26 September 2023

Public Servants honoured on King’s Birthday

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Members of Australian Public Services in all States and Territories of the nation were recognised for their commitment and abilities on King Charles’ Birthday Honours List for 2023.

The King’s recognition for members of the ACT Public Service were presented in accordance with the Order of Australia and announced on His Majesty’s behalf by his Excellency the Governor-General, General David Hurley.

“Learning about the wide-ranging service of recipients, which spans almost every field of endeavour imaginable, is uplifting and makes me enormously optimistic for our country. Collectively they speak to who we are now and who we can be in the future,” the Governor-General said.

“Notably, for the first time since the Order of Australia was established in 1975, the majority of recipients in the General Division are women. Similarly, there is gender parity or better at the three highest levels in the Order,” he said.

Current and past members of the ACT public service honoured on the occasion, including the recipients of the Public Service Medal this year, were:



ACT Health

For outstanding public service to public health, as the Liaison Officer for the ACT COVID-19 Clinic Health Emergency Centre.

Ms Antoniou is the Liaison Officer for the ACT’s COVID-19 Clinic Health Emergency Centre (CHECC), a role which requires her to liaise between the CHECC and the ACT’s public health facilities in relation to the pandemic response.

Additionally, she is the central point of contact for all ACT academic institutions who have health care students on ACT placements, in relation to matters pertaining to the ACT’s COVID-19 response.

As the single point of COVID-19 contact for the ACT health facilities and academic institutions, Ms Antoniou was able to provide up to date advice, informed by public health, infection prevention and control, and infectious diseases.

Ms Antoniou also provided critical coordination of emergency relief staff to aged care facilities when they were impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks and severe staff shortages. She provided timely and accurate information on relief staff availability to outbreak management teams.

Ms Antoniou demonstrated exceptional commitment to the COVID-19 response, which allowed ACT health facilities and academic institutions to feel supported, and to protect their patients, staff and the community.

She was integral in guiding the COVID-19 response by providing timely and up to date advice.

Vanessa Lee HOBAN PSM

Canberra Health Services

For outstanding public service to public health in the ACT’s clinical response to COVID-19.

Mrs Hoban is a Clinical Nurse Consultant at Canberra Health Services. Normally she manages one of Canberra Health Services general medical wards but when the COVID-19 pandemic started to affect Canberrans, she was the first to put her hand up to take a lead role in the clinical response.

Her ward was then converted into a COVID-19 positive ward, where patients with significant disease were managed.

Mrs Hoban established and managed this ward, dedicating her time and effort to her patients as well as her team. Her ability to reassure staff and patients during the early days of the pandemic was remarkable.

There were many unknowns, and the requirements for impeccable use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent transmitting or catching the virus was intense. Mrs Hoban used humour, role modelling and a calm, pragmatic approach with both staff and patients.

Her dedication to her team’s wellbeing resulted in a safe and rewarding environment. Her attention to patient care meant that, where possible, the needs and wishes of patients were met.

Mrs Hoban epitomised the true nursing spirit. Her professionalism and commitment to exceptional service has had a long-lasting impact on those she cared for, but also for the staff she managed and the stakeholders she interacted with.

Mrs Hoban ensured that the on-boarding, processes, feedback, and training for staff was at such a high level that the risks of transmission were well managed and controlled.


Office of the ACT Government Solicitor

For outstanding public service in developing improved workplace arrangements within the Office of the ACT Government Solicitor.

As the General Manager of the Office of the ACT Government Solicitor, Mrs Junakovic has used her abilities in strategy, budget outcome, accountability, and relationship management to help manage operations and to implement new working structures to help the office to continue to meet client demands for legal services in a timely and professional manner.

She has implemented a practice group structure with enhanced oversight arrangements to help the office allocate and distribute work efficiently and meet the demand for legal services.

Mrs Junakovic has worked to expand the outposted solicitor arrangement to enable directorates and agencies to connect to legal experts for specific complex legal requirements.

This arrangement has allowed the Office to meet its clients’ needs while providing the outposted solicitor the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skill set, enhancing the capability of the organisation.

Mrs Junakovic has also been responsible for negotiating and implementing Enterprise Agreements for the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, in diverse workforces such as ACT Fire and Rescue, the ACT Ambulance Service, Correctional Officers, and the Legal Professionals.

These negotiations have improved the operational responsiveness of these agencies and were conducted alongside her ordinary responsibilities in strategic human resources.

Mrs Junakovic has made significant contributions to the ACT Public Service by providing strong leadership and sharing her extensive knowledge to improve operations in workplaces.

Daniel James LALOR PSM

Canberra Health Services

For outstanding public service to public health as the Director of Pharmacy at Canberra Health Services.

Mr Lalor is the Director of Pharmacy at Canberra Health Services and has been instrumental in supporting the clinical COVID-19 response, through his responsiveness, innovation, direct clinical support, and in ensuring the clinical safety of the storage, use and prescribing of all COVID-19 medications.

Mr Lalor was instrumental in supporting the ACT’s COVID-19 response. He oversaw the implementation of the storage, tracking, monitoring and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, including cold chain management and the use of ultra-low freezer technology for the first time in the ACT.

Mr Lalor worked tirelessly behind the scenes to assist in the holistic, clinical response to COVID-19.

He rapidly developed a skilled workforce comprising of existing skilled pharmacists and nurses, in addition to implementing new classifications of workers of which regulatory changes were required that Mr Lalor contributed to.

Mr Lalor provided timely and proactive advice to clinicians with regards to the use of medicines to treat patients with COVID-19, including in the early days of the pandemic when an evidence base was lacking.

He oversaw the stock management, storage and distribution of National Stockpile Medicines for the whole of ACT, and ensured constant pharmacy advice and medicine provision.

The ACT pandemic outcomes which include being the fastest, most vaccinated city in the world, low hospitalisation rates and low death rates, are in part attributable to Mr Lalor’s commitment, expertise and willingness to lead from the front as the Director of Pharmacy.

Margaret Anne McMANUS PSM

Canberra Health Services

For outstanding public service to public health as the nursing lead for the ACT COVID@Home program.

Ms McManus was the nursing lead for the ACT COVID@Home program. This program was developed quickly to support Canberrans with COVID-19 to receive care at home to monitor disease progression, particularly for those at high risk of severe disease, provide anti-virals, information and rapid escalation in care when required.

In this role she recruited, trained and managed the nursing and General Practitioner team.

She developed the necessary protocols and procedures for the program, working closely with a range of stakeholders to develop the telephone systems, data reporting, home monitoring equipment distribution, and care pathways.

Ms McManus often had to work against the odds of uncertainty, surges in demand, technology challenges, anxiety and fear in the community.

Despite this, she was always professional, gentle and tenacious in her work and her passion and commitment to assisting members of the community was extraordinary.

She went above and beyond for patients and ensured parents of young children had access to medicine and food, and insisted families from culturally diverse backgrounds had access to information they could understand.

As the evolving treatments became available for COVID-19, Ms McManus ensured nurses were appropriately trained to deliver the treatments and liaised with a range of stakeholders to ensure rapid access for patients.

This often involved logistical challenges of transporting COVID-19 positive patients to treatment areas.

The COVID@Home program continues today under Ms McManus’ leadership and is being transitioned to a permanent virtual care service in the ACT.

As a result of Ms McManus’ leadership, the ACT provided patient-centric, safe, and effective outcomes to the community.


ACT Education Directorate

For outstanding public service in leading the ACT Education Directorate’s transitions to remote learning and back to face-to-face learning.

Mr Matthews led the ACT Education Directorate response to the COVID-19 pandemic which included the transition to remote learning in ACT schools and subsequent transitions back to face-to-face- learning.

He also led the establishment of nine ‘Safe and Supervised School Sites’, where schools remained open for those who needed to attend, such as children of essential workers, vulnerable children and those with additional needs.

He was instrumental in returning students to on-campus learning in term two 2020 and for leading the development of the Education Directorate’s ‘roadmap’ for public schools.

This ‘roadmap’ provided guidance for members of the school community as broader easing of restrictions were introduced into the ACT.

This period also saw him review and reflect on the 2020 response and develop a rigorous program of work to prepare the Directorate for future lockdowns and remote learning.

He established a dedicated COVID-19 response team, and under his leadership, the team was able to design a framework for further lockdowns based on the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS).

Following the lockdown announcement in August 2021, this framework was implemented with the Directorate moving into emergency response.

The nationally recognised system allowed the Education Directorate to clearly communicate and integrate with the broader emergency services response.

Mr Matthews’ achievements were pivotal in ensuring that the ACT education system was able to support young people, teachers and the community through the response to COVID-19.

His leadership and ability to bring others through an unprecedented period of crisis showed his resilience, foresight, and personal commitment to generating the best possible outcome for his community and the students of the ACT.

Stacey Narelle MATTHEWS PSM

Office of the Coordinator-General

For outstanding public service in supporting the ACT’s Whole of Government COVID-19 response.

As Executive Branch Manager, Office of the Coordinator-General, Whole of Government COVID-19 (Non-Health) Response and Commonwealth State Relations, Ms Stacey Matthews has responsibility for supporting and briefing the ACT Chief Minister and the ACT Government Head of Service under the National Cabinet and First Secretaries Group (FSG).

Since March 2020, there has been 75 National Cabinet meetings and 75 FSG meetings, and Ms Matthews has supported the ACT Government in preparing for these meetings, ensuring a whole of government lens is provided to the briefings and recommendations.

Ms Matthews understands the value of building a strong team. She is a strong leader who is very action oriented.

Her work over the three years of the pandemic has required her to lead a team, working under significant pressure, with energy and enthusiasm, providing positive motivation to the team.

Ms Matthews is a strong, professional public servant. She is responsive, able to set priorities and flexible enough to deal with urgent issues as they arise.

Ms Matthews has demonstrated her strength in collaboration over the COVID-19 pandemic response. Her relationship with the ACT Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services was integral to achieving strong results for ACT Government’s COVID-19 response.

She was also required to build strong working relationships with the broader ACT Public Service and with external stakeholders.

Ms Matthews has developed trusting and respectful relationships throughout the ACT Public Service and with the Commonwealth, which led to positive outcomes for the ACT community and the ACT Public Service.

Melissa Kate O’BRIEN PSM

Canberra Health Services

For outstanding public service to public health through leadership and practical assistance to the ACT’s COVID-19 response.

Mrs O’Brien is a senior nursing leader at Canberra Health Services.

During the COVID-19 response, she was responsible for the nursing teams which established the public testing response, vaccination clinics, and Walk-In Centres. She was instrumental in the establishment of the drive-through testing centre at Exhibition Park in Canberra.

Her can-do attitude assisted in the establishment of the testing centre undertaking its first test within 48 hours from inception.

Her role in this required a significant level of leadership and coordination between multiple teams and agencies.

Mrs O’Brien was one of the first nurses called upon when Canberra Health Services was asked, after-hours, to stand up a team to take over the management of a large residential aged care facility due to a major COVID-19 outbreak.

Mrs O’Brien responded with speed, professionalism, and an absolute commitment to ensure a person centred, safe approach.

Mrs O’Brien was critical to Canberra Health Services efforts to implement changes to nurse-led Walk-In Clinics to continue to provide prompt, urgent primary care to the community.

She helped establish the COVID-19 specific Walk-In Centre which provided prompt, safe and easy access for people with COVID-19 who had other health issues needing face-to-face care.

This not only provided a service to the community but took pressure off Emergency Departments.

Joshua Leonard RYNEHART PSM

Access Canberra

For outstanding public service in leading Access Canberra’s COVID-19 response.

As Executive Branch Manager for Planning and Strategy within Access Canberra, Mr Rynehart was tasked with forecasting future impacts and changes, including impacts of Public Health Directions, on the operating environment of Access Canberra.

His role was to ensure the organisation was able to rapidly implement, create and modify its operating arrangements to meet the quickly evolving pandemic situation and the government’s public health measures.

The extent and pace of change along with the requirement for risk-based decisions, rapid innovation, service delivery changes and effective regulatory compliance was unprecedented for both Access Canberra and the ACT Government.

He directly contributed to the success of Access Canberra during this remarkable period, and also ensured that the needs of the ACT Government and the community were being fully met at all times.

He operated selflessly and with the utmost dedication and integrity.

Mr Rynehart’s contributions to Access Canberra in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic situation and supporting whole-of-government decisions and priorities were outstanding.

His individual leadership was instrumental to the success of Access Canberra, and played a direct contributing role to the ACT Government’s COVID response and success.


ACT Audit Office

For outstanding public service to finance, and in strengthening accountability and transparency throughout the ACT Public Service.

Mr Sharma is currently Assistant Auditor-General, Financial Audit. In this role he provides expert technical advice to Treasury and across the ACT Public Service on accounting policies.

He is recognised for his work on the improvement of accountability and transparency. He provides leadership and guidance to the ACT Auditor-General and ACT Public Service to resolve complex, sensitive, and contentious accounting and auditing issues.

Mr Sharma has also provided signification contributions to policy, most notably on the interpretation of financial statements during his time in the ACT Audit Office.

Mr Sharma has built strong, productive relationships with ACT Government Public Servants, and members of the Legislative Assembly.

He finds and presents solutions both within the ACT Audit Office and when working with ACT Government agencies.

He has a willingness to work with stakeholders to make sure financial statements are understandable and useful to all readers and not just compliant with requirements.

He is known for going out of his way to encourage and support staff across the ACT Audit Office.

He has exceptional communication and people management skills and excels at creating an environment where team members are valued, respected, and encouraged to meet their full potential.

He fosters staff development and invests time in sharing his expert technical knowledge and extensive public sector audit experience with members of his team.


Access Canberra

For outstanding public service in leading Access Canberra’s COVID-19 response.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Executive Branch Manager, COVID-19 Response, Compliance and Communications, Ms Springett led, and was instrumental in, ensuring effective service delivery and engagement with key stakeholders and the community, and for coordinating and modifying COVID-19 compliance activities in conjunction with other ACT Government partners.

She played a leadership role in ensuring Access Canberra could maintain effective service delivery while also upholding its regulatory protection functions, despite significant external impacts and pressures.

Her role directly contributed to the leadership and direction of Access Canberra to ensure the workforce remained engaged, the community understood service changes and compliance activities, reporting and governance were sound, and that they were successful in coordination across government and with key partners.

She oversaw rapid innovations and changes in service delivery methods, regulatory compliance approaches, and engagement with key stakeholders and the community.

Ms Springett has displayed the highest levels of leadership over the pandemic in her role as an Executive Branch Manager and has directly contributed to the success of Access Canberra during this period.

She ensured that the needs of the ACT Government and the community were being fully met at all times. She operated selflessly and with dedication and integrity.

Howard Douglas WREN ASM PSM

ACT Ambulance Service

For outstanding public service to public health and leading the ACT Ambulance Service through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Wren is the Chief Officer of the ACT Ambulance Service. He is a highly respected member of the ACT Emergency Services Agency Executive Team and highly regarded by his workforce.

Mr Wren displays a consistent high level of leadership and dedication to the service and his peers.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Mr Wren provided a level-headed way of thinking and flexibility to maintain his workforce whilst also contributing to the ACT Government COVID Response.

Mr Wren has been a key leader within the ACT Emergency Services Agency for all elements of the Agency’s support to the ACT community in relation to the whole of government COVID-19 response.

Through his direct actions, the ACT Ambulance Service was able to sustain business-as-usual operations and maintain emergency response times, maintain the health and wellbeing of the workforce, provide strategic input into the broader Government response to the pandemic, and ensure staff were informed and engaged by being a key information conduit during the pandemic.

During the 2021 ACT lockdown, Mr Wren worked alongside his peers within the ACT Health Emergency Control Centre, as well as alongside other ACT Emergency Services Agency Senior Officers, to provide planning and outbreak control support to Public Health officials.

Mr Wren worked to ensure that the ACT response arrangements were as effective as possible, all whilst prioritising the health, safety, and wellbeing of frontline paramedics.

Because of Mr Wren’s unwavering, professional and compassionate leadership, combined with his dedication to keeping the community safe and making sure that his staff were well supported, the ACT Ambulance Service continues to be one of the best performing Ambulance Services in Australia.

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