Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Premier's Excellence Awards

The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (14:44): My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector. Will the minister update the council on the Premier's Excellence Awards for the public sector in the category of 'Living the South Australian public sector purpose'?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:45): I thank the honourable member for her question and her interest in this area. It has been a great pleasure a couple of times to update the chamber about the outstanding work many members of the public sector have done, and as I have said in relation to many of the efforts of the public sector, particularly focused in recent times during the COVID-19 crisis, bushfires and the recent flooding events.

Alas, this is the last award I will be able to update the chamber on this year, but I can assure the chamber that I will update the chamber next year after the excellence in the public sector awards to again pay tribute to some of our fine members of the public sector. With this award, I am very pleased to update the chamber on the finalists and winners in the category 'Making a difference: living the SA public sector purpose'. This category recognises an individual or team who have exemplified the public sector purpose through their role and service to the community and by actions they have taken to make a positive difference in the lives of South Australians.

The category intends to recognise public sector workers who have determination, challenge the status quo to deliver better results, collaborate with the community to make a difference and develop durable long-term value for the community. I am advised that the finalists in the individual category include Matthew Korcz from PIRSA, a biosecurity officer on Kangaroo Island, who is helping to coordinate the eradication of feral pigs to preserve KI's precious natural environment for future generations, something that I know is very close to the heart of my colleague the Minister for Primary Industries.

There is also Rebecca Hill from the Helen Mayo House Bridge Project, which uses telehealth to support new mothers with mental health conditions and which avoids hospital admissions and keeps mothers with their babies. The last finalist and winner in the individual category was Kathy Stanton from the Department for Education, who taught herself braille so she could create learning resources to assist students who are visually impaired. Those resources have gone on to be used in schools right across the state.

In the group category, finalists include the Centre for Clinical and Experimental Transplantation, from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network. It has completed a revolutionary world-first transplant of cells that moved them a step closer to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. There is the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program from the Department for Environment and Water, a joint initiative with a range of groups to improve the long-term health of one of the state's most important ecological sites.

There is the Music Development Office for See It LIVE from the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science, helping performers, musicians and the hospitality industry get back on their feet following forced lockdowns during COVID-19. In the group area the final finalist and winner was On The Right Track, Department for Infrastructure and Transport, which has improved road safety and driver's licence services to remote Aboriginal communities.

I have regularly come across the crew from On the Right Track, I think most recently a couple of months ago in Ceduna as they were on their way to communities up north across the Maralinga Tjarutja lands and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands. I congratulate all the finalists in the individual and team categories, and I very much look forward to being able to update the chamber next year on some of the outstanding work of our diligent, hardworking members of the public sector.