27 September 2023

Queen honours PS members on Australia Day

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Public Service staff from all States and Territories have been recognised by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth again this year in her Australia Day Honours List, rewarding many for their selflessness and commitment to duty and service for the Australian community.

Her Majesty’s awards for members of the Victorian Public Service were decided under the Order of Australia and announced on the Queen’s behalf by his Excellency the Governor-General, General David Hurley.

Congratulating the recipients of the honours, General Hurley described the recent years as ‘challenging’ and said the presentation of the Australia Day awards provided a reminder of the ‘richness of spirit, selflessness and good’ in the Australian community.

Victorian PS employees honoured by the Queen this year, including those receiving Public Service Medals (PSM), were:


Jennifer Marshall GRAVES AO

La Trobe University

For eminent service to science, particularly through leadership and research in evolutionary genetics, to international and national professional societies, for science education in schools, and as a mentor and role model for women.

Professor Graves has been Distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University since 2011 and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow since 2017.


University of Melbourne

For eminent service to science, particularly evolutionary biology and ecological genetics, through research, mentoring and education, and to professional scientific organisations.

Professor Hoffmann is Chair of Ecological Genetics at the University’s School of BioSciences and Bio21 Institute, Faculty of Science.


Heather Anne DOUGLAS AM

University of Melbourne

For significant service to tertiary law education, and to the community.

Professor Douglas has been a Professor at the University’s Melbourne Law School since 2021 and Visiting Scholar since 2013.


Victoria Police Force

For significant service to the community through emergency response organisations.

Deputy Commissioner Steendam has served in her role since 2018 in Victoria Police Force’s Special Operations and was Deputy Commissioner of Capability from 2015-2018.


Margaret Joan ALLAN PSM

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

For outstanding public service to policy and program delivery in regional Victoria.

Ms Allan has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to advocacy and relationship building during her more than 30-year career at both local and State Government levels in the Loddon Mallee region.

She currently serves as Regional Director, Loddon Mallee at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, actively aligning community with Government objectives and delivering enduring outcomes focused on reconciliation and regional development.

Her ability to translate policy into effective on-ground deliverables across one of the largest and most diverse regions of Victoria has been exceptional.

This includes supporting urban growth and renewable energy, protecting native vegetation and wildlife, and managing water solutions and Crown land.

Ms Allan has made a lasting impact on the Victorian Public Sector through her tireless commitment to supporting emerging leaders, particularly women, by providing advice, guidance and coaching to ensure they are provided with every opportunity to succeed.

Terence George BENNETT PSM

Department of Education and Training

For outstanding public service to education in Victoria.

Mr Bennett has a career of more than 50 years of outstanding leadership and excellence in the Victorian education system as a secondary teacher, assistant principal, executive principal and regional director.

He currently serves as Regional Director, North Eastern Victoria Region.

Mr Bennett has championed the role of education as a means to improve outcomes to the lives of children and young people regardless of background.

Throughout his exemplary career, he has made an indelible impact on the lives of countless students, their families and their communities.

With a strong commitment to making a difference, and with the knowledge that a high-quality education can only be achieved through the teaching staff, he has worked tirelessly to mentor and develop educators for leadership positions in schools.

Mr Bennett has created a positive and lasting legacy in the Victorian education system.


Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

For outstanding public service to community health in Victoria, particularly in the area of gambling harm.

Ms Billi has had a long and distinguished Public Service career and currently serves as Branch Head, Research and Evaluation at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

She is a passionate advocate for the understanding of gambling harm as a public health issue and she has developed and led internationally recognised, innovative research programs.

These include designing Australia’s first longitudinal study of gambling and health.

Ms Billi was the motivating force behind research to define, measure and quantify harm, which included a world first study examining the burden of gambling harm using the World Health Organization’s Burden of Disease methodology.

Her leadership in the field has positioned Victoria as an international leader in gambling harm research and has led to significant opportunities for the State.

This includes hosting three International Think Tanks on Gambling Research Policy and Practice in Melbourne and working with international colleagues on the world’s first set of Lower Risk Gambling Guidelines.

Ms Billi’s innovative work has been replicated nationally and internationally, providing the blueprint for others to develop their own public health approach to reduce the impact of gambling harm to the community.

Colin James DOBSON PSM

Department of Education and Training

For outstanding public service to education in Victoria.

Mr Dobson has demonstrated exemplary leadership as an educator, director and principal in Victoria for over 32 years.

He has been at the forefront of ground-breaking initiatives in education and was instrumental in introducing the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program to schools within Victoria and Australia.

His belief that all students have the right to an outstanding education has been apparent in every setting he has led, including in his current role as the inaugural Principal of the innovative Monash Children’s Hospital School.

Mr Dobson personally took responsibility for recruiting teaching staff, developing policies and curriculum, initiating infrastructure, establishing relationships with local schools and hospital schools internationally, and innovating on a global scale in this important field of education.

The growth and effective operation of the school under Mr Dobson’s stewardship has ensured positive outcomes for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable students and their families.

John Desmond KOEHN PSM

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

For outstanding public service to conservation and freshwater management in Victoria.

Dr Koehn has dedicated over 40 years to the research and management of Australian freshwater fish.

He is currently serving as Principal Research Scientist, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Biodiversity at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Dr Koehn’s innovation in developing robust and sustainable conservation and restoration policy and research programs has been recognised around the world.

He has shifted public and Governmental perceptions on the importance of protecting freshwater environments.

His work has made a significant and lasting contribution at a local, State, national and international level, to ensure populations of important fish species are sustained for future generations to enjoy.

Dr Koehn is renowned for his exceptional leadership and willingness to engage and share knowledge with community groups, the general public, researchers, managers, industry and other Government Agencies.

Dr Koehn is highly collaborative and has been a mentor to a generation of fish ecologists that will benefit communities for decades to come.

Lee Alexander MIEZIS PSM

Environment Protection Authority Victoria

For outstanding public service to policy, regulation and service delivery in Victoria, particularly in the area of environmental sustainability.

Mr Miezis has demonstrated outstanding leadership and a strong commitment to the community throughout his extensive Public Service career.

He has delivered many significant and innovative reforms and programs in areas including risk-based bushfire management, sustainable public land management, environmental protection, regulation and forestry policy.

He is recognised as an exceptional leader who has forged strong and productive partnerships, and is highly valued for his extensive experience, deep knowledge, honest and pragmatic advice and ability to innovate and deliver creative solutions to complex issues.

Mr Miezis has made significant and lasting contributions to Victorian communities by improving operational, social and environmental outcomes, supporting recovery from the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, and empowering actions to create thriving and sustainable regions.


Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

For outstanding public service to strategic policy reform and delivery in Victoria, particularly in the areas of climate change and energy.

Ms Stephen has, for over 38 years, dedicated her career to improving environmental and social outcomes for the community.

She recently retired from serving as Executive Director, Energy Demand, Programs and Safety at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) where she

showed service excellence through her innovative and engaging approach to developing climate change policies and programs.

She has been instrumental in leading a number of complex and politically sensitive projects and taskforces on behalf of DELWP.

This includes the Gas Heater Safety Taskforce, the in-depth review of the Environment Protection Authority, and the Environment Protection Act 1974.

Through her work, Ms Stephen has significantly advanced climate change action in Victoria, putting the State on a path to be able to achieve its emissions reduction targets.

Ms Stephen’s policy interventions will have an enduring impact at a State and national level.

Elizabeth Anne WILLIAMS PSM

Victorian Electoral Commission

For outstanding public service to electoral management in Victoria.

Ms Williams served as Deputy Electoral Commissioner for the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), providing outstanding Public Service to ensure Victoria’s electoral processes are robust and resilient in the face of change and challenge.

In a Public Service career spanning more than three decades, Ms Williams has been pivotal to the successful execution of eight State elections and over 400 local Government and community elections.

Her focus on continuous improvement of election services and her commitment to innovation has seen every aspect of election operations scrutinised and enhanced.

This includes the VEC modernising its approach to the recruitment, training and ongoing development of tens of thousands of essential election staff.

Ms Williams is highly regarded within the Australian and international electoral industry and represented Australia at the Indian general election in 2019.

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