DPI staff recognised in Australia Day honours list

29 Jan 2013

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An emergency operations manager and a Limnologist from the NSW DPI, have both been recognised for their achievements in the Australia Day honours list and awarded Public Service Medals, NSW DPI Director General,
Dr Richard Sheldrake, said today.

Kevin Cooper, who has steered the State through floods, fires and exotic diseases and Dr Lee Bowling, one of the finest advisers to New South Wales agencies and Government on water quality issues, particularly in the identification and management of toxic freshwater algae, were announced as recipients at the weekend.

Kevin Cooper, who already has an Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) to his name, received the award for his outstanding public service to agricultural technology and research.

"Mr Cooper has been a valued member of DPI for nearly 40 years, and has helped guide us through some of the worst natural disasters in the State’s history," Dr Sheldrake said.

"The award recognises Kevin’s hard work at the forefront of the Department assisting emergency services in both emergency events and recovery exercises, providing a steady hand for the community, and in particular farmers.

"Kevin has spearheaded the State’s response to some of NSW’s biggest emergencies and disasters including Newcastle Disease at Mangrove Mountain in 1999, the horse flu epidemic in 2007, and marine and plant pest incursions in 2010. His expertise was keenly sought after during his deployment to the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) operations in the UK 2001.

"He was also actively involved with the recent fires across NSW as state coordinator.

"He has been involved nationally with the development and delivery of emergency management training for those in the biosecurity sectors, and pioneered the development of standard procedures and protocols for biosecurity emergencies."

Mr Cooper started work at NSW DPI as a Technical Assistant in the veterinary research and diagnostic laboratories. Since then he has held a variety of roles including overseeing the development and construction of the original laboratory complex at EMAI, and the development of the enterprise agreement for technical staff. He has also played a key part in various re-structures across the department.

Kevin has also been instrumental in implementing changes across the department’s laboratories to form a single laboratory service that is accredited to national standards. The NSW laboratory network has gone on to lead Australia particularly in support of emergency operations.

Dr Lee Bowling received his award for outstanding public service to water quality and management.

Dr Sheldrake said Dr Bowling, a Principal Limnologist with the NSW Office of Water and the State’s Algal co-ordinator, has spent more than 24 years with the Department and has authored or co-authored 37 scientific papers and book chapters and numerous other departmental reports, and his work is highly regarded in the field of water management.

"His dedication and hard work has greatly influenced the management of algae blooms in Australia and has informed international practice, and his extensive breadth of knowledge in the field of water quality and algal management makes him extremely valuable in the work environment," Dr Sheldrake said.

"In collaboration with staff and students at the University of New South Wales, Dr Bowling also contributed to the world's first survey of the molecular basis for toxin production in many water bodies of New South Wales.

"Dr Bowling has been an excellent ambassador for the Australian scientific community, and has performed with outstanding determination and innovation throughout his career to improve algal management.

"Both Kevin and Lee are great examples of the many dedicated and talented public sector employees in New South Wales. They are valued members of the Department of Primary Industries and I am delighted that their contribution has been recognised with an Australia Day honour," Dr Sheldrake said.

"The whole department congratulates Kevin and Lee on their tremendous efforts over the years, and this well deserved achievement."

Media contact: Sarah Wright 6391 3686 or 0427 075 167