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Winners of the 2015 Institute of Public Administration Australia WA (IPAA WA) Achievement Awards were announced at a special Awards luncheon held on Friday 26th June 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Perth.

The Achievement Awards offer seven categories for entry, with a total of fifteen awards. Ten open to individuals and five best practice awards for organisations.

Click here to download the 2015 Achievement Awards Shortlisted Nominees booklet.

Award Sponsors

Patrons Award

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

WINNER: Cheryl Gwilliam, Director General, Department of the Attorney General

Cheryl Gwilliam was appointed to the position of Director General, Department of the Attorney General in August 2007. Cheryl has extensive experience in senior management in the Western Australian Public Service. Cheryl in her various senior management roles has placed a strong emphasis on public administration and management and in particular ensuring that agencies have in place appropriate governance arrangements and a strong commitment to service delivery that is client focused. Her commitment to the public sector is exemplified as a member of the Advisory Board of Chief Executive Officers for the Centre for Public Sector Excellence. Cheryl has a passion for developing initiatives for to build a flexible, responsive and diverse public sector. As the Director General of the Department of the Attorney General, She has been instrumental in developing targets for Aboriginal employment, employment of people with disabilities and young people though the traineeships.

Judges comments:
“Ms Gwilliam has made an outstanding contribution to the public sector in WA, leaving a positive legacy for the future generations. Her extensive experience in senior management positions throughout the public sector has enabled Cheryl to make significant contributions in the areas of management, employment, public sector efficiency, public administration, and organisational development and governance.”

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: Wayne Gregson, Commissioner, Department of Fire and Emergency Services


Mr Gregson has been nominated because of the individual excellence he has displayed in leading the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) in cultural and organisational reform. It is not an exaggeration to state that he has transformed the organisation that existed on 17 August 2011 when the report of the Perth Hills Bushfire Review (the Bushfire Review) was tabled in Parliament. Mr Gregson’s tenure at DFES has been characterised by his ability to garner support for his vision, secure critical mass for change and drive the execution of planned strategies. People are inspired to follow him. There is no sign within the DFES workforce of the ‘air of animosity’ that often exists when change agents go about reform. There is a strong argument that this is evidence not only to the skill that has been applied by Mr Gregson but also of his innate ability to gain followers.

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

WINNER: Dale Stewart, CEO, Shire of Denmark

Dale Stewart has worked in Local Government in Western Australia for over 27 years and for the past seven years he has held the position of CEO at the Shire of Denmark. During this time he has introduced the Shire to an incredible number of new initiatives and processes in areas such as financial management, workforce structure and retention, strategic planning, project management and systemic processes and procedures. He excels at achieving the seemingly un-achievable and has a strong focus on transparency and fairness both in and out of the organisation. He has a natural eye for detail and strives for excellence. Dale is well known and respected by the Council, the Community, his employees and his professional colleagues.

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

WINNER: Craig Comrie, CEO, Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia

After being appointed as the CEO of the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA) in 2010, at the age of twenty-six Craig has led a significant growth in the organisation size and influence through the building of strong relationships across the non-government and government sectors. He has focused on utilising these relationships to advocate for proactive engagement with and inclusion of young people in public policy decision making at all levels of government. Craig has participated in key government advisory groups including the review of the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Act, the Youth Unemployment Steering Committee and most recently has been invited to lead the non-government sector’s participation in the delivery of major reforms in the Aboriginal Youth Expenditure environment.

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

WINNER: Roger Johnston, CEO, Pilbara Ports Authority

Roger Johnston is the Chief Executive Officer of Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA). Mr Johnston, as former CEO of Port Hedland Port Authority (PHPA), oversaw PHPA’s transformation to the world’s largest bulk export port, and led the successful amalgamation of PHPA with Dampier Port Authority as part of the State Government’s Port Reforms agenda. Mr Johnston has delivered outstanding results, including significant contributions to State Revenue and strong operational performance before, during and after the amalgamation process. Mr Johnston’s contribution to the success of PHPA, and subsequently PPA, has been the result of his resilient leadership, and his empathetic and tireless coaching and mentoring of a team of high-performing and talented individuals. His implementation of robust policies and practices during his tenure has contributed to a port authority of not only national and international economic significance, but an organisation where core values of Respect, Excellence, Courage, Integrity and Care are the underlying foundation of a successful and thriving organisation.

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: Alyssa Serafim, Senior Investment Advisor, Department of Transport

Over the last two years, Alyssa has demonstrated excellence in public administration and management in her role as Senior Investment Advisor at the Department of Transport. She has proactively and enthusiastically promoted best practice investment planning processes to improve decision making across the transport portfolio in order to deliver the best transport outcomes for the Western Australian community. During 2014, Alyssa was seconded to Main Roads Western Australia to project manage the delivery of the business case for the $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link project, which was the basis for securing the Commonwealth and State funding.

Over the past 2 years, Alyssa has assisted in developing more than 20 business cases for transport assets such as coastal infrastructure (boat pens), the proposed light rail system, heavy rail (Forrestfield Airport Rail Link), roads (Northlink and Perth Freight Link) as well as ports. Recently, Alyssa developed the Transport Portfolio’s Investment Decision Framework. This framework documents the new structured approach to the development of major transport investment proposals progressing from a concept in a strategic plan to a well-developed business case seeking a Government investment decision and finally gaining approval to proceed to tender as the formal funding decision.

(Pictured: Camilla Galbraith, Acting Director Investment Coordination – Department of Transport receiving award on behalf of Alyssa Serafim)

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.

Human Resource Management Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Cliff Gillam, Department of Education

Cliff Gillam is a valuable member of the Department of Education’s Corporate Executive and senior leadership team who has led the Workforce area since August 2009. Some of the most significant reforms in public schooling in decades have been introduced over the past five years, all of which have impacted on the Department’s workforce in some way. Mr Gillam has strategically and methodically integrated human resource functions into the reform agenda. Under his leadership, a highly centralised system that assumed responsibility for the career management of teachers and school leaders has been transformed to one of providing support and consultancy to a devolved system of autonomous schools and distributed leadership.

Information Technology Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: David Dans, Landgate

Whilst undertaking the Director of Information Management role since June 2013, David has been an outstanding leader both within Landgate and across the public sector. David has led the development, education and implementation of Landgate in regards to the new IT strategy that will provide more flexible, effective, secure and scalable customer focused IT solutions. The IT strategy is imperative to Landgate’s comprehensive business transformation program, as it will enable the business to undertake a significant rebuild of its information systems. David has also led a number of key initiatives and has underpinned the delivery of many successful projects, which will lead to savings of in excess of $1.5m over the next two years for Landgate.

Department of Fisheries Award Policy Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Tania Loosley-Smith, Housing Authority

As General Manager of Strategy and Policy at the Housing Authority, Tania was the architect of a nation-leading Affordable Housing Strategy. The strategy was the first in Australia to tackle national problems of declining housing affordability and increasing and unmet demand for social housing. These problems were acute in Western Australia where record population growth and economic activity have dramatically affected land and housing affordability. The Strategy developed by Tania has a unique whole-of-government approach to increase housing supply, with a minimum target of 20,000 additional affordable opportunities by 2020. Under Tania’s leadership, the Affordable Housing Strategy has so far delivered more than 18,500 affordable housing opportunities for Western Australians. Not afraid to push both the Government and the Authority beyond its current and historic limits, Tania’s unwavering commitment to produce better outcomes for those most in need in the community sees Tania consistently engaging in robust but considered debate to find the best outcomes.

Department of Finance Award Finance Practitioner of the Year

WINNER: Graeme Doyle, Department of Transport

Graeme Doyle has been the Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Transport (DoT) since 2011 and is responsible for the $200million per annum finance and budgeting functions of the Department. Graeme provides financial direction for transport and investment planning across the portfolio agencies – DoT, Main Roads Western Australia and the Public Transport Authority.  During 2014 Graeme was very instrumental in the development of the new Budget Management System ‘Hyperion Planning Budgeting System (HPBS)’. The system replaced the ‘spread-sheet’ system to track approved budget changes and budget allocations to Divisions and Business Units. HPBS improved DOT’s budget management system and enhanced forward planning through the provision of complete, accurate and timely information.

As the Executive Director of Investment & Finance Coordination Graeme Doyle has been a member of the Ports Public Private Partnerships (Esperance Multiuser Iron Ore Project) Steering Committee. During 2014, Graeme worked closely with the Executive Director Ports and Maritime to enable a strategic approach to port funding and development to support an increased focus on commercial port operations and thereby deliver the maximum benefits to Western Australians.

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: Brightwater Care Group – Culture, Communication & Relationships at Work

Brightwater Care Group in partnership with Juniper and Fortis Consulting applied for and were successful in receiving a WA Premier’s Social Innovation Grant, administered through the Department of Communities.

This grant enabled the development of a ‘Culture, Communication and Relationships at Work’ program, aimed at supporting the increasingly culturally diverse workforce in the community sector. It provides free program materials for organisations to assist in improving relationships between a culturally diverse staff group by reducing communication barriers, improving relationship-building skills and enhancing supervisor skills. The program was developed following an extensive literature review and the conducting of focus groups and surveys to determine the training needs.

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

WINNER: Department of Housing & The Royal Life Saving Society – WA Inc – Remote Community Focused Swimming Pool Program

Housing on behalf of the State Government is involved in the delivery of community related projects across the state. Between 1999 and 2009 as part of the ‘Dust Abatement Program’, Housing constructed swimming pool facilities (the Program) in the communities of Yandeyarra, Jigalong, Burringurrah, Bidyadanga, Warmun and the town of Fitzroy. This element of the Program was to address the high-levels of skin and middle ear infections reported in Western Australia’s remote Aboriginal communities which were caused by dust problems.

Royal Life Saving was awarded a commercial contract in 2000 to manage these facilities. Over time, the scope of services has evolved from an initial arrangement for the provision of swimming pool management and maintenance services to a ‘holistic community hub’ centred around the swimming pool facilities.

Best Practice in Collaboration Across Government Agencies in the Same Jurisdiction

WINNER: Department of Sport and Recreation; Department of Transport & City of Cockburn – Your Move – Cockburn

In 2013 the City of Cockburn (CoC) became the first local government to implement the ‘Your Move’ – an innovative physical activity and active transport behaviour change program. ‘Your Move’ represents a successful collaborative project co-managed by the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) and the Department of Transport (DoT).

Through this partnership, and in cooperation with the City, ‘Your Move – Cockburn’ was offered to 34,000 households, 26 local schools and a range of local businesses between July 2013 and June 2014. This community-based project involved highly personalised phone coaching, support, local information, goal setting and ongoing feedback to help change behaviours.

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: Pilbara Ports Authority – Mangrove Rehabilitation Program

Two of the world’s largest bulk export ports at Port Hedland and Dampier provide vital economic gateways to world markets for iron ore and Liquefied Natural Gas. Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) manages these two ports, along with a third at Ashburton. In addition to safe and efficient shipping in its waters and the planning and development responsibility for port lands, PPA is charged with protecting the ports’ environment and minimising the environmental impacts of port operations.

Recognising the importance of the mangroves and the threat to the mangroves forests posed by mining activity in and around the port, PPA committed to a significant three-pronged Mangrove Rehabilitation program in 2010. Managed by a dedicated team of environmental professionals and endorsed by PPA’s Executive, the Mangrove Rehabilitation Program has achieved strong outcomes – for the environment, the community, traditional owners of the Port land, and the PPA team.

Department of Health Award Best Practice in Health and Wellbeing

WINNER: Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate – Healthy Workers Initiative

In 2010 the Department of Health (DoH) initiated a WA Healthy Workers Initiative, funded through the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health. This targets the rising prevalence of adult chronic disease by motivating and supporting workplaces to develop policies, environments and programs that encourage healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation and responsible alcohol consumption.

The Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate (CDPD) is responsible for state-wide policy, strategic planning, investment and partnerships to address both individual and environmental risk factors for chronic disease. The CDPD consulted, designed and coordinated a WA Healthy Workers Initiative though agreements and partnerships across the not-for-profit sector and government. The Initiative’s successes have been the result of best practice approaches, appropriate funding agreements and ongoing partnerships.

*All above text supplied by nominator in Award submission.

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