Dr Kerry Chant named NSW premier’s Public Servant of the Year

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday November 5, 2020

Kerry Chant and the Premier. (Image: AAP)

Public servants from across New South Wales have been recognised for their “exceptional work” at the 2020 Premier’s Awards ceremony on Wednesday evening.

A mix of individuals and teams were awarded at the virtual event for helping deliver a number of the premier’s key priorities, ranging from digital innovation to tackling long-standing social challenges. While only 10 winners were named — including Transport for NSW twice — more than 200 nominations were submitted for this year’s awards.

Speaking via video, Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated the winners and finalists, and acknowledged the more than 400,000 state public servants who’ve this year faced challenges such as COVID-19 and the bushfires.

“They have continued to support our citizens and ensure vital services continue to be delivered,” she said.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant was also named Public Servant of the Year, after leading the state’s COVID-19 response. Chant is also the longest-serving CHO in the state, having been appointed to the role in 2008.

“Dr Chant is more than deserving of the Public Servant of the Year award for her ongoing efforts in keeping our community safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Berejiklian said.

Read more: Kerry Chant: pandemic policy advisor making a difference

Meanwhile, the Department of Primary Industries’ Isabella Wallington received the Anthea Kerr Award for future public sector leaders. The award is given annually in honour of Kerr, who passed away suddenly at 38 years of age. She was an assistant director general at the Department of Finance and Services, and had an “outstanding career of more than 16 years” in the state public sector.

See the full list of the 2020 Premier’s Award winners below.

The Planning, Industry and Environment cluster’s Aboriginal Housing Office has won the well connected communities and quality local environment category for drought relief and economic stimulus for remote Aboriginal communities.

Two entities have been awarded for putting the customer at the centre: Service NSW, for its disaster recovery response; and NSW Health Pathology, for its new COVID-19 SMS result service.

Transport for NSW has won the strong economy category for the M8 Motorway.

The Department of Communities and Justice has been recognised for tackling longstanding social challenges, for the Circle Sentencing Program, Aboriginal Services Unit.

Transport for NSW‘s Mobile Phone Detection Camera Program has been recognised for excellence in digital innovation, alongside Sydney Local Health District‘s rpavirtual: a new way of caring.

In the recovery and resilience category, the Department of Regional NSW has taken home the prize for its NSW 2020 Bushfire Clean-up Program.

In the high-quality education category, Minerva School has been awarded for its Learning for Life initiative.

Dr Kerry Chant PSM from the Ministry of Health has been named Public Servant of the Year.

Murphy named ACT Australian of the Year

This week Department of Health secretary and former chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy was also recognised for his work during COVID-19, and was named 2021 ACT Australian of the Year.

When accepting the award, Murphy described his time as CMO as the “pinnacle” of his health career, while being at the forefront of Australia’s COVID-19 response was “the most privileged thing I’ve done all my life”.

“It’s important to me because I care about people and care about the health of our nation, I care about particularly vulnerable people who are the people who are tragically affected by this virus,” he said.

“We’ve been able to manage to restart our economy and to be as a nation in a place that I wouldn’t swap being an Australian for any other nation in the world at the moment.”

Other award recipients included Patricia Anderson AO (Senior Australian of the Year), Tara McClelland (Young Australian of the Year), and Timothy Miller (Local Hero).

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