THE Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), has approved 958 awards to be announced today in the Australia Day 2017 Honours List.

Among them, one of the highest honours, that of the Order of Australia (AO), has been awarded to former Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria, Ken Lay.

Formerly of Korumburra, now of Inverloch, Mr Lay’s AO was awarded officially “for distinguished service to law enforcement as Chief of Police, through structural reforms to recruitment, training and deployment, and to social and community leadership”.

Whilst reaching one of the highest police appointments in the nation is his key professional achievement, Mr Lay is equally well known for his stance on a number of issues, principally violence against woman which crossed over from his work to his community involvements.

As well in establishing the Family Violence Command within Victoria Police, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and the Review into Sexual Harassment and Bullying in Victoria Police he also chaired the Council of Australian Government (COAG) Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence Against Women and Their Children in 2015.

As well as taking practical steps, he also spoke out against violence against women and family violence at every opportunity.

He also took a strong position on illicit drugs, especially Ice in the community.

Educated in Korumburra, Mr Lay was a member of the Victoria Police from 1974 to 2015, rising steadily through the ranks from the ground up. He was Chief Commissioner from 2011 to 2015.

Presently he is the Chair of Ambulance Victoria, since 2015, and has just joined the Board of prominent national charity, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, among other roles.

He has been a board member of the Essendon Football Club since 2015, its Chair elect of the Diversity Steering Committee, a member of its Audit, Risk and Integrity Committee, and the Number One Ticket Holder in 2015.