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Meritorious Awards

Meritorious awards recognise outstanding and distinguished service by public servants, members of an Australian police force, fire, ambulance, corrections, intelligence or emergency service, or in support of outstanding work with an Australian Antarctic expedition.


The awards were created to recognise those occupations that provide services for the community, particularly in times of emergency or disaster. Historically, most nominees are people whose current service is inherently more hazardous than most other occupations. These awards recognise individuals who have performed service at a level above that which would be expected of someone in their position, or have made significant achievements.

Consistent with the intent of the various meritorious award Regulations, people who recently worked on the frontline with prolonged exposure to hazard in the service of the community, and who are now using their frontline experience to support others on the frontline, may be eligible for a meritorious award.


The meritorious awards are made up of medals recommended by federal, state and territory Ministers, to recognise members of particular services for their outstanding or distinguished achievements. Upon receipt of recommendations, the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat makes checks for adherence to the governing documents, approached nominees to ascertain if they would accept the award, and presents them to the Governor-General for consideration and approval. If approved, the Secretariat prepares material for publication in the relevant honours list. The Secretariat is also responsible for the preparation and despatch of warrants (a document certifying the award) and insignia (includes the medal) to the relevant Government House, for investiture.

The Governor-General makes these awards on the recommendation of the responsible Ministers. Members of the public cannot nominate someone for a meritorious award.


Awards are announced on Australia Day (January 26) and The King's Birthday (the second Monday in June). The Australian Antarctic Medal is announced on 21 June.


Details on each award can be found in the links below, as well as in the Meritorious Awards Booklet, which includes:

  • history, eligibility and nomination details
  • Letters Patent, Regulations and Determinations
  • images and descriptions of what each award looks like; and
  • guidance on how decorations are worn.

Public Service Medal




The Public Service Medal (PSM) recognises public service employees, including those of the Australian Government and state, territory and local governments, who have given outstanding public service.

Australian Police Medal




The Australian Police Medal (APM) recognises distinguished service by a member of an Australian police force.