NSW/ACT Regional Achievement & Community Awards

2015 Winners of the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards

Department of Primary Industries Crown Reserve Trust – Corporate Managers Award

Camden Head Pilot Station is a heritage listed navigation assistance facility located at Dunbogan on the mid north coast. Overseen by the Camden Haven Community College Committee, the station was refurbished in 2001. It provides holiday retreat accommodation, artist and writer residences and community environmental, educational and cultural events. The committee has ensured that the property is as self-sufficient as possible, installing water tanks, septic system, solar grid connection and its own satellite internet connection. With an occupancy rate last year of almost 70%, the Station is now financially self-supporting.

Department of Primary Industries Crown Reserve Trust – Community Managers Award

Ben Lomond War Memorial Hall Reserve Trust is a dedicated group of volunteers committed to improving the 107 year old War Memorial Hall. The Trust is responsible for the upkeep of the hall, hire bookings and catering for tourist coaches, dances and business functions. $15,000 was raised to construct a storeroom, an enclosed BBQ area and a ull kitchen upgrade. A new toilet block has been completed and a cark park is under construction. Original photos of servicemen and women have also been restored and displayed in the Hall. 


Peabody Energy Environment & Landcare Award

Coal Point Progress Association has undertaken the ambitious project of regenerating 20 hectares of bush land along Coral Point Ridge and 8.7 hectares of wetlands and catchment at Carey Bay. For 20 years Coral Point Progress land carers have sought to protect and preserve endangered ecological communities and vulnerable species. Management of major transformer weeds and identifying wildlife corridors is improving the health, resilience and connectivity of the area. 69 volunteers and 37 landholders are undertaking activities equating to almost 11,000 volunteer hours contributed, saving over $300,000 in labour costs.


Prime Super Community of the Year - Population under 15,000 Award

Local Health Medical Trust of Barham consists of 9 volunteers who manage the community owned Barham & District Medical Centre. The Centre was developed in response to the need for improved medical and local health facilities. The vision was to improve the health, economic and social environments of the local community. The Trust has increased retention rates of General Practitioners and provided community members increased access to health care and specialist services. They sourced funding for further upgrades and extensions to the Medical Centre and administer the Local Medical Student Scholarship scheme.


Prime Super Community of the Year - Population over 15,000 Award

Cancer Care Western NSW is a recognised national service provider supplying a vital support service for cancer patients in regional NSW. Cancer Care Western NSW successfully engaged the region and local communities in order to fund the $5.4 million building of the Western Care Lodge. The Lodge provides accommodation for cancer patients who are undertaking treatment at the Centre. They are now fundraising for Clinical Cancer Trials to provide life enhancement and extension for many of the regions cancer patients.


CRT Agricultural Community Achiever Award

Colin Seis of Gulgong is a 4th generation farmer and his 2,000 acre property “Winona” runs 4,000 merino sheep, has cereal grain crops, native grass seed production and a Kelpie working dog Stud. Colin is co- pioneer and developer of “Pasture Cropping”, an innovative technique of zero tilling crops directly into perennial pastures, without killing the pasture. Colin has spent many years educating farmers and scientists about the need to use farming methods that will regenerate farms and the world’s ecosystems. His methods are being adopted by farmers, in many countries around the world.


MOA Benchmarking Community Service in Aged Care

Neil Pitt of Elermore Valley represents the spirit of volunteering, assisting residents at Koombahla Aged Care Facility every day of the year. He provides social interaction, plays cards and reads newspapers to residents. Neil has contributed over 7,500 hours and still managers to visit friends and neighbours in other aged care facilities as well. He has developed a range of small group activities to assist residents with mental health and social inclusion and utilises his talent as a poet. In 2013, Neil was named Volunteer of the Year in the Hunter Valley Aged Care Awards.


Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award

Charles O'Neill Hostel - Catholic Healthcare of Mayfield is a unique 40 bed Aged Care Facility catering for the socially and financially disadvantaged. These people have often been turned away from other facilities due to their complex behaviours and needs. Each of the 28 staff play an integral role in managing the needs of the residents and are offered flexible working conditions, job share opportunities and breaks when needed. To meet resident’s individual needs, the staff get together to brainstorm ideas to devise a very specific mental health care plan for each resident.


Dobija Print World Events & Tourism Award

Boggabri Drovers Campfire is a true, lasting and unforgettable “country experience” celebrating the camaraderie of Aussie drovers. Week-end activities include shearing demonstrations, damper and camp oven cooking, poets, working dogs and heavy horse demonstrations and campfire sing-alongs. Created 10 years ago by the Drovers Campfire committee, the event has grown from 27 to 500 caravans and attracts families, young adults and single caravaners. The Boggabri community has eagerly embraced the event, with 260 volunteers - 21% of the town’s population, guaranteeing visitors a personalised, friendly, local welcome during their stay.



2014 Winners

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust Corporate Managers Award

Lake Menindee Plantation Reserve Trust

The Sunset Strip Village Progress Association was established to build community facilities on the Lake Menindee Plantation Reserve. The Trust volunteers have constructed a number of facilities on the Reserve including a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, community hall, water supply and street lights. The Trust volunteers undertake all community services, maintenance and the running of these facilities. Today, the Village has 135 properties with 28 occupied permanently and the remainder as holiday weekenders. The volunteers have completed over 76 local projects since 2012 and have secured over $100,000 in funding to assist in completing these projects. The Progress Association are now undertaking new projects to upgrade the boat ramp, applying for funding for a new tractor, and establishing rabbit proof fencing and the drought proofing project within the community.

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust Community Managers Award

Bega Showground Trust has benefited from the services of seven dedicated Trustees who devote many hours of volunteer service in managing and caring for the Crown Reserve. As a community facility, the Bega Showground is the only facility in the area which can accommodate large numbers, and is used regularly for local meetings and events including the Annual Far South Coast National Show. With the support from local business and the community, the Showground Trust have carried out major work including repairs and upgrades to the broadcast box, construction of stables, bar, kiosks, a caretaker’s cottage, farmyard nursery, solar panels and a bitumen driveway. With a passion for the environment, Trust members have adopted a water saving project on the Reserve to collect rain water run-off, which can be used for ground maintenance along with installing a ground water bore. The trust is now working towards designing an upgrade of the Showground’s kitchen facilities.

The Prime Super Community of the Year Award Population Under 15,000

Warrae Wanni - Muswellbrook South Public School 

Established in 2007, Warrae Wanni schools pathways program based at Muswellbrook South Public School targets children who do not attend or have limited access to preschool or other early childhood learning programs. The Warrae Wanni program provides a variety of fun and educational activities, which not only prepare children for Kindergarten but also develops relationships between the children, their families and the school community. Warrae Wanni helps families to access and connect with other community services and it provides early intervention for children requiring the services of speech and occupational therapy through community health services. In addition to these services, all children attending Warrae Wanni have their vision and hearing assessed prior to starting kindergarten. Additional funding, has allowed the program to employ an Aboriginal teacher’s aide to support the Aboriginal families who attend this service.

The Prime Super Community of the Year Award Population Over 15,000

Byron Bay Community Association Incorporated is a social enterprise providing services and support to disadvantaged and low income members of their community. They deliver high quality cultural and community participation programs to connect and enrich the lives of local residents. Over the course of a year, the Byron Community Centre assists over 30,000 disadvantaged, poor and homeless individuals from the community through programs and initiatives including Emergency food relief and assistance to those in financial crisis, a No interest loan Scheme, financial counselling and Tax Assistance, counselling services, a local soup kitchen and a local refugee program. With a team of 250 volunteers who man reception, the Box Office, provide Venue Management Support, ushering, IT and financial services, the Byron Bay Community Association has become an essential hub for community members throughout the region.

The Peabody Environment and Landcare Award

Ray Thompson has shown outstanding achievements in restoring and revegetating over 33,000 hectares of scalded semi-arid rangelands in Western New south Wales using the Water Ponding technique over the last 32 years. By Water Ponding scalded country, Ray can protect and enhance ground cover, stop water and wind erosion and return the scald land back to a productive environmentally healthy ecosystem. Ray is spreading the Water Ponding technique all over Australia and the world. Ray has trained over 71 Africans over the past 3 years and he recently conducted 4 bus tours where he trained another 29 Aus Aid African trainees, from 16 African countries. Ray has also had many speaking and education engagements around his Water Ponding technique and recently lectured for over 37 University engagements. He has also conducted two community field days to promote and encourage the use of Water Ponding within agriculture.

The Elite Coatings Regional Service Award

Alf Cantrell has contributed countless hours of service to his community spanning over 60 years. Alf has contributed to the declining community through the purchase of a general store and gift store providing meals for travellers and local pensioners, where the Cantrell family have served up to 52 meals a day from their own purse. To help uplift the community spirit, over the last 8 years Alf has been striving to improve the town’s facilities by building, planning, mowing and developing the gardens and facilities in the main street to encourage traffic and dollars to be spent in town. Recently, Alf has been involved in planning a community celebration for the 1st November to celebrate the 100th anniversary for the sailing of the first Australian and New Zealand Troops to the Great War. Alf has had huge success as one of the volunteer organisers of the Towns major festivals such as the Mulga Bill Festival and the Banjo Patterson More than a Poet Festival, which have generated income and spirit for the town of Yeoval.

The Dobija Print World Events and Tourism Award

Brunswick Old and Gold Festival, held annually on the Far North Coast during the June long  is heekend, the Brunswick Heads Old and Gold Festival celebrates all things old, second hand and recycled and encourages tourism within the small town of Brunswick Heads. The event attracts over 10,000 people with the whole town holding All Town Garage Sales, four secondhand and collectables fairs, and family friendly old fashioned affordable fun. The Old and Gold Festival has encouraged over eleven secondhand businesses specialising in recycling and vintage products to open up which have become tourism attractions all year round within the community. Recently over 19 community groups raised $9,000 during the event. With a new one day format, the Brunswick Old and Gold Festival hopes to continue to increase tourism within the region providing opportunities for local business and community stimulus in future events.


2013 Winners

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust Corporate Managers Award

Tumit Shire Council - Adelong Falls are the trustees for the Adelong Falls Reserve including the heritage listed industrial site, the Adelong Falls Gold Mills Ruins. The ruins and the reserve of 60 hectares have been subject of considerable conservation, restoration and repairs following the devastating floods of 2010 and 2012. Following the floods, the trustees undertook extensive work to make the site more accessible and the ruins more stabilized and have revitalized the reserve entrance, developed a re-vegetation project and an outdoor classroom and resource pack on ‘Life among the ruins’ for use by schools. The importance of the site was recognized by Heritage Engineers Australia whom awarded the site a Heritage Engineers marker. The Trustees are dedicated to improving the reserve as a major tourist attraction and place for cultural importance, with the new upgrades already proving to result in an increase of tourism.

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust Community Managers Award

Binya Public Hall Trust volunteers look after and maintain Binya Hall in South West NSW. The hall is used for local events and as a central meeting place in the small community. The volunteers of the Trust have had an active 12 months completing the construction of a disabled entrance, the installation of gas heating and granting of a function liquor license which they hope will increase the number of events hosted at the Hall. The Trust actively promotes the Hall and encourages community members to be involved with the Trust including participating in the Binya Cleanup and local community initiatives. Recently, the Trust volunteers designed and printed their own cookbook and tea towel which they sell at the local Post Office to raise funds for future developments on the Crown Land. Overcoming a variety of challenges, the Binya Hall volunteers continue to be innovative and creating a great meeting place for their community.

The Fantastic Furniture Indigenous Achievement Award

Brinae West is a young indigenous leader. 22 year old Brinae has become an inspiring role model for indigenous people within her community and the broader NSW. Brinae is heavily involved with PCYC and promotes programs that instil positive messages for all young people. At her local PCYC Brinae helped to roll out the Nation of Origins Program, which was a part of a state wide program involving over 500 boys and girls between 15-16 years to encourage reconciliation with Non Indigenous participants. Having studied Traditional Dance and Drama at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts in Brisbane, Brinae encourages other young indigenous people to study the traditions of their culture to improve awareness and respect of their communities. Brinae is passionate about encouraging and teaching young people to aspire to reach their goals and overcome stereotypes often associated with Indigenous culture. Brinae has been involved in a variety of local, national and international conferences and events and was selected to represent Australia in the USA for the World Youth Conference.

The Fantastic Furniture Youth Leadership Award

CHYFM is a volunteer led community radio station delivering formal announcer and radio management training programs to young people, with a focus on disadvantaged and ‘at-risk’ young people within the Coffs Harbour Community. CHYFM is in its 40th year, with over 4,000 graduates, and is led by Australia’s youngest station manager, herself a graduate of the volunteer training program. Operating under a Program Committee of young people, CHYFM initiatives include the Speaking Hour Lingo program for young Kooris, a TAFE Outreach program, and a Youth Current Affairs program. CHYFM provides a pivotal role in the community, as the only ‘foot in the door’ for students of all ages to gain valuable experience in the media industry before embarking on their careers.

The Prime Super Community of the Year Award Population Under 15,000

San Remo Neighbourhood Centre is a non for profit organisation on the Central Coast providing support for the most vulnerable in the community such as the long-term unemployed, those with mental health issues and the poverty stricken. The Centre and its volunteers connect and engage these people to their community through diverse programs and services. Working with the community, the Neighbourhood Centre has formed a Community Drug Action Team, a local men’s shed, a youth behavioural management program and a local employment service to name a few. The Neighbourhood Centre has established a number of partnerships with local services, local business and community groups to ensure all members of the community have access to services which improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.


The Prime Super Community of the Year Award Population Over 15,000

Communities@Work - Yellow Van Food Rescue rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded, and distributes this to charities in Canberra and surrounding NSW. Since its establishment as a charity in 2008, each month The Yellow Van Food Rescue has recovered over 20 tonnes of good food from Supermarkets, food retailers, restaurants, caterers, manufacturers and even corporate offices, which has in turn allowed them to provide 60,000 meals to disadvantaged people in the community. Since 2008, 2.5 million meals have been produced and delivered to those in need within the community saving local charities in the ACT over $3.5 million in food costs, allowing charities to divert 'food funds' to other worthwhile purposes such as rehabilitation, housing or employment.

The Peabody Environment and Landcare Award

Australian Seabird Rescue Inc members passionately advocate to reduce the human impacts on the environment. In the past year the members have maintained vigilant patrols of beaches, creeks and waterways along the NSW coastline rescuing wildlife, removing tonnes of rubbish and raising public awareness. The group continue to lead the way in development of improved capture, handling, transport and rehabilitation of pelicans and over 120 other species of marine birds. The organisation specialises in the care of penguins, and operates the second busiest sea turtle hospital in Australia. The Australian Seabird Rescue volunteers invest considerable time and effort raising community awareness about issues affecting coastal wildlife. The mobile teams attend festivals, markets, shopping centres and schools with pop-up displays and fundraising points to promote wildlife advocacy and clean living. The Australian Seabird Rescue WildlifeLink Sanctuary in Ballina attracts over 6,000 visitors a year to their one hour public talk and tours which operate daily during the school holidays.

The Essential Energy Regional Service Award

Elsie Gordon is a Murrawarri woman, from Dubbo. For eighteen years, Elsie Gordon has worked in a women’s housing program and has been involved in numerous community activities including being a part of community committees especially in relation to domestic and family violence issues. Elsie has held a range of positions in the community sector through both paid and volunteer positions from Aboriginal Support Worker through to Coordinator. Elsie is now employed by TAFE Western as a part-time teacher in Dubbo where she currently teaches Aboriginal students to gain qualifications in Social Housing and has also assisted students in preparation for the entry into CSU NSW Police Force for Aboriginal people. Elsie is someone who demonstrates strong work ethic and commitment to people experiencing disadvantage. Elsie is a natural teacher who has been recognized for her life experience and is now contributing to stimulus and course outlines at Dubbo TAFE.

The Speciality Press Events and Tourism Award

The King of the Ranges Stockmans Challenge and Bush Festival is a four day annual event, that celebrates the traditional skills of Australian stockmen and women through a variety of competitions, demonstrations, activities and entertainment in a family friendly setting. The Challenge and Bush Festival also offers a variety of opportunities to local businesses and local trades including saddleries and machinists to exhibit and sell their wares throughout the event, promoting a ‘buy local, live local’ message. The Challenge has successfully helped to strengthen partnerships within the community by encouraging many local groups to fundraise and volunteer throughout the festival which attracted over 5,000 people this year. In 2013, the local men’s shed, local schools and charity groups were estimated to have fundraised a total of $20,000. As a unique and one of a kind event, The King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge and Bush Festival has been recognised as a ‘ trailblazer event’ for regional NSW.

The University of Newcastle Business Achievement Award

The Flagstaff Group was established in 1966 as an Australian Disability Enterprise and operates as a not for profit organisation. Flagstaff Group is the Illawarra and Shoalhaven’s leading Social and Commercial Enterprise, committed to creating meaningful employment for people with a disability. Flagstaff employs 320 staff of whom 258 are people with a disability and 85% of the revenue from commercial operations provide opportunities for employment to people with a disability. The business operates in 6 sustainable business divisions across 2 sites located in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven such as Fine Foods, Laundry, Light Engineering, Print, Mail and electronic records management. The Flagstaff Group constantly look for ways to enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities by increasing their skills and knowledge through training, support and experience and have since developed a ‘Workskills Program’ and a ‘Flagstaff Vocational Pathways Program’ to assist their clients to strive independently in the workforce.

2012 Winners

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust – Corporate Managers Award

Narrandera Shire Council manages the Crown Reserve Trusts of Lake Talbot and the Flora and Fauna Reserve. Both Reserves are linked by walking and cycling tracks around the Lake Talbot foreshore and include a tourist park, recreation facilities and also hosts ecological reserves. The Council and community are very active in organising significant numbers to be involved in on site working bees and other initiatives for the improvement of the Reserves. In partnership with landcare groups, cyclists, the fishing club and other community groups, they have managed to include Willows around the lake, install control structures on the waterways, restore key walking tracks through the reserve, wetland and riparian restoration, install boat ramps and cycle tracks with many more future planning activities.

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust – Community Managers Award

Gresford Park Trust comprises of 7 members which coordinate the grounds on a user pay basis with the trust now being totally self- sufficient. The reserve has several permanent users of the showground including the Gresford District Agricultural Society, Gresford District Bushman’s Carnival Association, and a variety of sporting organisations throughout the community. Since the grounds inception an estimated $13.5 million has been injected into the facility and the Showground in turn have estimated to have injected over $950,000 into the community. The Trust implement a variety of stages within their improvements of the ground to maximise the showgrounds potential to become a venue of regional significance. Stage 3 is currently in progression to increase the camping areas of the trust. Stage 4 is planned which will consist of the construction of a new amenities block.

The NSW Trade & Investment - Business Development Organisation Award

Deniliquin Business Chamber was established in 1940, as a local non for profit organisation, the Deniliquin Business Chamber is the largest representative body for business and industry groups within their region. Representing over 150 businesses the Chamber offers opportunities to businesses within a 10km radius by providing cost-effective marketing and public relations tools to improve business growth and financial bottom-line. With support from the local council, the Chamber has established a variety of initiatives, projects and events such as a bi- monthly newsletter called Chamber Talk, The Deni & Districts Wedding Expo, and a successful Business Awards. All the projects have proven to be successful in increasing participation and business support within the community. More recently in the last year the Chamber introduced a Work Skills program to address gaps that exist in the town for training and job opportunities.

The NSW Department Trade and Investment - Events & Tourism Award

Illawarra Folk Festival of Wollongong, was established in 1986 is now recognised as NSW's biggest and most diverse folk festival. Each January the Bulli Showground in Wollongong is transformed into a global village with 150 international, national and local acts. For four days this year, 9,000 people enjoyed the sounds of folk, world, acoustic, Celtic, bluegrass and gypsy music as well as poetry, dances, workshops, parades and sessions. The Illawarra Folk Festival is completely organised by a working committee of around 40 members, which grows to 320 during the festival, many of the organisers and volunteers are local musicians, dancers, poets and other performers. This year over 500 artist applications were received by the committee and 150 were selected to perform in 350 events during the festival period. With support from the local community, the Illawarra Folk Festival generated over $1 million in tourism and economic stimulus for the local community and the Illawarra Region.

The Salvation Army Employment Plus - Business & Employment Award

Chill at Evans Cafe of Evans Head and its initiatives started by the Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre and its youth centre has become a point of contact, mediation and a positive place for young people within Evans Head. The Cafe offers employment and hospitality training opportunities for young people to help build a skill base and foundation for future employment. The Café more recently employed two young people with disabilities and since their employment within the Café, they have gained the confidence to participate in school with significant improvement in educational results. Through a partnership with Home and Community Care Services in the area, the Café offer a variety of initiatives which encourage the elderly and isolated in their community to interact with others. Due to the wide community engagement, the Café is now a financially self-sustaining business, contributing sustainability to the Evans Head business community.

The Peabody - Environment and Landcare Award

Little River Landcare Group Inc of Yeoval works with over 300 farming businesses and has a membership of 176 farmers and 470 individuals. Members of the Group and the local community are engaged and involved within environmental projects and capacity building activities such as field days, workshops, seminars and printed and electronic resources to encourage environmental sustainability in the region. The Group actively work with the three schools in their area, educating about the environment and soil erosion. Through their holistic approach they are proud to have not lost a farmer within their region in 7 years in what they refer to as their - “Suicide Pledge”. In the past year, the Little River Landcare Group have continued to work with landholders in the area on their ‘Solar Initiative’ program. They have currently encouraged over 70 landholders in the area to install solar energy systems which have assisted to reduce local emissions equivalent to the removal of 130 cars off local roads.

The Prime Super - Regional & Rural Development Award

Clover Hill Diaries of Jamberoo is a 7th generation, family owned and operated business and are an industry leading primary producer who support the; “support local, buy local, spend local and a hire local mentality”. Clover Hill Dairies is a sustainable and environmentally conscience farm, the owners Lynne and Michael Strong have established the Lemon Grove Research Farm for the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the University of Sydney, who undertake pharmaceutical milk and pasture trials on the property. The Strong’s are passionate about inspiring those within their community to enter the Agricultural Industry, employing 8 young people along with training 4 young apprentices. Lynne is especially passionate about creating connections and networks within the farming industry and has established Art4Agriculture initiatives including: The Archibull Prize, The Cream of the Crop Competition, Young Farming Champions - Bridging the Rural Urban Divide, Young Eco Champions and The Confidence to Grow Initiative.

The Essential Energy - Regional Service Award

Barbara O'Brien of Gulargambone, as a regional nurse and more recently as a Health Service Manager at the Gulargambone Hospital, Barbara has dedicated her life to serving others within the isolated Gulargambone District. Barbara as a Councillor for Coonamble Council as well as President of Two Eight Two Eight, an advocator for youth and more recently been involved in initiatives to keep jobs in town and provide training to young people is a multi-faceted volunteer. Barbara’s biggest accomplishment is the local café called Two Eight Two Eight which was established in 2005 with the help of the Local Council. Through encouragement and perseverance, Barbara has managed to encourage over 200 volunteers from in and around the district to man the café. Two Eight Two Eight has now become a tourist attraction and community hub and boosts a café, craft shop, art gallery, second hand bookshop, and a quality catering service for the community.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries - Community of the Year Award (population under 15,000)

Tottenham Welfare Council,  faced with loss of medical services Tottenham’s 950 people rallied together to establish the Tottenham Welfare Council. In the last year the council have refurbished the Tottenham Airport installing fencing, lighting and sealing of the major runway to provide emergency air ambulance services. Locals raised $180,000 and contributed 2,000 plus volunteer hours, plus machinery to produce the airstrip, which was opened in April. The Tottenham Welfare Council has trained 5 locals as Volunteer Ambulance Officers, enhancing the local capacity to respond to emergencies and guaranteeing the continuation of the local ambulance service. After 4 years without a doctor in the community, The Welfare Council also recruited a highly qualified full time doctor from the UK which helped the Council establish a successful marketing plan to advertise the community and the opportunity internationally.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries - Community of the Year Award (population over 15,000)

Towns With Heart Inc of Kurri Kurri is a non for profit community association that are passionate about delivering quality projects and initiatives which enhance and benefit Kurri Kurri and its region in the Hunter Region of NSW. Through a variety of community based initiatives, including The Mural Project, The Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, the Visitor Information Centre and Gift Gallery, The Towns with Heart Inc. have lifted the regions profile and have encouraged thousands of national and international visitors to the region while creating and sustaining community morale. Towns with Heart Inc. are active in volunteer recruiting initiatives, through community presentations and media exposure within the region Towns with Heart Inc. ensure a prominent presence in the community by attending other community group meetings, setting up displays at market days and speaking at Rotary and Business Chamber meetings to increase community awareness and encourage participation in up and coming community projects.

2011 Winners

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust – Corporate Managers Award

Dubbo City Council, as the Trustees of the Victoria Park Trust upgraded their creation of a regional recreational precinct to include an Australian standard skate park and bowl, all access playgrounds and an outdoor fitness centre. The recent establishment of ‘Livies Place’, a children’s playground has allowed a place for the special needs children of the region to come and play and interact with other children; playing side by side with those who are abled allows the playground to become a beacon of acceptance in the local community. Through the recent redevelopment work in Victoria Park, Dubbo City Council is the first regional city in Australia to have implemented the policies and principals of the Federal Governments - Child Friendly Cities Initiative.

The Crown Lands Crown Reserve Trust – Community Trust Award

The Rollands Plains Recreation Reserve Trust a multi-purpose facility is located on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Recent projects to improve local amenities include a renovated canteen and bar areas, new fencing on their camp-draft yards, new toilet and shower facilities, upgrades to water supply and the upgrade of local sports ground. The Trust anticipates the recent upgrades will assist with attracting bigger events which will in turn boost economic benefits for the business and local community. The Trustees aim to be a fully self-funded regional facility within 5 years, providing a social, sporting and economic benefit to their local community for years to come.

The NSW Trade & Investment - Business Development Organisation Award

Nelson Bay and District Business Chamber Limited has over 120 members, and have created community events such as Tastes at the Bay, Sculptures by the Bay, Festival of the Sea and the Blue Water Country Music Festival, helping to stimulate the local economy in low ‘tourist seasons’ throughout the year. By promoting the town, as a viable tourism destination all year round and by creating a business environment that works in unison with each other, the Chamber develops new ideas such as ‘Business after hours’ networking sessions and marketing plans for the town Centre. The Chamber continues to pioneer and highlights the opportunities to build business and build a brand which positions Nelson Bay as the heart of Port Stephens.

The NSW Trade & Investment - Events & Tourism Award

Moorambilla Festival of Coonamble, was created to give the community cultural expression and drive musical excellence that help develop cultural diversity and social capital in the region. Since its inception in 2005, the Morrambilla Festival has attracted over 150 families to Coonamble for children to perform and experience the Festival. The Moorambilla Festival plays a key role in encouraging, mentoring and boosting local business along with growing tourism in the region. The Festival generates more than $40,000 annually for the local community. The Committee hope’s to continue to encourage people to visit the region, and looks forward to the Festival growing to include and attract a larger number of choirs in the future.


The Salvation Army Employment Plus - Business & Employment Award

Renewable Recyclers of Fairy Meadow, focuses on reducing, reusing and recycling electronic waste or E-waste, the organisation looks to create green jobs and training opportunities for those who have been affected by unemployment in their local community. Renewable Recyclers is working towards a sustainable Illawarra by creating jobs in above ground mining and offers a culturally diverse and flexible working environment. Renewable Recyclers have invested time and money into large staff management programs, occupation health and safety courses and on the job training to increase staff safety and up skilling of staff. Renewable Recyclers continue to grow and hope to influence the lives of others by offering more job placements to those most affected by unemployment.


The Peabody - Environment and Landcare Award

Bega Cheese Limited of Bega, is committed to helping local dairy farmers be sustainable and reduce their environmental footprint through the implementation of an environmental management system in conjunction with Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority. With over 90% of Bega and Eurobodalla dairy farmers involved with the program, significant increases in knowledge and skills, correct management practices and environmental improvements have occurred in the local area. Through these positive practices and implementation of vegetation to the waterways, Bega Cheese Limited and its famers have managed to reduce the risk of sediment and enhance the quality of local waterways, providing a positive impact to local biodiversity and the local community.

The Prime Super - Regional & Rural Development Award

Tyrex Solutions of Cardiff, is an Australian manufacturer of durable quality products produced from used car tyres, and are suitable across a diverse industry sector including mining, business, retail, hospitality, aged and disability care. The small team at Tyrex has harnessed partnerships with local industry leaders to provide sustainable and reliable products ensuring environmental waste and landfill is minimised. Tyrex believe in supporting the economic viability of their region; by supplying and supporting local customers and suppliers their region is reaping the economic benefits. The dedicated employees continue to develop new and innovative recycled products and work to achieve environmental sustainability and drive regional development for today, and future generations.

The Essential Energy - Regional Service Award

Suzanne Reynolds of Manildra, has given over thirty years of service to the community of Manildra and was recently awarded the 2011 Australian Citizen for Manildra Award. Sue has been involved in many improvements made to the Manildra community in her capacity as the president of the Manildra and District Improvement Association. One of her greatest achievements was the establishment of a voluntary Honorary Ambulance group, where she served as an Ambulance Officer and coordinator for six years. Sue is currently involved with the progress association in developing a skate park, with seating, playground equipment and toilet amenities. Sue’s passion and her enthusiasm for all things community will continue to see her hold an active role in Manildra.

The Crown Lands - Community of the Year Award (population under 15,000)

Ariah Park Community, Community Projects Committee is focused on promoting Ariah Park as a viable district to attract tourism and stimulate economic growth. In 2010, the community established its own website to increase tourism for Ariah Park and is now improving signage around their region to encourage tourism along with producing tourism brochures to promote the local community. As a community they have saved the Ariah Park Café, maintained Broken Dam Heritage Area and the local Museum and started upgrades to the Main Street of Ariah Park. As a very active committee they have also built senior housing to keep local community members in the town as long as possible. The Committee provide a link between residents and the local council.

The Crown Lands - Community of the Year Award (population over 15,000)

Australian Inland Botanic Gardens of Buronga, is a riverine site of 150 hectares, is a not for profit organisation run by volunteers. The site provides a sustainable and growing resource for the local community and an educational platform for Nine district schools. The schools and local TAFE students are engaged in volunteer programs to assist with maintenance of the gardens and in turn provide an invaluable local resource for horticultural studies. The Gardens also provide an opportunity for local people with disabilities to volunteer and meet Centrelink requirements. The Gardens have become a venue for local events and an avenue for tourism in the local area. The volunteers hope the gardens remain an integral part of the community for years to come.


2010 Winners

The NSW Industry & Investment Business Enterprise Award

Barellan & District Progress Association is celebrating its 100th year and encompasses not only the town of Barellan, but also the surrounding districts of Binya and Moombooldool. Despite hardships and times of drought the Barellan community have been active in promoting a strong community spirit and have aimed to encourage social interaction and involvement within the community. They have encouraged community participation in events and town development, while also improving & helping to build on volunteer skills and knowledge.

The NSW Industry & Investment Events and Tourism Award

Spirit of the Land of Lockhart, was established in 2007 with its main objectives to provide "relief" from the impact of drought, and explore opportunities for alternative economic development. Lockhart’s Spirit of the Land Festival hosts an Australia’s only National Farm Sculpture awards for art created from recycled metal, farm materials and elements of the land. Fine arts and indigenous exhibitions, Dunny and Shed tours, singers, dancers, bands, musicians, open garden tours and huge markets are just some of the key items visitors will experience at the Festival.

The Salvation Army Employment Plus Employment and Training Award

Break Thru People Solution NSW Western Region Dubbo, is a not for profit organisation providing Disability Employment, transition to work and community participation for School leavers and life choices programs to disadvantaged people. Break Thru People Solutions service 209 people with disabilities and have become a pro-active organisation within their community. Through their continuous improvement to services, surveying clients and staff they ensure they are delivering best practice and assisting to boost their community through job placement.


The Peabody Environment and Landcare Award

Declan Clausen fosters lifelong environmental citizenship amongst students, teachers and the community and encourages them to seek solutions to environmental problems. Declan has actively changed the perceptions and practices of people he encounters within his community. Declan is involved with ClimateCam, Waterwatch, Envirotho and a passionate Earth Hour Ambassador for Newcastle City Council. Declan is responsible for setting up many projects and education programs at his school and he is determined to ensure his environmental role will continue when he completes school.

The NSW Land & Property Management Authority Crown Reserve Trust Corporate Managers Award

Silverton Village Community Reserve Trust established in 1999, manages and maintains 13 reserves in Silverton. They govern village polices and coordinate 50 volunteers which make up the whole towns population. The committee has undertaken restoration and maintenance of the heritage structures and improvements across the entire village including street signage, a village colour scheme, heritage trail with interpretive signage. The committee aims to undertake positive improvements and coordinate management with integration into the whole community assets and village promotion.

The NSW Land & Property Management Authority Crown Reserve Trust Community Trust Award

Banjo Patterson Park Trust of Yeoval, committee took over a degraded and overstocked land six years ago and have since turned the trust around by planting hundreds of trees, controlling extensive erosion and eradicating weeds. In the six years the park has been established they have installed and upgraded picnic shelters, solar toilets and a sculpture park at the starting point of the Yeoval Poets Walk. These developed facilities and attractions, attract travellers and tourists to stop and enjoy what Banjo Patterson Park Trust has to offer.

The NSW Land & Property Management Authority Community of the Year Award (population under 15,000)

Cumnock & District Progress Association is a not for profit community organisation that has been established for over 50 years supporting their community through local initiatives like the Rent a Farm House Scheme and Animals On Bikes. The Progress Association has been instrumental in increasing their towns population by 29%, through the Rent a Farm House Scheme for $1 promotion, a program that without, the community may not have survived. The Progress Association are leaders showcasing an opportunity for other regional towns to increase population and tourism for their communities.

The NSW Land & Property Management Authority Community of the Year Award (population over 15,000)

Tweed Pallative Support Inc is a non-funded organisation operated solely by trained volunteers who have established a professional and caring service for patients requiring at home palliative support, a service that prides itself on assisting people stay out of nursing homes and to remain in their home environment. Since 1999 Tweed Palliative Support trained volunteers have provided respite, transport to and from doctor’s appointments and treatment centres, provided free loan of equipment and assisted with hands on personal care to more than 1,200 clients, their families and their carer’s.

2009 Winners

The Department of Industry & Investment Business Enterprise Award

Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce Inc has a current membership of 84 and is a proactive and well networked organisation, representing a business sector of 116 businesses. The Chamber fulfils a leadership role and drives and coordinates most of the planning processes and town projects with the input from the community and sub committees. The Chamber believes that community prosperity and business prosperity go hand in hand. The efforts of the group have seen fantastic success for the region, giving it the building blocks for an inspirational community for many more generations.

The Department of Industry & Investment Events and Tourism Award

Mungindi Music Festival Committee, on the long weekend in October every second year, Mungindi host a festival, where people come from far and wide to the isolated community of 600 to celebrate the arts and music of the region and country. The festival is now building a tourism aspect to a somewhat isolated and agriculturally dependant town, bringing a true sense of pride to its residents. The committee is now holding a series of financial and educational workshops to ensure the town can grow to its full potential and continue to become one of the states most sought after regional events. The most important element is the cooperation of the community, it ensures the future of the town and the growth of its economy and wellbeing.


The Integral Energy Regional Service Award

Juan Alvarez of CambwarraUAN has been involved with a number of activities within his community including being the instigator and on the committee to build the Basin View Retirement Village a facility that was missing in the area. He has also actively raised funds for the NSW Surf life saving, Cambewarra Rural Fire Brigade and Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra. Juan also established Hands Across NSW, a non profit organisation that enables local farmers and the communities in the Shoalhaven to help more disadvantaged farmers across NSW who have been impacted upon by the drought. Activities of Hands include providing toys for children at Christmas, free household water cartage and respite care to those at risk of suicide or depression.

The Kleenheat Gas Environment and Landcare Award

Mid Coast Dairy Advancement Group Inc of Taree or DAGs as they are known in their local region, help represent an enormous 155 hard working dairy farms, across the Mid Coast region, through 4 council areas in NSW. By implementing and supporting the Farmers Target for Change program, DAGs has been able to successfully engage with the local farmers in areas of landcare and sustainability, finding them feasible solutions and implementing strategies that minimise environmental impacts. DAGs has developed the tools to enable the farmers to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to the ever-changing agricultural and Australian environment.

The Land & Property Management Authority Crown Reserve Trust- Corporate Manager’s Award

Lady Denman Management Committee of Huskisson, established in 1979, was initially formed to return the ‘Lady Denman’ ferry to Huskisson on the NSW South Coast where it was built. In 1981 Shoalhaven City Council leased a parcel of Crown land to provide a permanent berth for the ferry and establish a maritime museum. The trust has since then developed assets on the reserve worth over $10 million dollars and has gained multiple awards for the heritage complex they constructed. The complex provides not only a tourism attraction, but employs three full-time equivalent staff and has around 180 volunteers at any one time.

The Land & Property Management Authority Crown Reserve Trust
- Community Trust Award

Broken Hill Regional Events Centre Reserve Trust, Board comprises of only five volunteers. In 2009 the Trust delivered the Broken Hill Regional Events Centre, a multi-dimensional convention centre and catering ability for in excess of 1,000 people. The Pavilion is the largest single floor conference space in the Far Western Region of NSW. The Trust raised $700,000 in grants and received extensive in-kind materials and labour from the local community. The improvement of the facilities has ensured that the asset is one of value and has created sustainable community income.

The NSW Land & Property Management Authority Community of the Year Award (population under 15,000)

Rural Care Like Drought Relief Team of Jindera, was formed 16 years ago and in 2006 the committee decided to become involved in assisting rural communities cope, with the present drought. The Drought Relief Team was formed to put into place a system of contact people, to reach out to farmers, families and businesses in need. The Team not only provide assistance in the form of a hamper, they also act as a referral and provide access to various government bodies for financial advice. The Team has been supported by the wider community and because of this assistance, has been able to supply over 10,000 hampers and gifts since this project commenced.

The NSW Land & Property Management Authority Community of the Year Award (population over 15,000)

Power of Choice of Port Macquarieis a driver and passenger awareness program delivered to every high school in the Port Macquarie region aimed at saving lives on the road. The program commenced in 2005 and since its introduction no P plate driver has been killed in a car accident, where previously there were several fatal accidents. The program focuses on the consequence of poor choices and delivered in a confronting way with SES Fire Service to demonstrate a crash scene. The rescue retrieval scenario is followed by classroom presentations from police, local court magistrates, accident victims, ambulance officers and professional driving educators.