27 September 2023

Australia Day rewards 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.

The awards from His Majesty, King Charles for members of the Victorian 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 significance 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 Victorian Public Service honored this year are:


Claude Charles BERNARD AM
Monash University

For significant service to medical research, and to education.

Professor Bernard has been an Emeritus Professor and Board Member, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), since 2018.

Pamela Mary TATE AM
Supreme Court of Victoria

For significant service to the judiciary, to the law, and to legal education.

Justice Tate has been Chair, Preliminary Evaluation Committee for the Appointment of Senior Counsel since 2021 was a Justice of the Court of the Appeal from 2010 to 2021.

Emilios John KYROU AM
Supreme Court of Victoria

For distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, to professional associations, and to the community.

Justice Kyrou has been a Judge of the Court of Appeal since 2014


Tony Francis LAYH PSM
Corrections Victoria

For outstanding public service to the community, particularly in the area of prison procurement and relations.

Mr Layh has used his vision and leadership over almost ten years at Corrections Victoria leading to a significant increase in self-sufficiency, building capability and reduction in operating costs for the Victorian Government.

He was also instrumental in driving an innovative application of Social procurement policies that resulted in improved post-release employment outcomes.

Mr Layh’s social enterprise, innovation and integrity are core to his achievements.

He has been instrumental in the setup of the iStore, an online platform for Prison Industries that allows users in prisons and the Department of Justice and Community Safety to purchase a greater selection of products.

He has also shown great dedication and passion towards ensuring offenders are provided training in sought-after industries, as well as employment opportunities post- release.

Mr Layh’s initiatives and commitment to prison and prisoner capability have helped to set the standard for better prisoner release outcomes in Victoria.

Janice Beng Li LIM PSM
Department of Justice and Community Safety

For outstanding public service in policy and program delivery, particularly in the areas of family violence, housing, and youth justice.

Ms Lim has led the development of landmark legislation across the areas of family violence, housing, and youth justice for the past 18 years.

Her work has been a major catalyst for the development of a standalone Youth Justice Bill for Victoria, the first of its kind.

Ms Lim also led Information Sharing Schemes to better support the safety and wellbeing of children and reduce the likelihood of family violence. Her work in housing includes the development of the first agreement with Aboriginal Housing Victoria and completing a review of Victoria’s social housing system supporting the prevention of homelessness within the state.

Ms Lim’s commitment to social justice, industry, intelligence and integrity has made an important difference to the lives of Victorians who experience disadvantage or marginalisation.

Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

For outstanding public service through policy and program delivery, particularly within regions and agriculture.

Mr Phemister led the Victorian response to bushfires, mobilising support for affected communities and developing initiatives to support the recovery of regional communities and agricultural industries.

In recent years, he has been at the forefront of implementing the Victorian Government’s response to working with industries affected by COVID-19, developing initiatives that have saved businesses and found people jobs.

His dedication to service excellence and delivering high level strategy and policies has seen the development of the ground-breaking and internationally recognised Latrobe Valley Authority, which is set to increase the economic and social viability of the region.

Mr Phemister’s enduring commitment and practical approach to his work has ensured that regional areas of Victoria are given the appropriate recognition and support needed for future development.

Department of Education and Training

For outstanding public service to leadership and the delivery of improved products and services in the education sector.

Ms Rattigan has demonstrated outstanding commitment to public education in Victoria for more than 20 years.

She has led significant reforms at the State and school levels to improve student outcomes, as well as support the health and wellbeing of principals across the State.

Ms Rattigan leadership of the Integrity Reform Program improved culture and strengthened systems within the Department of Education and Training (DET).

She established the Legal Division within DET, creating a centre of excellence for legal services for Victorian Government schools. In 2019 she developed and led the delivery of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Victorian school principals, to protect and promote the mental and physical health of these leaders.

Ms Rattigan’s influence will have a lasting impact on the way legal services, operational policy and other supports for school leaders are managed in the State education sector.

Jennifer Margaret ROBERTS PSM
Corrections Victoria

For outstanding public service in policy and program delivery, particularly in the areas of justice and corrections.

Ms Roberts has provided more than 35 years of service to the corrections and justice system in Victoria and has been instrumental in some of the most fundamental reforms to the corrections and justice system.

She led the development of the Better Pathways Initiative, which focused on diverting women from prison custody and breaking the cycle of re-offending. Her tenacity saw the implementation of new service delivery and funding arrangements for corrections education and training, which addressed prisoners’ poor literacy and numeracy levels.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Ms Roberts has led a transition to a remote model of operations, ensuring offenders continued to have access to community services and programs.

Her strong principles, combined with her sense of integrity, have had an indelible influence on all those that she encounters and has helped to ensure that Victoria’s communities remain safe.

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

For outstanding public service to the community, particularly in the area of Freedom of Information.

Ms Scholes has actively promoted and delivered greater public access to information for vulnerable communities in Victoria.

Her outstanding contribution to Freedom of Information administration has enabled those who have been in State care to seek their historic Ward of Records. Her leadership on initiatives to support more streamlined and human-centric record processing has given her a reputation as an information access champion.

Ms Scholes recent improvement of the subpoena processing for the Children’s Court has been recognised as the gold standard due to the greater efficiencies now on offer.

Her commitment to quality administration services will continue to improve the experience for those seeking legal records long into the future.

James Clancy WHELAN PSM
Parks Victoria

For outstanding public service to policy and program delivery, particularly in the area of conservation.

Mr Whelan has contributed more than 50 years to conservation with Parks Victoria. He has shown excellence through his commitment to ecological and cultural burning practices, which saw him tour domestically and internationally.

He was instrumental in assuring the proclamation of the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park in June 2002, which was subsequently awarded a Platinum Global Ocean Refuge Award, the highest standard in marine protection management.

As a result of Mr Whelan’s research and tireless advocacy, the Wilsons Promontory National Park received significant funding to develop the Park into a world class sanctuary.

His advocacy for the environment has gained him a reputation as a formidable force, with his contribution set to have an enduring effect on generations to come.

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