2015 Australian Public Service Medal Recipients

Awarded for Queens Birthday 2015


Recommended for outstanding public service in the area of social housing policy and practice.

In a career spanning over thirty years, Mr Philip Fagan-Schmidt has provided exemplary public service, primarily in the area of housing policy. He has managed to craft a clear vision for the modern social housing provider that focuses on the interconnected roles of people, their homes and their communities and has shaped an organisation where it is expected that people are challenged about the impact of their attitudes and actions on social justice.

Mr Fagan-Schmidt led the development and introduction of innovative policies and strategic partnerships to support an increased supply of affordable homes for low and moderate income households. Between 2009 and 2011, he led the introduction of a number of reforms to support staff in the management of vulnerable clients within the homeless sector, including the establishment of specialist services for children, Aboriginal people and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

During the concurrent rollout of the social housing element of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan, Mr Fagan-Schmidt steered the construction of an innovative apartment tower in the centre of Adelaide combining a youth homeless shelter, public housing, community housing, affordable home purchase and open market home purchase. South Australia was recognised nationally and received multiple industry awards for this development.

Mr Fagan-Schmidt has provided national leadership in policy making and research and with the commencement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial, has personally driven the development of new products to improve housing, social and economic opportunities for South Australians with disabilities.

In both his national and state based work, Mr Fagan-Schmidt has also been a passionate advocate for the housing needs of indigenous people and was central to the development and implementation of the 10 Year National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.

Philip Fagan-Schmidt has been an outstanding public servant who has influenced social housing policy and operations in both South Australia and nationally. He has earned great respect for his leadership and positive influence in the public and housing sectors throughout Australia.


Recommended for outstanding public service in achieving positive teaching and learning outcomes for children and young people, with a particular focus on Aboriginal education.

Mr Mark Williams has been a leader in the public education sector for the last seventeen years. He is passionate about improving positive curriculum, teaching and learning outcomes for children and young people.

Between 2005 and 2010, Mr Williams led the Department for Education and Child Development Aboriginal Education team through a process of developing the Aboriginal Education Plan which articulated the future direction for Aboriginal Education in South Australia. He was instrumental in aligning the State Aboriginal Education initiative and Multicultural Education programs into mainstream departmental programs and to include a specific focus on Aboriginal Education.

Mark Williams is a skilled orator and presenter, advocating for all children and young people at local, state and national conferences. He has a strong sense of moral purpose, integrity and conviction and actively contributes to the professional knowledge and understanding of the wider educational community.

Mr Williams successfully negotiated with the Australian Education Union to include Aboriginal children in the Basic Skills Testing program which was the first time that the literacy and numeracy levels of Aboriginal children could be analysed to inform strategies to improve outcomes. As chair of the South Australian Certificate of Education Working Party, he has overseen an annual increase in the SACE completion rates of Aboriginal Students.

He has led ambitious and complex reform agendas resulting in improving the quality and effectiveness of leadership and teaching practices for Aboriginal learners. He effectively improved the cultural awareness and cultural responsiveness of teachers and school leaders and for several years led highly successful and inspirational cultural camps involving school leaders, teachers and support staff.

Mark Williams has a well-deserved reputation as someone of vision, diligence and humility whose strong commitment to social justice has played a very significant role throughout his career in improving outcomes for Aboriginal students.


Recommended for outstanding public service in the area of public education, children and families.

Over a 40 year period, Ms Jane Lemon has shown commitment and dedication to public education and to children and families in South Australia. She exemplifies the spirit of public service by ensuring that the programs for which she is responsible are of a high standard and meet the needs of the community.

Ms Lemon’s career has been driven by passion and enthusiasm for not only the learning of children but also the learning, development and growth of parents and staff. She enacts the principle of genuine partnership with families through her stewardship of the innovative Learning Together program that focusses children’s early literacy development and the critical role that parents play in supporting their child’s development. The Learning Together program continuously demonstrates significant outcomes for children and families and was recognised by the Organisation for Economic Development as one of 125 world-wide Innovative Learning Environments.

Through the Learning Together program, she has directly impacted on the lives of children and families and assisted them to achieve better outcomes while positioning them for a positive future.  Ms Lemon has established the highly successful Playgroups in Schools program, which has seen a number of South Australian schools providing early childhood playgroups for children and families in the years before formal schooling. She also works closely with the Little Big Book Club to promote early reading to children and families and is a significant contributor to national and international research on early childhood education.

It is our most socially isolated and financially disadvantaged children and families that Jane Lemon has at the forefront of her thinking, planning and work. She continues to be actively involved and supportive of the wider early childhood sector which includes child and family health nurses, allied health professionals, educators, childcare workers, disability services workers, librarians, parenting educators and many others.  She makes a personal commitment to upholding the rights of children and families and ensuring they are treated with care, courtesy and respect.

Awarded for Australia Day 2015


Awarded for outstanding public service in the provision of emergency health care and remote dialysis services across regional South Australia.

Ms Christine Russell has worked as a Registered Nurse with the public health system in South Australia since 1975, providing outstanding service in the areas of emergency care and renal services.

In 2009 Ms Russell began working with the Country Health SA Local Health Network as the Rural Renal Clinical Practice Consultant. In this role she has overseen the expansion and establishment of new dialysis services across all of country South Australia, supported country patients who receive dialysis in metropolitan units, expanded the support for Aboriginal dialysis patients from the far north and west of the state and ensured country renal nurses are educated and supported.

Her particular achievements include overseeing a doubling of dialysis chairs in country locations, which has made a huge difference to the quality of life of renal patients in country South Australia and the commissioning and successful implementation of a mobile dialysis truck to support ‘return to country’ services in remote indigenous communities. As a result of this service, many indigenous patients have been able to return for visits to home communities, helping to alleviate the dislocation felt by having to relocate to Alice Springs, Port Augusta or Adelaide to access long-term dialysis services.

Christine Russell epitomises the values of care and compassion, and through quiet persistence has delivered innovation in service delivery in some of the State’s most remote and difficult environments.


Awarded for outstanding public service in the area of waste management reform and policy

Mr Vaughan Levitzke has more than 33 years of experience across government in environmental science, innovation and industry development and is a noted expert in waste, recycling and container deposit legislation.

Since its inception in 2003, he has held the role of Chief Executive of Zero Waste SA, a South Australian Government agency established to improve waste management and resource recovery across the state.

He is a passionate leader who has built the organisation from the ground to be a respected, innovative and effective agency and has positioned South Australia as a national and international leader in recycling and waste management.

Mr Levitzke has championed a long list of leading-edge programs across South Australia which are stimulating significant and long-lasting change in waste and recycling, including the first phaseout in Australia of thin lightweight non-biodegradable plastic bags. His outstanding leadership has enabled Zero Waste SA to achieve significant success in bringing about change in waste management reform and engaged community action. His innovative approaches to reducing the environmental impact of food waste have not been matched in any other state or territory.

On an international scale, Vaughan Levitzke and Zero Waste SA facilitate regular overseas delegations to South Australia, which is showcased as a best practice model in waste management, environmental sustainability and development of innovation and technology. His opinion and insight is sought on a diverse array of working parties, committees and boards both locally and internationally.

Vaughan Levitzke is highly regarded by his peers for his strong leadership qualities and outstanding communication skills. His sustained high level performance has brought about significant results for the environment and the community at large.


Protocol Unit
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Phone: (08) 8226 3631
Email: dpcprotocol@sa.gov.au