, the highest accolade in public administration in WA. Dr Nahan presented Ms Susan Hunt, CEO of Zoological Parks Authority, with the 2017 IPAA WA Patron’s Award, for her significant contribution to the State and the sector.

Since Susan has been CEO of Perth Zoo, the Zoo has experienced strong growth in commercial revenue and achieved and maintained its highest public approval levels. Susan has been the driving force behind the transformation of the Zoo from a ‘recreation facility’ to that of a wildlife conservation organisation. Under Susan’s direction, significant new conservation programs and partnerships have been launched. In establishing wildlife conservation as one of Perth Zoo’s core objectives, Susan has ensured the relevance of the Zoo into the future. 

The 2017 Achievement Awards featured a variety of winners from across WA – of the 14 awards presented, 13 different organisations were represented. A special mention to the Western Australian Museum who won in both Best Practice in Collaboration categories, and also to Karen Roberts from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, who in an Achievement Awards first, picked up two awards in the individual Award categories. 

Mr Bluemmel concluded proceedings for another year, “I would like to congratulate all those who were shortlisted, and especially to the winners who demonstrated outstanding achievement across their organisations and various projects. I encourage you to nominate suitable individuals and organisations for the 2018 Achievement Awards.”

The Achievement Awards offer fifteen categories of awards, ten open to individuals and five best practice awards for organisations. 

Congratulations to the following 2017 Achievement Award winners:


IPAA WA Patrons Award
Susan Hunt PSM
Zoological Parks Authority

Murdoch University Award
Leader of the Year State or Federal Government
David Etherton

Hyatt Regency Perth Award
Leader of the Year Not-for-Profit Sector
Angie Paskevicius

Leader of the Year Working within a Division / Team / Organisation
Karen Roberts
Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Young Leader of the Year Award
Luke Gibson
City of Gosnells

Human Resource Management Practitioner of the Year 
Karen Roberts
Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Information Technology Practitioner of the Year
Christian Thompson
Department of Transport

Department of Fisheries Award
Policy Practitioner of the Year
Sandra Eckert
Department of Lands

Department of Finance Award
Finance Practitioner of the Year
Philippa Beamish-Burton
Department for Child Protection and Family Support


Business News Award
Innovation in the Not-for-Profit Sector
The Royal Life Saving Society WA
Multicultural Swimming and Water Safety Strategy

Award for Best Practice in Collaboration Between Government and Non-Government Organisations (Two Winners in 2017)

City of Cockburn; Curtin University
Cockburn Health & Community

Western Australian Museum
Yurlmun: Mokare Mia Boodja

Award for Best Practice in Collaboration Across Government Agencies
Western Australian Museum
Dirk Hartog 1616 Project

Department of Health Award
Best Practice in Health and Wellbeing
Department of Mines and Petroleum
Working on Wellness Program

For more information on the award winners please click here.