2017 Australian Public Service Medal Recipients

Awarded for Australia Day 2017


For outstanding public service to education and to the teaching of English as an additional language.

Ms Antenucci has made an extraordinary contribution to the teaching field, especially in the area of English as an additional language or dialect. She has worked tirelessly to support newly arrived students, including refugees, to join mainstream education in Australian schools through the learning of English as an additional language. Her supportive leadership, vision and collaboration with educators at state and national levels have had significant impact on the teaching profession.

Recognising the central role of languages in learning for students of non-English speaking backgrounds, some of whom have arrived in South Australia without any experience of education prior to arrival. She has worked in ways that appropriately and sensitively support the overall learning outcomes of diverse students.

Her expertise in delivering high quality professional learning to educators has had a direct impact on teachers, and has enhanced their capacity to provide teaching and learning programs that improve the learning outcomes for students studying English as an additional language or dialect. The consistency of the use of genre-based, functional grammar informed approach to programming, implementing and assessing across classrooms is a testimony to her advocacy.

Beyond her exemplary work within the 'English as an Additional Language or Dialect Program' in the Department for Education and Child Development, she has been strongly engaged in supporting diverse communities and her work with asylum seekers demonstrates her high degree of care, sense of responsibility, and desire to contribute to the successful integration of diverse communities into Australian society.

Ms Antenucci is an outstanding public servant whose dedication to the teaching of English as an additional language or dialect has had a significant impact across the community.


For outstanding public service in the field of intergovernmental fiscal relations, taxation policy and economic policy.

Mr Schwarz has been an outstanding public servant throughout his long career and he has consistently performed at the highest level. He has demonstrated leadership and innovation across a diverse range of public finance policy issues, both at the state level and in the national arena. He combines an in depth understanding of both technical and policy aspects of issues with a strong commitment and passion for sound policy development and implementation.

Of particular note is his work in relation to Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation (HFE). His depth of knowledge and intellectual capacity have earned him the respect of his colleagues which was evidenced through his selection to work on the GST Distribution Review nationally. He was also highly influential in the policy and financial modelling work which supported the national tax reforms of the early 2000s that were associated with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax and the related reforms to Commonwealth-State financial relations which have endured.

He has developed a deep understanding of financial asset and liability flows in the South Australian public sector and State financial institutions. He was the key to the development of critical financial policies and debt management strategies for the South Australian Government Financing Authority in its formative years, and was also responsible for designing and assembling the States inaugural submission to obtain an international credit rating.

Mr Schwarz continues to be influential in public policy development in South Australia in his role as a consultant to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, providing advice on tax reform, Commonwealth-State financial reforms and economic policy.


For outstanding public service in the area of employment, cultural inclusiveness and Indigenous events.

Ms Thomas has been a leader in Indigenous engagement and public sector employment for over 30 years. She has worked tirelessly during this time to improve the working lives of Indigenous public sector employees in South Australia as an Indigenous community leader.

She took the lead on the first Indigenous traineeship program within the department and was recognised as a leader and mentor for these young employees. She was pivotal in developing reconciliation strategies for government agencies and recently provided leadership in the development of the Indigenous 'Safe to be You' - a cultural safety (work health and safety issue) framework. The work on this idea was visionary and innovative in that the concept of feeling safe at work also incorporated the expectation that a person's cultural identity will not be demeaned or diminished by others. To date the framework has been distributed to over 50,000 employees and will help inform on the impact that practices, policies and behaviours have on others.

Within the Department of Planning, Training and Infrastructure (DPTI) Ms Thomas has been the champion for increasing awareness of Indigenous culture. She has remained focused on identifying and driving opportunity for Indigenous people through the development of a register of Indigenous people who have applied for positions and has developed a cadetship program and school based traineeships in the Far North of South Australia and APY Lands. Another achievement is her role as a fundamental leader in the development of the DPTI Reconciliation Action Plan and Reconciliation Statement of Commitment. These initiatives ensure the department continues to develop respectful and inclusive relationships with Indigenous people and promotes cultural inclusion.