IPAA Victoria

2016 Awards Winners


2016 IPAA Victoria Leadership in the Public Sector Awards

IPAA Victoria congratulates all our 2016 Leadership in the Public Sector award winners.

J. A. Aird Memorial Prize in Public Policy

Awarded to: Alwyn Nguyen

This award is named after John Allan Aird, a founding member and former president of IPAA Victoria and State Rivers and Water Supply Commissioner from 1949 to 1957.

Young Public Sector Leader Award

Awarded to: Andrew Read

The Young Public Sector Leader Award recognises the achievements of outstanding public servants under the age of 40, and who have just completed the Executive Master of Public Administration course (EMPA).

The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and IPAA jointly determine the award winners.

Young Indigenous Leader Scholarship

Awarded to: Travis Lovett

This award acknowledges and supports Indigenous public sector employees by offering a professional development scholarship to a high performing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who demonstrates significant leadership potential and dedication to the public sector. The award supports broad career pathways in the public sector for Indigenous people.

The scholarship consists of a 12 month professional development package tailored to the needs of the award recipient.

Communication Award - Proudly sponsored by TAC - Transport Accident Commission

Winner: “Challenging mental illness discrimination by insurers” - VICTORIA LEGAL AID

Nearly half of all Australians at some point in their life experience a mental illness. Of those, many are negatively affected by the way insurance providers assess claims, charge higher premiums, deny cover or apply conditions because of a person’s mental illness. The law is very clear about when discrimination is permitted. Up until our running the case of discrimination against then 17-year-old school girl, Ella Ingram, by QBE Insurance, there had been no legal test of whether insurers were complying with the law when refusing insurance cover or claims on the basis of a mental illness. Working with Ella and others, we wanted to raise awareness of the problem of insurers instead relying on broad and often discriminatory assumptions about people with a mental illness to deny insurance, and ignoring legal requirements to base decisions on evidence.

Ella’s case enabled us to amplify a decade-long pursuit of the insurance industry by beyondblue and Mental Health Australia to rethink and rework how it considers and responds to mental health. Importantly, we wanted to increase awareness of people’s legal rights in relation to insurance discrimination.

Ultimately we hope that our communication of this issue will help ensure that efforts to support the hundreds of thousands of Australians who experience mental illness are treated fairly and not undermined.

Environmental Sustainability Award - Proudly sponsored by EPA - Environment Protection Authority Victoria, and, Sustainability Victoria

Winner: “Carbon Reduction Initiatives” - WYNDHAM CITY COUNCIL

As one of the fastest growing councils in Australia, Wyndham must balance a rapidly growing and diverse population with the protection of our iconic natural environment. Wyndham has developed several carbon reduction projects to help our city adapt, grow and thrive in a sustainable manner. Lighting the West is an energy efficiency project that involves changing 21,920 old and inefficient street lights to modern energy efficient lights. Lighting the West is – by a significant margin – the largest lighting energy reduction project in Western Melbourne’s history. Large Scale Solar has currently installed solar PV across 11 community buildings, with 489KW of Solar PV and 32KWh of Solar Energy Storage installed to date. A total of 2.3MW of Solar PV is planned for installation by 2017. The project is one of the largest rollouts of commercial scale rooftop solar energy by local government in Australia.

The Saltwater Community Centre was envisaged as a ‘pilot’ for Wyndham, departing from the standard centres built in Melbourne’s growth areas. It piloted new approaches to infrastructure design to meet the needs of our community while reducing environmental impact. It has incorporated sustainable design features based on the 5-Star Rating of the Green Star Design Framework.

Indigenous Employment Award - Proudly sponsored by the VPSC - Victorian Public Sector Commission

Winner: “Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan” - DEPARTMENT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

In 2014, the Department of Premier and Cabinet Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan 2014 (AIAP) was launched which identified specific actions to ensure that the departmental work practices, programs and activities are inclusive and effectively respond to the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people and communities.

The AIAP was developed to increase the number of people working within the department, along with increasing the capability of its people in working with and engaging Aboriginal people. It is a document developed by the department for the department, led by the People and Culture Branch in consultation with Aboriginal staff. As an internal document it has established a sustainable foundation to effectively engage and support a diverse Aboriginal workforce, seeing over 160 people undertaking Aboriginal cultural awareness training and an increase of Aboriginal staff members within the department.

Leading the Way in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Award - Proudly sponsored by Worksafe

Winner: “Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy” - AMBULANCE VICTORIA

Mental health and wellbeing was identified as a significant issue that Ambulance Victoria (AV) is working hard to address. Ambulance services workers face obvious and unique mental health challenges in addition to the rewards of their line of work.

For too long we accepted that injury, including psychological injury, was part of the job. This assumption is unacceptable and calls for cultural change. We are committed to working with our staff and stakeholders to provide a workplace that fosters the mental and physical health of our people, at all stages of the employee life cycle.

Our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy sets our three-year roadmap to keep our people mentally fit and well for work. Our world class delivery of pre-hospital care for the Victorian community has saved many lives. The actions arising from this strategy will demonstrate that we are now just as committed to looking after our own people.

People Development Award - Proudly sponsored by Jo Fisher

Winner: “HR Connect” - EASTERN HEALTH

Eastern Health established the ‘HR Connect’ department to provide access to accurate, consistent human resources information in a timely manner to all its managers and staff. With 60 sites across 29 different locations and 9000+ employees, the HR contact center provides a central point of contact to the right information easily and consistently when required.

HR Connect has proven to be popular, handling over 4,000 queries per year. 94% of these queries are answered on the same day. Recent surveys of HR Connect users has indicated 91% are confirming that it is easier to get HR information, advice and guidance with this service.

Policy Development Award - Proudly sponsored by Hall & Wilcox


Water for Victoria is the first comprehensive Victorian water policy since 2004. It is based on science and shaped by community and business knowledge. Outcomes-focused, it shows how Victoria can do more with less water to meet the challenges of climate change and population growth, and respond to changing community expectations. The policy sets out actions to support a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and thriving communities. The policy was developed over 18 months involving communities state-wide, the agricultural sector, business, Traditional Owners, environment groups, recreational groups, water corporations and catchment management authorities. Agriculture will be supported by reducing barriers to development, upgrading infrastructure and helping communities adjust.

Recycled water and stormwater will keep cities and towns resilient and liveable. Victorians will share the security provided by the water grid. Integrated approaches will keep Victoria’s waterways and catchments healthy. In a Victorian first, the policy recognises the value water has for Traditional Owners. Co-designed actions support economic development for Aboriginal Victorians. The policy recognises that recreational water activities support healthy communities. Victorians will benefit from the focus on affordability and water corporation performance, better alignment of land use and water planning, local inclusive decision-making, and better water information and reporting.

Risk Management Award - Proudly sponsored by VMIA - Victorian Managed Insurance Authority

Winner: “Heatwave Vulnerability Risk Reduction Initiative” - YARRA CITY COUNCIL

Heatwaves are the number one community emergency risk identified in the City of Yarra. Almost certain to occur, heatwaves impact on the health and liveability of the community. Council has taken an innovative approach to heatwave risk management: partnering with 25 different agencies and community groups to reduce the consequences of heatwaves, by building the resilience of those most vulnerable to its impacts.

This approach goes beyond the traditional approach to risk management, re-framing risk in terms of a resilience-building opportunity. Council’s approach aligns with the National Disaster Resilience Strategy principle of ‘shared responsibility’, placing risk awareness and management tools in the hands of those who should manage it - everyone.

Each year, the council focuses its efforts on one specific group identified as highly vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. In 2015-16, council engaged with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups living in social and public housing, providing them with relevant information and resources to become less impacted by the effects of extreme heat.

Service Delivery Award - Proudly sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services

Winner: “Victorian Housing Register Application Online” - DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

The Victorian Housing Register is a partnership between the Victorian Government, the community housing sector and homelessness sector. It is part of the broader social housing reform and is a key component to delivering an integrated social housing system. The new register makes it easier for Victorians to apply for social housing by bringing together over
40 separate registers into one streamlined process supported by an online application.

This digital self-service innovation replaces 20-30 pages of paper-based application forms and documentation. It dynamically displays questions that relate to the client’s situation. It makes it easier for Victorians to apply for social housing without going to a housing provider’s office, and for community support and housing providers to complete applications on behalf of clients.

Victoria is the first state in Australia to go digital with a housing application. It is also the first state government service to make a digital service available via the Commonwealth’s myGov website.