Housing has once again been recognised for public service excellence with two awards in the 2015 Institute of Public Administration Australia (WA) Achievement Awards announced on Friday 26 June.
The Department won in the Best Practice in Collaboration between Government and Non-Government Organisations category for the Remote Communities Swimming Pool Construction Program which was a partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society WA. Tania Loosley-Smith, General Strategy and Policy, was also recognised as Policy Practitioner of the Year.
The Department’s swimming pool construction program was introduced in 1999 as part of the Dust Abatement Program to address the issue of sub-standard environmental health conditions affecting WA’s remote Aboriginal communities, in particular high-levels of skin and middle ear infections related to dust. Swimming pools were constructed in Yandeyarra, Jigalong, Burringurrah, Bidyadanga, Warmun and the town of Fitzroy.
Royal Life Saving was awarded a commercial contract in 2000 to manage these facilities. Over time, the scope of services has evolved from an initial arrangement for the provision of swimming pool management and maintenance services to a ‘holistic community hub’ centred around the swimming pool facilities.
"The success of the Program is a result not only of effective collaboration externally with Royal Life Saving, but internally between the Department's Procurement and Contract Mangerment and Community Construction teams," Peter Smith, Manager Community Construction said.
"In particular, Kevin Harding, Project Manager on our team was very committed to the project and worked very hard to ensure its success."
Tania Loosley-Smith was recognised for leading the Department’s work to set the strategic direction for affordable housing in WA through the development of the State’s first Affordable Housing Strategy. Tania has led the Department in its work to lift housing policy to focus on market reform and broader affordability rather than operational policy for running the public housing system. She has helped the Department to push the boundaries of public sector policy in creating new policy options, pathways and market-based solutions.
In accepting her award, Tania said she was very proud that the Department has been able to help so many people as a result of the Strategy
The Department's Derby Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation Facility was also a finalist in the Best Practice in Collaboration Across Government Agencies in the Same Jurisdiction category.