27 September 2023

Australia Day celebrates PS excellence

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Public Service members from all States and Territories have been recognised in the Australia Day Honours List this year, honoured with well-earned rewards for their selflessness and commitment to duty and service for the benefit of the Australian community.

His Majesty, King Charles’ awards for members of the Queensland Public Service were decided in accordance with the Order of Australia and announced on His Majesty’s behalf by His Excellency the Governor-General of Australia, General David Hurley.

Congratulating the recipients of all the honours, General Hurley described the significant of the recipients as “quite simply, inspiring”.

“They go above and beyond, are from all over the country, and contribute every day in every way imaginable,” the Governor-General said.

“These are the people who see us through good times and bad. They’re the first to show up and the last to leave,” he said

“It’s important they know how much they are valued.”

Members of the Queensland Public Service honoured this year are:


Donald William BLETCHLY PSM

Transport Network Security and Resilience

For outstanding Public Service to Queensland public transport systems and security.

Mr Bletchly’s commitment to Public Service commenced in March 1974.

Throughout his career, he has represented Queensland Government locally, nationally and internationally in public and private arenas. Mr Bletchly’s roles have seen him providing high level support to respective governments, Directors-General, and senior management.

His knowledge of and contribution to the sector is apparent, with his advice sought from all levels of government and counsel actively sought by peers.

During his work in transport security and counter terrorism with Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Mr Bletchly was a member of the planning arrangements for the G20 held in Brisbane in 2014, and a key member of the transport security planning team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Currently, as Chief, Transport Network Security and Resilience (TNSR), TMR, Mr Bletchly is responsible for providing professional emergency management and transport security advice, leading respective strategy and policy and enabling TMR and associated industry entities to achieve business objectives. His leadership of TNSR ensures the resilience of the transport system – planning for, and responding quickly to, disruptive events, supports and connects Queensland communities. Under his guidance, TMR continues to effectively implement and discharge its responsibilities.

Mr Bletchly’s work throughout his Public Service career has been ultimately to serve the people of Queensland. A passionate advocate, he has led the enhancement of a range of corporate measures and information services, leading to greater public transparency of projects and deliverables, increased accountability, auditing and reporting to the public. He has worked tirelessly to improve public information and situational awareness during times of disaster.


Office of Commonwealth Games

For outstanding Public Service to the development and advancement of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

Mr Kerslake is an Aboriginal man of Palawa heritage and holds a Bachelor of Education from QUT. He entered the Queensland Public Service in 2005.

The programs Mr Kerslake designs and implements consistently partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, NGOs and community members to address the range of social and economic issues that impact First Nations people daily. He constantly analyses the changing government and philanthropic funding opportunities to assist in the development of programs and initiatives to address the disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mainstream Australia.

In his role in the Office of Commonwealth Games, he led the First Nations Business Engagement for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Through his efforts, nearly $15m in contracts were secured by First Nations businesses, creating 1,000 jobs in the 14 months prior to the Games. It was Mr Kerslake’s work that delivered what was described by Robert McRuvie, Head of Procurement for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation, “as one of/if not the best outcomes for reconciliation in this state and through this has established a future legacy that will bring more success for the Indigenous community .”

Mr Kerslake has also established several training programs designed to support the development, sustainability, and growth of First Nations owned and operated businesses – acknowledging the key role they play in employing First Nations people.

He currently leads the Deadly Innovation Strategy, a cornerstone of the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland innovation agenda that sets the framework for engaging with First Nations businesses, innovators and communities focused on self-determination and empowerment.

In this role, Mr Kerslake works with and alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to drive new commercial opportunities and jobs to ensure a focus on economic participation and wealth, particularly in the new and digital economies.


Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

For outstanding Public Service during COVID-19, to the development and protection of Agribusiness in Queensland.

Mr Miller, Executive Director, Agribusiness and Policy, plays a key role in driving policy and programs that connect industries, the community and government to create value for Queensland agribusinesses.

He has been with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries since 2005 and brings 30 years of public sector experience at both the State and Federal level, across a range of economic research and policy development roles.

He has been a Director on the Board of the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority and also served as a Director, Board of Safe Food Production Queensland and the former Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Miller’s efforts were instrumental in ensuring agriculture, forestry, commercial fishing and aquaculture businesses were considered ‘essential agribusinesses’, enabling them to continue to enter Queensland to undertake business. His extensive work with industry and across all levels of government has delivered integral state-wide programs such as the Pacific Labour Scheme/Seasonal Worker Program (PLS/SWP) to support the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 response by addressing critical workforce shortages to ensure continuation of the important agricultural supply chain.

The program worked closely with Queensland Health and other agencies at a state and Federal level, as well as industry, to assist producers with the preparation, harvest and processing of numerous agricultural products. More than 4,800 workers from five countries entered Queensland across 16 local government areas to provide labour to Queensland agribusinesses during the pandemic.

Mr Miller has demonstrated an outstanding level of excellence to his work within the Public Service, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He continues to provide strong leadership and an ability to navigate complex problems.

He is a trusted advisor to industry, working across the supply chain to develop and implement solutions that positively impact the agribusiness sector in Queensland.


Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy

For outstanding Public Service to the development and support of Queensland communities.

Ms O’Connor is currently Director-General, Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy. She is also a committed and proud Government Champion for the Cherbourg Aboriginal Community.

She has worked in both State and Federal government agencies during her 36-year Public Service career, which has been dedicated to improving outcomes across a range of portfolios.

Ms O’Connor’s work has seen the successful delivery of major policy and program reviews and reforms, regional service delivery and sector engagement.

She has approached each role and her responsibilities with a focus on integrity, outcomes for clients and efficient use of taxpayer funds.

Ms O’Connor is a highly respected Public Service leader, who has dedicated her career to helping people in need.

Her achievements are the result of decades of hard work, commitment and a genuine desire to get exceptional outcomes for Queenslanders and the government of the day. Her career has delivered significant public value for Queenslanders and high return on government investment.

Toni Maree POWER PSM


For outstanding Public Service to Queensland state development and infrastructure projects.

Ms Power is Queensland’s first female Coordinator-General (CG), appointed in September 2019 to help drive a new phase of the State’s economic development and growth.

The CG is one of the most senior roles in Government with responsibilities including coordinated project declarations, a complex area which assesses some of the state’s largest infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars in investment funding.

Ms Power’s strong focus on the effective delivery of transformational projects, including Cross River Rail, Inland Rail, CopperString and major water, resources, renewables, agricultural and tourism projects, has created a lasting legacy for Queensland.

Her achievements have also helped send a powerful and motivating message to an upcoming generation of public sector leaders, including female future leaders.

The role of CG was established in 1938 and historically focussed on project regulation. There was scope for the role to evolve under new leadership and in September 2019, leading a team of around 100 in the Office of the Coordinator-General (OCG), she set about building capabilities to ensure the OCG could maximise whole-of-government assistance to transformational projects.

Ms Power inspires her team to think differently about achieving outcomes and the value of early and sincere engagement with project proponents and other stakeholders. Her approach has guided collaborative working relationships, across agencies and with external stakeholders, on some of the state’s largest infrastructure projects.

She has also promoted economic development within Queensland’s State Development Areas, hubs for exciting new projects including green hydrogen and renewable energy, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and new economy minerals processing. She has administered the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017, Australia’s first legislation ensuring regional communities gain economic and employment benefits from nearby resources projects.

Ms Power’s dedication to collaboration and delivering results during a Public Service career of more than 25 years has earned her recognition as an outstanding and effective Public Service leader.

Kenneth Leigh TIMMS PSM

Etheridge Shire Council

For outstanding Public Service to Queensland remote and regional communities.

Mr Timms has had a distinguished career across many decades, dedicated to Public Service and industry roles across a wide and varied landscape in Queensland.

His work has been primarily focused on regional and remote local authorities, but is not limited to those geographic areas. The wealth of knowledge he possesses has been fostered by his journey in life, starting at the grass roots level of Cost Clerk on road projects at a young age and steadily working his way through the ranks, providing leadership and direction along the way to local government and industry alike.

He has bought a structured style of leadership to his position of Chief Executive Officer, Etheridge Shire Council, whilst also promoting opportunities for local communities to grow and broaden their horizons with his experience and knowledge across all layers of local government.

The professionalism that emanates from his office provides confidence and assurance on a local level, resulting in positive outcomes for those who are a part of his team.

He is widely recognised by his peers as someone who has dedicated his professional life to serving regional areas, with a strong commitment to the communities where he works and lives. Mr Timms operates under a very high set of values which he upholds strongly and encourages others to do likewise.

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