26 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 Western Australian Public Sector 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 Western Australian Public Sector honoured this year are:


Christopher John DAWSON AC APM


For eminent service to public administration through law enforcement roles, to reconciliation, and as the 34th Governor appointed in Western Australia.

The Honourable Chris Dawson has been Governor of Western Australia since July 2022, prior to which he was Commissioner of the Western Australia Police Force from 2017 to 2022.


Michael David LEVITT AM

WA Department of Health

For significant service to medical administration, and to professional associations.

Dr Levitt has been Consultant Medical Director for the Western Australian Country Health Service in the Western Australian Department of Health since 2022. He was

Chief Medical Officer from 2018 to 2021.



WA Police Force

For outstanding public service to improve relations between people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the broader Western Australia Police Force .

Mrs Bartholomeusz demonstrated outstanding service in her dedication to improve relations between Western Australia Police and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural groups, rebuilding trust after critical incidents.

She served with the Western Australia Police Force for over 17 years and has been the champion of significant cultural change during this time and has been instrumental in building strong and respectful relationships with a diverse range of communities, facilitating fair and open communication.

Her respectful engagement with Aboriginal people has served to improve access to and delivery of policing services across the State and has had a positive effect on Western Australia Police.

As Manager of the Aboriginal Affairs Division, Mrs Bartholomeusz worked to advance the mission of the Western Australia Police Force and its Reconciliation Action Plan.

She has been instrumental in providing cultural knowledge and expertise in support of the creation of the Reconciliation Action Plan, the creation and presentation of the Aboriginal Service Medal and the inaugural Aboriginal Employee Network Conference.

She provided expertise in the provision of cultural awareness training at the Western Australia Police Academy. This training imparts specialist knowledge to police involved in major investigations and invigorated its focus on the frontline.

Mrs Bartholomeusz is highly respected by her colleagues and as an avid supporter of Western Australia Police she promoted its mission with confidence and positivity. Her advocacy led to many young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people considering policing as a career.

Rebecca Ann BROWN PSM

Department of the Premier and Cabinet

For outstanding public service through leadership and management in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Brown demonstrated strong leadership in her role as Acting Director General within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and across the WA public sector. She played a significant role in implementing challenging initiatives that supported WA’s COVID-19 pandemic response and ensured an inclusive recovery.

She worked closely with public sector leaders on multiple complex whole of government issues that required rapid resolution for the benefit of the community.

Through working closely with her established networks, Mrs Brown was able to develop solutions to complex and new challenges in a rapidly evolving environment. Throughout her time in the role, she provided frank and fearless advice to the Premier and key stakeholders to inform critical decision-making.

During her tenure she oversaw the development of strategic advice across a wide range of matters for provision to the State Recovery Controller and the Premier in support of their attendance at National Cabinet. This period saw unprecedented challenges being faced by WA, during which time Mrs Brown engaged in the shaping and positioning of key response and recovery measures for the WA Government.

There were times under her leadership that required rapid decision-making, on matters where there was little to no precedent or evidence base. Drawing on specialist expertise, Mrs Brown provided advice to support critical decision-making.

In addition to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs Brown continued to respond to other emergency situations including the Wooroloo bushfire and Tropical Cyclone Seroja.

She provided dedication and leadership to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet during a time of uncertainty and unprecedented challenges and contributed significantly to WA’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Kingsley EATON PSM

Small Business Commissioner

For outstanding public service to Small Business Development, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Eaton has demonstrated outstanding dedication, advocacy and public sector leadership as Small Business Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer to ensure that critical Western Australian Government policy initiatives meet the needs and interests of industry, small business and the wider WA community.

He was the primary representative and advocate for small business and industry interests during the formulation and implementation of key government initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His commitment to advocating for the interests of small business extends far beyond the traditional involvement and requirements of his role at the Small Business Development Corporation.

Mr Eaton supported the refinement of key policies, such as venue check-in requirements and the mandatory vaccination policy for small business employees, providing insights into the operations of small businesses.

Throughout the pandemic, Mr Eaton worked tirelessly with lead agencies to identify and respond to the pressures that COVID-19 public health and social measures put on Western Australian small businesses. His service and efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic have been invaluable.

Christopher James FIELD PSM


For outstanding public service as Ombudsman and President of the International Ombudsman Institute.

As Ombudsman, Mr Field has transformed access to justice, established new functions and created a major own-initiative investigation team, including investigating improved planning for children in care, preventing youth suicide, preventing child drownings and preventing deaths from family and domestic violence.

He is committed to supporting women in leadership, with 75 per cent of Corporate Executive positions held by women, and has created a position to promote the interests of LGBQTIA+ Western Australians and introduced the inaugural position of Assistant Ombudsman, Aboriginal Engagement and Collaboration to lead a new Aboriginal Engagement and Collaboration Team.

Mr Field is respected internationally and is the first Australian to be elected President in the 43-year history of the International Ombudsman Institute.

In his previous roles as Treasurer of the Institute he replaced a four-decade old flat fee structure, with a structure based on capacity to pay, substantially improving fairness and inclusion for Ombudsman institutions from developing democracies. As Second Vice President, Mr Field led a major organisational change that saw regions historically under-represented, including Africa and Asia, receive fairer representation on the Executive of the Institute.

As President, he has led extensive engagement with supra-national bodies, particularly the United Nations.

Mr Field is respected for the highest levels of personal integrity, accountability and responsibility and has operated selflessly in his service to the Parliament and citizens of Western Australia.

Susan Terese KIELY PSM

Department of Health

For outstanding public service through the delivery of the Western Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

As Chief Operating Officer of the Western Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program, Ms Kiely has led a nationally directed, large scale, complex and challenging program that saw more than 95 per cent of the state’s eligible population receive at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

She has been the stabilising force behind operationalising the vaccination program, delivering accessible, appropriate and sufficient vaccination opportunities to reach high levels of coverage in all population groups.

With a long public service career in social and health leadership positions, Ms Kiely demonstrates a passion for effecting positive change and improvement for the benefit of all members of the community.

Her effective collaboration with other agencies has resulted in customised approaches being developed to maximise opportunities.

These partnerships have been significant in ensuring the program was responsive to evolving program objectives including equity in access for Aboriginal people and remote communities, meeting demands of mandated workforces and creating programs to support at-risk and priority populations to be vaccinated.

The effectiveness of the program has resulted in WA’s world-leading vaccination rate.

A major achievement, the high rates of coverage enabled better management of COVID-19 outbreaks in WA and subsequent reduced levels of hospitalisation and admission to intensive care units.

Ms Kiely’s unwavering professionalism and compassion is recognised by her peers and other stakeholders. Her collaborative approach to the vaccination program delivered more than 2.5 million vaccinations and achieved one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 in the world.

Sharyn Anne O’NEILL PSM

Public Sector Commissioner

For outstanding public service through leadership and management in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms O’Neill’s stewardship of the public sector and support to the Premier during the pandemic has fundamentally shaped and driven the Western Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since early 2020, Ms O’Neill has been and continues to be a significant player in the State’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appointed State Recovery Controller, she developed the WA Impact Statement and WA Recovery Plan, providing high-level direction for the State’s priorities, efforts and investment.

She is responsible for overseeing implementation of the State recovery initiatives and monitoring and reporting on recovery activities and works closely with the Premier, Minister for Health, Chief Health Officer, and State Emergency Coordinator, along with other Ministers and agency heads.

In addition to Ms O’Neill’s Recovery Controller service, her leadership as Public Sector Commissioner enabled efficient and effective agency responses to COVID-19 in their workforce, coordinating consistent advice and guidance on matters such as business continuity planning, occupational health and safety risk assessments, and prioritising areas of service delivery in an environment with high staff absences.

Ms O’Neill exemplifies the spirit of public service. With no distinction between the week and the weekend, or the night and the day, she has worked around the clock, with no additional remuneration, to coordinate response and recovery, provide strategic and operational advice to the highest levels of government and industry, and determine direction and solutions that are practical and sound.

Ms O’Neill’s response to this highly challenging pandemic situation has been built on a foundation of collaboration, innovation, and a willingness for people to come together and work together.

She is committed to an approach that will reboot the economy and regroup community into the future and has delivered one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 in the world.


Department of the Premier and Cabinet

For outstanding public service through leadership and management in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Pickrell has demonstrated strong leadership and capabilities in her role as Deputy Director General Intergovernmental Relations and COVID-19 within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and across the Western Australian Government.

She played a significant role in implementing challenging initiatives that supported the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response and ensured an inclusive state recovery.

Ms Pickrell has a deep knowledge and first-hand experience from her involvement in the Victorian government’s pandemic response. She excelled in the delivery of key policy and program responses to support the safety of the WA community from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as supporting business confidence and continuity throughout key industries.

This work has been fundamental to supporting the government’s ability to ensure ongoing business operations, and minimise economic and social impacts over the course of the pandemic.

Under her leadership, Ms Pickrell has driven a number of significant achievements including progressing the WA Safe Transition Plan; developing strategies for the ongoing management of COVID-19; progressing the negotiation and procurement activities for the Centre for National Resilience Perth; and preparing state wide strategic communications materials.

She is a highly strategic and efficient leader who has demonstrated excellence in her approach to policy and program development, strategic communications, relationship building and stakeholder management.

Ms Pickrell has consistently gone above and beyond the course of her usual duties to support the government’s successful COVID-19 response.

Leanne Kaye POTTER PSM

Department of Education

For outstanding public service through commitment to social justice and advocacy for the inclusion of AUSLAN in mainstream education.

Ms Potter is a cherished educator and social justice advocate giving a voice to those who are underrepresented, whether it be women in the workplace, children with low socio-economic backgrounds and notably those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

As an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community, one of her greatest achievements was integrating AUSLAN into mainstream education.

She worked collaboratively with the Department of Education and key stakeholders to ensure deaf children and young people could attend mainstream education with the assistance of an AUSLAN interpreter.

Ms Potter also advocated for the inclusion of the AUSLAN Australian Tertiary Admission Rank course in to the Western Australian Curriculum. As Principal for Shenton College Deaf Education Centre until 2021 she worked with Shenton College’s Principal to be the first school in Western Australia to offer this course.

During her time in deaf education, she developed teachers’ expertise to educate deaf and hard of hearing students, significantly increasing the number of AUSLAN interpreters with qualifications working in schools across the state. She managed the oversight of educational interpreters across Western Australia and established the Access and Equity division at the School of Special Educational Needs (formerly Western Australian Institute for Deaf Education).

Ms Potter is described as a beacon of advocacy for the underprivileged and marginalised. Her genuine engagement with stakeholders has earned her respect from all she has worked with.

Emily Jane ROPER PSM

Department of the Premier and Cabinet

For outstanding public service through leadership and management in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Roper’s stewardship of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet as Director General and formerly Deputy Director General during the pandemic has fundamentally shaped and supported the Western Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She provided high-level advice to the Premier and members of the Emergency Management Team throughout the pandemic, balancing the operations of the Department, and delivering high-level policy outcomes across portfolio areas, and notably relating to pandemic management and keeping the Western Australia community safe.

Her leadership, oversight and key relationships established throughout the pandemic has supported engagement with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the safety of the community throughout Western Australia and support business continuity during the pandemic.

In addition to her COVID-19 related service, Ms Roper has continued to support a number of other key priority projects for the government which are fundamental to the State’s recovery. She has taken a leading role in a number of whole of government strategic and operational matters that are of significance to Western Australia, including maintaining supply chains, considering the impact of skills shortages and delivery disruptions impacting key government projects and programs.

She has gone above and beyond in her service at all times throughout the pandemic. She has strategically led and informed the direction of key policy issues on a range of matters, has excelled while working under pressure in rapidly evolving environments, and has consistently demonstrated excellence in policy and program development on matters directly and indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A well-respected leader, Ms Roper’s outstanding contribution to the government and Western Australia has delivered one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 in the world.


Department of Health

For outstanding public service through leadership and management in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Director General, Department of Health, Dr David Russell-Weisz has demonstrated outstanding leadership during periods of both significant health reform and emergency, and brings a steadfast commitment to the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.

Under his leadership, Western Australia Health reduced the impact of COVID-19 on the health system through its successful vaccination program, and the delivery of highly effective public health advice to the Western Australian Government and the community.

Since 2020, he has guided Western Australia health system’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring continuous quality of care for patients, alongside the progression of significant strategic projects, to now leading the transition to a living with COVID-19′ strategy. His tireless efforts working around the clock were instrumental in coordinating the system wide response to COVID-19 while managing unprecedented demand for general and emergency care. Under his leadership, the Western Australia health system was able to coordinate a complex, cross-agency response to COVID-19, while ensuring the health and wellbeing of all Western Australians remained a priority.

In addition to folding COVID-19 health measures in to business-as-usual for the Western Australia health system, he is overseeing the planning of the new Women and Newborn Health Service Hospital, redevelopment of Joondalup Health Campus, upgrade of the Bunbury Regional Hospital and redevelopment and expansion of the Peel Health Campus.

Dr David Russell-Weisz’s leadership is integral to successful health outcomes during the pandemic and into the future. Under his guidance, and through robust clinical planning and strategy, the Western Australia health system has achieved one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 in the world. With the fundamental principle of maintaining a person-centred approach to delivering care, Dr Russell-Weisz is committed to providing consistent, world-class health care for Western Australians across the vast state.

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