NSW Premier’s Awards 2019: top efforts to solve ‘complex and important challenges’

By Stephen Easton

Friday November 8, 2019

Jane Turner, an exercise physiologist at Concord Hospital, with host Adam Spencer.

Five people and nine organisations in the New South Wales public sector have been selected for special recognition in the 2019 Premier’s Awards, from a field of over 200 nominations.

The awards all line up with the Premier’s Priorities, apart from the Anthea Kerr Award, which recognises leadership potential and high achievement. This year it went to Jane Turner, an exercise physiologist from Concord Repatriation General Hospital.

“When I found out that I was nominated for the Anthea Kerr Award in this year’s Premier’s Awards, I was very shocked, but completely honoured and very proud as it is a good sign of the work we have developed here at Concord over the last 10 years,” Turner said. The memorial award comes with “a set of accelerated bespoke development activities” over 12-18 months provided by the Public Service Commission.

“From my perspective, the defining feature of all the winners was the impact they have made in confronting and solving some of our most complex and important challenges and fundamentally making a difference to citizens of NSW,” said acting public service commissioner Scott Johnson.

The commissioner sits on the final judging committee, which recommends the winners to the Premier, with the assistant commissioner and Education secretary Mark Scott.

The Public Service Commission itself also got a gong. The team that produced the superseded 2014-2017 Aboriginal Employment Strategy won an award for contributing to “building a stronger economy” and so did Transport for NSW, for the Revitalising Newcastle project.

A representative from the PSC’s Aboriginal Workforce Development team said:

“We can all play a part in boosting both the number of Aboriginal people in public sector employment and their representation in decision-making roles, and the NSW Public Service Commission recognises there is opportunity for more work to be done.

“The Award will mean greater visibility of the sector’s commitment to Aboriginal employment outcomes into the future. This has been a team effort over a number of years, led by the NSW Public Service Commission but with outcomes achieved through the support of our partners from across the NSW public sector.”

John Dinan, director of regional maintenance at Roads and Maritime Services, received the individual award for helping build a stronger economy.

Mark Trebley, a clinical training officer with NSW Ambulance, won the individual award for providing high-quality education.

A customer service award went to Professor Kate Curtis from Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, who also took out the top honour at this year’s national Nursing and Midwifery Awards.

The award for working to overcome long-standing social challenges was presented to Elizabeth Ervine of the Aboriginal Housing Office.

West Wallsend High School was recognised for providing high-quality education through a project to improve HSC performance, which also received an award from the Department of Education secretary in September.

Shared sporting facilities at Bella Vista Public School, delivered by School Infrastructure NSW, were lauded as a shining effort towards “creating well connected communities” and the judges gave a second award in this category to Sydney Metro for its North West Metro project.

The Ministry of Health received a customer service award for trying to improve the experience of being an emergency patient.

The Work and Development Order Scheme won an award for addressing long-standing social challenges that was shared between Legal Aid NSW, the Department of Communities and Justice and the Department of Customer Service.

“I thank each and every one of you for your professionalism and commitment to delivering the best outcomes for NSW,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

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