27 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 have been recognised for their commitment and abilities on King Charles’ Birthday Honours List for 2023.

The King’s recognition for members of the South Australian 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,” the Governor-General said.

“Collectively they speak to who we are now and who we can be in the future,” he 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.”

Current and past members of the SA PS honoured on the occasion, including the recipients of the Public Service Medal this year, were:



Department of the Premier and Cabinet

For outstanding public service in emergency management and intergovernmental relations.

Dr Gorvett has held a key role for South Australia in negotiations and responses on several issues of national significance, including early childhood education, health reform, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, counterterrorism, and most importantly intergovernmental relations and emergency management, both from a delivery and a policy reform perspective.

In particular, he has led the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s intergovernmental relations and emergency management section, and the associated interactions with the Commonwealth and other state and territory governments during the most extraordinary times for South Australia such as COVID-19 and severe natural disasters.

Dr Gorvett had significant involvement in the management of COVID-19 over the duration of the Major Emergency Declaration which was in effect for 794 days.

He supported the Premier of South Australia in the coordination of South Australia’s input to National Cabinet and the emergency response to COVID-19, involving interactions and joint responses with and between, the states and the Commonwealth in areas such as movements across borders, quarantine roles, contact tracing arrangements, international travel, and economic and local recovery.

Simultaneously with the COVID-19 response, Dr Gorvett led emergency management and recovery teams in response to the catastrophic and chronic bushfires in 2019/2020, where many areas of South Australia were affected including the burning of almost 50 per cent of Kangaroo Island’s area.

He swiftly formed strong relationships with new Federal government relief agencies, Local Government bodies and many charitable organisations to assist with the recovery effort.

Dr Gorvett has provided outstanding service to South Australia, developing, and delivering solutions to minimise these emergencies’ impact on the community and his leadership has directly supported South Australians during personal hardship.

Dr Christopher William LEASE PSM

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer

For outstanding public service to the people of South Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Dr Lease has spent his entire career focused on improving the lives and particularly the health, of all Australians.

His outstanding service has been demonstrated when he was appointed Deputy Chief Public Health Officer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Lease held the most critical and challenging role over the three-year pandemic period as stakeholder engagement with every sector outside of health including but not limited to government and non-government organisations, the business sector, tourism, the arts, education including universities, sport and recreation, primary industries, energy and mining, transport, building and construction, Parliament, hospitality, local government and correctional services.

A key and deliberate pandemic pillar for South Australia was maintaining public confidence, which was successful due to Dr Lease’s leadership and collaboration.

He led the COVID Management Plan strategy and implementation in South Australia which included rapidly developing online training for businesses and COVID marshals, and setting up a rigorous but streamlined and transparent process.

Dr Lease spent many hundreds of hours providing advice directly to key community stakeholders regarding COVID safe behaviours, timely information on changes to public health and social measures, updates on the pandemic epidemiology, the SA COVID strategy (including when and why it differed from other jurisdictions), vaccines and new treatments as they became available.

Without Dr Lease’s invaluable contribution, South Australia would not have successfully kept schools open, hosted three Adelaide Arts, Fringe and WOMADelaide Festivals, saw the first marathon being run anywhere in the world during the pandemic, hosted international cricket events and kept local and national football competitions operating.

Dr Lease played a vital role in supporting the wide breadth of sectors during the pandemic, ensuring not only positive health outcomes for the community but also social and economic recovery for South Australia.

Dr Neil Frederick MAYCOCK PSM

Royal Adelaide Hospital

For outstanding public service in providing safe and high-quality care for patients in public hospitals.

Dr Neil Maycock was the Director of Anaesthesia at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) for over 19 years.

Throughout this tenure Dr Maycock ensured that patients received high quality care at a time when they are most vulnerable.

He has been a consummate professional throughout his career and advocates for patient care, improving the quality of training for future generations of young doctors, and uses scientific evidence to continuously enhance the medical resources delivered in South Australia.

Dr Maycock’s portfolio became one of the largest public anaesthetic Departments in Australia and supported Departments outside of his jurisdiction including Pain Service, Anaesthetic Outpatient Clinic and the Department of Hyperbaric Medicine.

Always acting in the best interests of the patients, Dr Maycock advocated for safe and high-quality care, extending across patients receiving care in the public hospital system, and health professionals providing care.

This exceptional customer service was recognised by SA Health as Dr Maycock played an integral role as one of the four health professionals involved in the planning and implementation of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), in particular focusing on the clinical template and Models of Patient Care.

Upon completion of the new RAH, the logistical move was a significant challenge for all employees and he led the process to ensure service continuity and patient care was not compromised.

Dr Maycock also supported and mentored generations of trainee anaesthetists through teaching, examination preparation, and in-theatre clinical training, with more than 500 junior doctors passing through the Department under his guidance.

His ability to work across a multidisciplinary group of professionals collaboratively has improved public healthcare in South Australia and he has left a tremendous legacy for the continuing success of the Department of Anaesthesia at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Dr Kathleen Margaret OPHEL-KELLER PSM

Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia

For outstanding public service to the agricultural industry through research and innovative leadership.

Dr Kathy Ophel-Keller has provided service excellence to the public sector for over 25 years at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) in the research division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA).

Dr Ophel-Keller provided oversight of SARDI Aquatic and Livestock Sciences, Crop Sciences and Food Sciences to deliver applied research to grow South Australia’s primary industries of food and wine.

This included leadership of over 320 scientific, technical and support staff working across ten regional research centres in the State. Primary industries and agribusinesses are a major contributor to the prosperity of South Australia, and Dr Ophel-Keller led and developed the SARDI strategic plan to drive future research priorities.

The key research initiatives established by Dr Ophel-Keller have helped to build more resilience to future droughts across the pastoral, low, medium, and high rainfall zones of South Australia, advance the sustainability of the wine industry sector and reduce the impact of soil-borne diseases on the grains, wine and horticulture sectors.

She was part of a team which developed a unique DNA-based soil diagnostic technology, Predicta B. This work has enabled an advanced diagnostic service to measure soil pathogens.

Predicta B is used by growers and consultants throughout Australia to identify soil and stubble-borne disease risks, and better informs crop and variety selection decisions to minimise yield losses.

Dr Ophel-Keller recognised the value of early career scientists in the future of agriculture and strongly advocated for the importance of increasing diversity, particularly mentoring females to advance into senior leadership roles within the agriculture industry.

She initiated and implemented an internship program that has now established a highly sought after pathway for the next generation to learn and develop their skills to build a successful research career in primary industries.

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