Seven current and former DJCS staff members were recognised for their distinguished service as part of the 2024 Australia Day Honours.

The Australian Honours and Awards system (External link) provides the people of Australia the opportunity to recognise and say thank you to outstanding citizens whose efforts make our communities and our nation a better place.

Well done to our recipients of the Public Service Medal and the Australian Corrections Medal. Please join us in congratulating them.

We also extend our congratulations to colleagues from our statutory entities and agencies who were recognised in the 2024 Australia Day Honours.

You can read more about each recipient’s achievements below.

Public Service Medal recipients

The Public Service Medal recognises outstanding excellence, leadership and innovation by employees from each of the four levels of government.

Bree Bolst

Previously Executive Director, People and Wellbeing, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV)

Currently Director People and Culture, Department of Government Services

For outstanding public service and leadership in response to COVID-19

Throughout her tenure at COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV), Bree’s outstanding achievements made a profound impact on both her organisation and the broader community. Bree led the transformation of CQV, establishing a new organisation that demanded innovative systems and processes to adapt to ever-evolving requirements. Her leadership was nothing short of exceptional, as she navigated the complexities of the pandemic with empathy, care, and an unwavering commitment to efficient processes. Bree’s visionary approach paved the way for a cohesive team and extraordinary outcomes.

Bree’s standout achievements were the establishment of a comprehensive recruitment, induction, training, and competency framework. In less than three months, she onboarded over 3,000 staff, ensuring they were motivated and aligned with the organisation's values. This was critical in maintaining infection prevention and control (IPC) measures during the pandemic, ultimately minimising the risk of virus transmission within the quarantine network.

The pandemic brought forth unprecedented workplace changes, including daily COVID-19 testing, mandatory vaccination, and mask-wearing mandates. Bree’s transparent communication, along with effective training and processes, ensured a positive workplace culture, averting potential disruptions or non-compliance. Bree demonstrated exceptional care in overseeing the transition of thousands of staff. She facilitated opportunities for many to continue serving in the public sector, exemplifying her commitment to staff development and safety expertise retention.

Bree’s ability to establish and maintain constructive relationships with the relevant union was pivotal. It ensured that the union was engaged in the rigorous safety protocols in place, fostering a supportive environment for workforce changes. Bree’s contributions to public service, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, are a testament to her exceptional leadership, integrity, and innovation. Her dedication to excellence in recruitment, training, and workplace adaptation has left an indelible mark on COVID-19 CQV and the broader community.

Emma Cassar

Previously Commissioner, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV)

Currently Deputy Secretary Social Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, Department of Premier and Cabinet

For outstanding public service and leadership in Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emma’s exemplary leadership as Commissioner of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) stands as a remarkable testament to her unwavering commitment to public service during one of the most challenging periods in recent history. Her accomplishments in managing complex and high-stakes situations demonstrate her dedication to the values of integrity, accountability, and responsiveness.

Emma’s appointment to lead the reset of Victoria's mandatory COVID-19 quarantine program in 2020 came at a time of immense public, political, and health complexity. Her leadership not only prioritised the safety and experience of residents but also ensured the highest standards of infection prevention and control, a vital aspect of protecting the broader community. Within a mere four months under her guidance, there were no reported cases of COVID-19 transmission from CQV facilities to the public.

Emma’s leadership led to the transformation of Victoria's COVID-19 quarantine program into a highly capable, efficient, and compassionate organisation. Her team safely cared for thousands of residents transitioning through quarantine, even managing exceptional challenges such as repatriating over a thousand people from Afghanistan and overseeing the Australian Open tennis event during the pandemic. Her innovative approach extended to implementing bespoke programs and solutions tailored to each unique situation. Recognising the risks associated with airborne transmission of COVID-19, Emma’s leadership led to pioneering efforts in managing air quality within hotel environments. Her proactive approach to addressing emerging challenges contributed to the overall safety of the quarantine program.

After obtaining a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology from the University of Melbourne, Emma embarked on a career as a forensic psychologist with Corrections Victoria in 1999. Over the years, she ascended to the role of general manager at both male and female prisons in Victoria, subsequently undertaking various senior executive positions. In March 2023, Emma assumed the position of deputy secretary within the Social Policy and Intergovernmental Relations Group at the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Her career path encompasses over two decades of diverse experience across government, private sector, and non-profit organisations.

Christine Howlett

Deputy Special Manager, Operations and Strategy, Integrity Regulation and Legal Services

For outstanding public service in preventing social harm and exceptional contribution to public sector integrity.

Christine’s 30-year career in the public sector is a testament to her commitment to reducing public harm and enhancing the integrity of public service delivery. Throughout her career, Christine has demonstrated exceptional leadership in promoting integrity and accountability within the public sector. Her role as deputy special manager for the Melbourne Casino Operator highlighted her dedication to bringing transparency and accountability to casino operations, thereby minimising gambling harm and financial crime.

A central pillar of Christine’s career has been her dedication to minimising harm, particularly for marginalised, vulnerable, and disadvantaged communities. Her leadership at the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) played a pivotal role in exposing and preventing public sector corruption and police misconduct, ultimately protecting those most at risk.

Christine’s innovative thinking and ability to build excellent stakeholder relations have been instrumental in her mission to reduce public harm. Her work with interstate regulators and casino monitors has not only fostered collaboration but also led to the sharing of best practices, resulting in more efficient regulatory oversight. This collaboration demonstrates her commitment to optimising public resources for the greater good. Christine’s efforts have contributed significantly to better outcomes for the people of Victoria.

Australian Corrections Medal recipients

The Australian Corrections Medal is awarded for distinguished service by an operational member of an Australian state or territory civilian correctional service for adults.

Miranda Ellul

Senior Clinician - Same Page, Corrections and Justice Services

Miranda commenced with the Department of Justice and Community Safety as a Clinician in 2008, quickly progressing to Senior Clinician, where she engaged in the frontline providing clinical services to offenders for a number of years. Throughout her career, Miranda has also engaged in managerial roles, overseeing the development and delivery of offending behaviour programs. However, a clinician at heart, since 2017 Miranda has been serving in the role as Senior Clinician, delivering the Same Page program to offenders in custody and in the community.

Miranda has established herself as a clinical leader who pursues and promotes service excellence, proactively searching for ways to optimise service user engagement and rehabilitation. In her role as Regional Manager, Offending Behaviour Programs, she pioneered the delivery of targeted offence specific programs in Victoria, matching service users with clinical interventions targeted at their specific offending behaviours and implemented a service framework aligned to the new Serious Violent Offender legislation. She developed and operationalised the roll-out of clinical interventions for residents at the Judy Lazarus Transitional Centre. For service users in custody, Miranda drove the piloting and implementation of anger management programs at the Melbourne Assessment Prison, supporting newly imprisoned individuals with strategies to manage their emotions whilst transitioning to a high-risk custodial environment.

As the Senior Clinician – Same Page, Miranda has consistently maintained high service delivery standards, while seeking innovative ways to enhance supports provided to service users. Miranda has been instrumental in the implementation of significant improvements to the delivery of the Same Page program to support the reduction in service user’s risk of reoffending.

Over the past 15 years, Miranda has led and navigated a broad and complex service system through collaboration, integrity, accountability, and humility. Miranda is passionate about supporting others to make meaningful and significant change in their lives.

Wayne Jackson

Supervisor, Security and Emergency Services, Corrections and Justice Services

Wayne commenced with Corrections Victoria as a Prison Officer at the Metropolitan Remand Centre (MRC) in 2009.  In 2012, Wayne progressed to Senior Prison Officer at the MRC before being appointed to the role of Supervisor, Prison Intelligence Unit (PIU) in 2017. Wayne’s current role is Supervisor, Security and Emergency Services Group (SESG) at the MRC.

Since the commencement of his career, Wayne has established himself as a natural leader. His strength lies in the way he interacts and works with people, making a conscious effort to ensure that his interactions with people in custody are fair and respectful. He does not see people in custody as others, instead extending the same level of care, respect, and compassion that he would to members of the broader community. His ability to de-escalate situations through respectful interaction is an example to those around him and has contributed to the successful resolution of numerous incidents, and the non-materialisation of many more.

Wayne’s leadership of the MRC SESG response team and management of critical prison incidents is emblematic of what it means to be a modern ‘first responder’. He is an exceptional role model and natural leader who inspires confidence in those around him. Wayne’s approach to resolving critical incidents in a complex environment represents how emergency management should be approached by all staff, as Wayne rapidly and instinctively make decisions that prioritise not just the security of the prison, but the safety and welfare of those around him.

For more than 14 years, Wayne has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to Corrections Victoria and our prisons and is held in high esteem by his colleagues. Our staff and people in custody are safer for his efforts.

Mark Jones

Senior Operations Manager, Barwon Prison, Corrections and Justice Services

Mark commenced with Corrections Victoria in 1999 as a Prison Officer at Bendigo Prison. Since that time, he has served in a range of frontline roles, including as Prison Supervisor across several correctional locations. Mark has had diverse experience across the system, having served as Operations Manager in a variety of roles and having been appointed in the commissioning team for Ravenhall Correctional Centre. Mark is currently serving as Senior Operations Manager at Barwon Prison.

He has established himself as driver of change who is committed to creating a custodial culture that supports positive rehabilitative outcomes for people in custody. Mark was an asset to the commissioning team of Ravenhall Correctional Centre, bringing strong experience and detailed knowledge across all dimensions of prison operations, including the technical and legislative requirements for specialised aspects relating to security and emergency services. This work led to Mark joining the GEO Group as Operations Manager, Security Services to help oversee the opening of the new facility.

As Senior Operations Manager, Mark is at the forefront in driving initiatives and demonstrates a commitment to the safety and wellbeing of his colleagues. His leadership skills managed the implementation of the Safe at Work project, a reform initiative aimed at increasing the workplace safety of staff working in High Security Units. Mark also led the design and fabrication of a prototype for a new trap-shield that provides greater protection for officers, which is being trialled for operational use.

Mark has held a distinguished career over 21 years of service, whose attitude and leadership in difficult situations has significantly contributed to the shaping of the Victorian prison system.

Philip Sellman

Senior Prison Officer, Metropolitan Remand Centre, Corrections and Justice Services

Phillip commenced with Corrections Victoria as a Prison Officer in 2014 following a successful career working in prisons in the United Kingdom. He is currently serving as a Senior Prison Officer at the Metropolitan Remand Centre, where he draws on his superior communication and unit management skills to create better outcomes for high-risk offenders in an inherently unstable environment.  While Philip finished his career in the United Kingdom as a senior manager, his preference has been to remain as a frontline officer with Corrections Victoria, drawing on his experience to lift up those around him As a Prison Officer, Phillip built a reputation as someone who could be depended upon to work in any area of the prison to an exceptionally high standard. However, it is as a Senior Prison Officer in the accommodation units that Philip’s passion for helping both men in the care of Corrections Victoria and his fellow officers is best exemplified. Phillip’s leadership style is defined by his approachability, calmness, and positivity. His commitment to mentoring and developing the staff around him is exemplary. 

Phillip approaches his interactions with men in custody in the same way that he leads his colleagues; set clear expectations and be respectful. He is a dedicated case-manager who encourages men in custody to set goals, undertake education, complete treatment courses, and maintain their support networks in the outside world. Philip stands out as an officer who brings calmness and stability to a difficult environment. His willingness to listen to prisoners and provide guidance to staff is the perfect foil for his surroundings. Phillip is an officer who can be counted on and has been an exceptional servant of Corrections Victoria and the wider community.

For the full list of Australia Day Honours for 2024, visit the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia’s website (External link).