Premier's Awards for Excellence

The Premier’s Awards for Excellence recognises high performance and outstanding achievement across the Queensland public service.

This year, nominations were received across five categories that aligned with the Queensland Government’s objectives for the community:

  • Jobs and economic growth
  • Education and skills
  • Healthy and safe communities
  • Environment and culture
  • Infrastructure and manufacturing.

The Premier’s Awards for Excellence recipients were announced at a ceremony in Brisbane on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

The 2021 Premier’s Awards for Excellence recipients are:

Jobs and economic growth

On 21 July 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Brisbane as the host of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This decision represents an important and extraordinary opportunity for the state, positioning Brisbane as a global city and supercharging economic growth, job creation and social benefits for Queensland and Australia. The journey began for the Queensland Government in July 2019 when the multi-disciplinary 2032 Taskforce (Taskforce) was established to lead the candidature for the Games.

The taskforce has been instrumental in delivering:

  • the 2019 Value Proposition Assessment, a detailed study that determined the overarching value proposition of hosting the Games
  • the Response to the IOC Future Host Questionnaire, detailing the Brisbane 2032 proposition including the Olympic and Paralympic Games Vision, Master Plan, Legacy, Sustainability and Governance, and Guarantees
  • a three-day virtual visit by the IOC’s Future Host Commission
  • the final candidature winning presentations and videos for the IOC Members.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) established an Australian-first program that provides quarantine options to facilitate recruitment of agricultural workers from low-risk Pacific nations, to help with food and fibre supply to consumers in a pandemic-disrupted environment. The program team is drawn from across DAF, working closely with Queensland Health and with support from other agencies.

The closure of Australia's international border in 2020 resulted in a shortage of seasonal farm workers. Under the restart of the Australian Government's Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme, states must approve quarantine plans for workers to enter Australia. Queensland's program was established as a trial in September 2020 and is now funded as an ongoing program until June 2022. By July 2021, around 3000 workers from five countries had entered Queensland to work across 16 Local Government areas. Queensland is the only state to offer on-farm and industry-led regional quarantine options, in addition to hotel quarantine.

Rapid and accurate contact tracing is essential to support the Queensland Government's response to COVID-19, reduce community transmission and ensure businesses across Queensland stay open. The Check In Qld app was developed to assist Queensland businesses to easily comply with health directions by enabling customers and staff to check in at venues and have their information securely stored for Queensland Health to use for contact tracing. The rollout of the app was delivered by a multi-agency working group which aimed to introduce easy-to-use technology that would be supported by businesses and customers.

Since the launch on 28 February 2021, the app has become the most widely used Queensland Government app ever launched, with more than 4.6 million downloads and more than 168,000 businesses registered. The overwhelming support and uptake of the app, by businesses and members of the public as customers, has enabled public health authorities to quickly identify contacts at exposure-sites. The app has instilled public confidence that health officials will be able to respond rapidly to an outbreak.

COVID-19 has hit the tourism industry harder than most other sectors. As part of a targeted tourism restart, programs were co-designed with industry and stood up quickly. Demand was kickstarted through the Good to Go and Holiday Dollars campaigns. It was also important to secure supply of services so operators could restart to reach full COVID safe potential. Securing this supply with new programs such as the $7.5 million Work in Paradise program, attracting people to work in regional Queensland tourism, and the $2 million Tourism Business Financial Counselling Service, to help employers stay in business and navigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

The Work in Paradise Program assists Queensland’s regions by promoting employment opportunities in tourism and attracting people to the regions to help tourism employers meet demand and re-open at full COVID safe capacity, supporting regional economic recovery and growth.

The Tourism Business Financial Counselling Service was co-designed with industry in early 2021 as a critical support service to tourism businesses at financial risk due to COVID-19. Operators assess the health of their business through an online assessment, the Tourism Business Health Check, then access free and tailored support from Tourism Business Financial Counsellors.

Education and skills

The Young Families Connect program is a Program of Excellence at Ipswich State High School for pregnant and parenting mothers. The program provides flexible delivery of learning and content, toward the receipt of a Queensland Certificate of Education and Certified Competency Based Training. The program is designed to increase the participation rate of pregnant and parenting students in education and assists young families by offering onsite adjunct care at the Millen Kully Moolum Centre where young mothers can access support with childcare and parenting skills.

The program assists students to build resilience, increase family functioning, build strong parent/child relationships, develop healthy maternal attachment, link at-risk families with support networks and increase parenting skills. The program offers flexible forms of delivery to accommodate parents in situations which do not allow for full-time study and for students who live in rural and remote areas.

Mabel Park State High School (MPSHS) partnered with the Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service and the University of Queensland Health Care to implement the initiative. The GP clinic initiative enables free access to a GP on-campus one day per week, providing confidential, safe, timely healthcare to students previously unable to access support. The clinic operates sustainably, with excellent uptake by students.

Recognising the critical success of this pioneering program, the Queensland Government is making a significant investment, through the GP in Schools Pilot across 20 secondary schools. The pilot further demonstrates the importance of this program and MPSHS’ impact on education and skills across Queensland.  This initiative strongly aligns with the government’s objectives for the community, including Safeguarding our health, Investing in skills, and Backing our frontline services.

Kallangur State School’s vision of ‘Engaged, Successful Learners’ has evolved by engaging the community and building collective teacher efficacy through action. The plan for greater utilisation of technology to enrich and add value to learning experiences, to personalise and to make learning more accessible, creative and engaging, is tied to the school’s Explicit Improvement Agenda.

Since 2016, the team has built the iPad program from 1 1:1 iPad class, to 15 1:1 iPad classes, a shared fleet for every year level and the prestigious invitation from Apple to apply for recognition as an Apple Distinguished School this year. Student academic outcomes have improved 20 per cent over the last five years due to the increased engagement and innovative pedagogy.

A strategic plan that has provided the vision, followed by layers of support for students and teachers, ending in an agreed and structured level of accountability, providing a solid platform leading to success.

Marsden State High School (MSHS) has developed a comprehensive suite of professional learning programs to support staff at all career stages. The programs aim to retain teachers in the profession, retain teachers across the state and provide a model of professional learning that can be used nationwide.

MSHS’s programs have been recognised for a significant period as an exemplar in educational circles and has now extended into the wider field of human resources, with the programs being recognised alongside ASX200/multi-national companies. MSHS has been awarded multiple Australian human resource and educational awards in 2020 and 2021 and is seen as an employer of choice for graduate teachers across Queensland.

MSHS has shared their programs and knowledge with schools in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia as well as universities, and they work with regional and rural schools with staffing shortages to promote rural teaching and to provide support to preservice teachers.

Healthy and safe communities

Project Booyah is the Queensland Police Service’s premier frontline policing early intervention program for at-risk and disengaged youth aged between 14 and 17 years of age. The project seeks to address their disengagement with family, the community and education, and address offending behaviour. It is a well-researched, structured long term community inclusive program incorporating resilience, social skills, vocational pathways, development training that is underpinned by a cognitive behavioural therapeutic model, police mentoring, youth support, functional literacy/numeracy education, employability skillsets and adventure-based activities to support identified disconnected youth regain a sense of their own self-worth, build resilience and make better life choices.

The project has demonstrated capacity to encourage young people to pursue further vocational pathways, gain meaningful employment and re-engage with education, and improve mental health and personal behaviours.

The project is currently operating in nine sites across Queensland (Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Pine Rivers/Redcliffe, South Brisbane, Logan, Gold Coast and Ipswich) with a primary focus on reducing youth reoffending and reducing victim occurrences for young people.

The Better Together Medication Access (BTMA) proof-of-concept program allows self-identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers to obtain discharge medications at no out-of-pocket cost, when discharging from a Metro North Hospital and Health facility. BTMA aims to improve discharge medication access and therefore adherence, resulting in improved health outcomes.

BTMA was implemented in October 2020, and the initiative’s scope is continually being expanded. BTMA has also provided staff with ongoing opportunities to strengthen relationships between Indigenous staff and community groups, and the wider multidisciplinary team.

BTMA contributes to the Queensland Government’s objectives, both in the immediate, short-term, and longer-term. During the pandemic, BTMA allows Indigenous consumers, many of which are more vulnerable, to significantly minimise their footprint to other health facilities by simply obtaining a subsidised medication on discharge, and therefore protect themselves and their communities from potential disease exposure.

The Assessment and Referral Team (ART) is helping to create healthy and safe communities by connecting Queenslanders with disability to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It provides unique, individualised support to help them benefit from the scheme and live healthy, fulfilling and connected lives.

The Commonwealth funded project is being delivered across all regions in Queensland over three years from 2019 to 2022. Since commencing implementation in February 2020, ART has changed the lives of more than 1500 vulnerable Queenslanders, who now have access to disability supports and greater opportunities to improve their social and economic participation within their communities, particularly in rural and regional areas.

The ART project is also helping to stimulate economic growth across the disability sector as new participants drive increased service demand and workforce maturity.

The Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS) Prevention Division is protecting Queensland from SARS-CoV-2 through innovative laboratory responses, with one being rapid genomics sequencing reporting on all COVID-19 positive cases in less than 24hrs, seven days a week. This turnaround time is faster than any other Australian state and one of the best globally.

Genomics has been crucial in detecting outbreaks and providing invaluable information on the spread of outbreak strains and from international and interstate incursions. This has helped guide public health measures including lockdown decisions around community exposure and provided crucial data to authorities at times facing up to five different outbreaks.

The scientific work by the FSS laboratory encompasses all regions of Queensland with positive samples immediately directed to the laboratory for rapid sequencing, helping all areas of the state respond to the pandemic. Due to the expertise required for this testing, this level of sequencing capability does not exist elsewhere in the state and the FSS laboratory is one of the most NATA accredited microbial genomics laboratories in Australia.

Environment and culture

The Raine Island Recovery Project has been a six-year, $8.5 million innovative public and private partnership between the Queensland Government, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, BHP, the Wuthathi and Meriam Nation (Ugar, Mer, Erub) Traditional Owners, and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The aim is to restore and protect the world’s largest green turtle rookery at Raine Island.

Up to 100,000 turtles can nest annually at Raine Island but it has suffered cumulative, extremely low hatching success for nearly 30 years. Rather than sit idle and witness the decline of a vulnerable and world significant species, the project, coordinated by the Department of Environment and Science, delivered pioneering world leading adaptive management and intervention actions including beach reprofiling. These actions have led to an additional 640,000 turtle hatchlings commencing their life on the Great Barrier Reef with an estimated additional 4.9 million expected over the next 10 years.

On 15 November 2017, the Queensland Government announced it would introduce new laws recognising Torres Strait Islander families’ continued use of traditional child rearing practice. Bringing this commitment to life for the benefit of Torres Strait Islander peoples has involved the development and passage of historic legislation, the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Act 2020.

The ground-breaking legislation, first of its kind in Australia, represents a significant step in supporting self-determination, promoting human rights and resolving long-standing practical issues experienced by Torres Strait Islander families in accessing services.

Implementation is well progressed, the inaugural Commissioner commenced on 12 July 2021, offices opened in Cairns and Thursday Island in August 2021, and applications received from September 2021.

Waterford West State School has partnered with the Indigenous community to develop bush tucker gardens, to enhance opportunities for teaching staff students and members of the community to deepen their knowledge of Australia by engaging with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.

The school is in Yugambeh/Yuggerah country, and all students study the Yugambeh language as part of the curriculum. Just as the Indigenous language varies within and beyond the Yugambeh region, so too do the stories and plant knowledge. The garden shares these Yugambeh stories told by local elders using video and QR codes for various plants.

The project significantly contributes to protecting the environment and enhances our natural environment and heritage for future generations living on Yugambeh country. The project also enables the community to have a greater understanding of our country's history as well as our shared stories.

Moving to performance-based management of fisheries is a key commitment under the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Thirteen harvest strategies across Queensland Fisheries have been delivered and include the Crab fisheries, Coral and marine aquarium fish fisheries, East coast inshore fishery, Reef line fishery, Sea cucumber fishery, Trawl fin fish fishery, Trawl fisheries and Tropical rocklobster fishery.

A harvest strategy specifies pre-determined management actions necessary to achieve ecological, economic and/or social objectives of a fishery. They provide clarity about the fishery objectives, performance indicators, triggers for management action and management responses/decision rules. Over time, they provide for small adjustments to maintain ecology, while optimising social and economic performance of fisheries.

Alongside the harvest strategies, new, revised and existing sustainable catch limits are now in place to sustainably manage fisheries. New and revised ecological risk assessments and streamlined stock assessments have also been developed as a key performance indicator to monitor sustainability and risks associated with fishing activities.

Infrastructure and manufacturing

The Surgical, Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) is a new facility at the Herston Health Precinct transforming healthcare for Queenslanders. STARS is part of the Herston Quarter mixed-use redevelopment delivered for Metro North Health by private development partner, Australian Unity, and is the first public hospital in Australia to be funded by investors in a Property Trust.

In an era when health has never been more important, this state-of-art infrastructure enables clinicians to provide the community with new and expanded healthcare to help meet demand for services and provide patients with greater access to care.

STARS is an architecturally designed 182-bed rehabilitation and elective surgery hospital delivered to improve health and wellbeing outcomes. The facility provides an environment designed to heal and enhance the patient experience in innovative ways, as well as challenge how people think about hospitals. As Queensland’s first greenfield digital hospital, STARS is transforming healthcare through innovation.

For more than 80 years, upon what is known locally as 'Hospital Hill', Roma Hospital has played a significant part in the life story of nearly every local resident.

Part of the Queensland Government’s Enhancing Regional Hospitals program, and in partnership with the Capital and Asset Services Branch, Queensland Health, a new state of the art Roma Hospital commenced operational service on 14 October 2020, replacing the adjacent original hospital built in 1940 (refurbished during the 1980s). As the largest single government investment in the South West region in several decades, the new 22 bed facility (including 18 ensuite single rooms) has been planned and designed to ensure delivery of contemporary models of care into the future.

The hospital was delivered as a key part of South West Hospital and Health Service’s vision of being a national leader in the delivery of health services to rural and remote communities.

The Advancing Our Training Infrastructure initiative recently delivered an investment to redevelop and expand TAFE facilities, including the nursing and allied health facility at Southport. This project focused on revitalising the existing TAFE infrastructure to provide a state-of-the-art clinical space and was officially opened in April 2021.

It delivered modern simulated wards, lab environments and refurbished classrooms that enabled the delivery of training, using the latest technologies, including mixed reality HaloLLens technology. This new facility provides flexible and practical spaces for nursing, aged care and allied health services for up to 150 trainee nurses and allied health students, skilled workers the Gold Coast needs now and in the future. These works will allow the campus to grow to more than 16,000 students over the next several years, improving career paths for Gold Coast students while delivering on Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.

The Captain Cook Bridge (CCB) opened in 1973 and is the most trafficked bridge in Queensland, with more than 150,000 vehicles travelling daily. The bridge carries approximately 50 per cent more load than for what it was designed nearly 50 years ago, which is why the CCB Rehabilitation project was implemented.

Some of key project requirements includes:

  • Installation of two temporary work platforms underneath the bridge:
    • Eight halving joints consisting of 48 box girder webs to strengthen:
      • 64 reinforcing, formwork and concrete locations
      • 25 tonnes of reinforcing
      • 150 cubic metres of special blend concrete
      • 608 post-tensioned bars.
  • Replacement of 6 bearings:
    • four 500 tonne jacks to lift the bridge
    • two weekend complete closures/detours.

To ensure the functionality of the busiest bridge in Queensland for future years, the project team has overcome many unique and varied project challenges.

Premier's Award for Excellence

An overall Premier’s Award for Excellence was awarded to an initiative that has shown exemplary leadership.

The Surgical, Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) is a new facility at the Herston Health Precinct transforming healthcare for Queenslanders. STARS is part of the Herston Quarter mixed-use redevelopment delivered for Metro North Health by private development partner, Australian Unity, and is the first public hospital in Australia to be funded by investors in a Property Trust.

In an era when health has never been more important, this state-of-art infrastructure enables clinicians to provide the community with new and expanded healthcare to help meet demand for services and provide patients with greater access to care.

STARS is an architecturally designed 182-bed rehabilitation and elective surgery hospital delivered to improve health and wellbeing outcomes. The facility provides an environment designed to heal and enhance the patient experience in innovative ways, as well as challenge how people think about hospitals. As Queensland’s first greenfield digital hospital, STARS is transforming healthcare through innovation.

Sponsors of the 2021 Premier's Awards for Excellence

The 2021 Premier's Awards for Excellence was proudly supported by:

Jobs and economic growth

Proudly supported by Queensland Treasury Corporation.

QTC is the central financing authority for the Queensland Government and provides financial resources and services for the state. We manage the state’s funding program in the global capital markets to deliver sustainable and cost-effective borrowings for our Queensland Government and local government clients, and other related entities.

Queensland Treasury Corporation

Education and skills

Proudly supported by The University of Queensland.

The University of Queensland has a strong focus on teaching excellence, having won more national teaching awards than any other university in Australia. More than 53,600 current students, including 18,000 international students, contribute to a diverse, inclusive community across UQ’s three beautiful campuses.

The University of Queensland

Healthy and safe communities

Proudly supported by QSuper.

QSuper is one of Queensland’s largest superannuation funds and has been creating better financial futures for members for over 100 years. Many QSuper members work in the public sector and QSuper’s commitment to growing their retirement savings gives members the confidence to enjoy life, knowing their super’s in safe hands.


Environment and culture

Proudly supported by Griffith Business School.

The Griffith Business School is a leader in public sector education and internationally recognised research in the fields of governance, public policy and public administration. Through our dedicated research centres and the Policy Innovation Hub, our researchers work closely and collaboratively with government, industry and community in support and for the betterment of Queensland and Queenslanders.

Griffith Business School

Infrastructure and manufacturing

Proudly supported by Holding Redlich.

Leading national law firm, Holding Redlich is a trusted adviser to the Queensland Government, providing strategic and outcome focussed legal advice to Queensland Government departments and statutory authorities.


For more information contact Events and Engagement, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, by email or phone 07 3003 9200.