Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards

2015 Winners of the Regional Achievement and Community Awards  


Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award

AME Systems Of Ararat, was founded in 1977 and is a proud Australian, privately owned business, employing 230 people with an annual turnover in excess of $35 million. They are the leading Australian owned manufacturer of quality electrical wiring and vehicle harness, electrical assembly boards and control boxes and power distribution systems for heavy transport. AME Systems value their staff and systems improvement; committing last year to $200k in staff training. The recipient of multiple regional awards, AME Systems is also an inductee of the Victorian Manufacturing ‘Hall of Fame’.


Regional Development Victoria Leadership and Innovation Award
Bill Mithen of Geelong, is the “Face” and “Voice” of Give Where You Live’ Media and Publicity Campaign. Since his appointment as CEO of Give Where You Live Foundation in 2011, Bill’s passion and drive have created “game-changing opportunities” in the efforts to address disadvantage in the Geelong region. Bill’s creativity and initiative, planning and execution of fund raising, grant making and community development strategies has resulted in over 100 community volunteers involved in grant assessment panels. $2 million in grants has been given to 57 local service organisations in 2015-16, reaching 20,000 regional people.


Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award
Ballarat Community Health Of Lucas, was founded by community members 40 years ago to address community health issues. They remain a membership based and driven, not-for-profit organisation working to promote and enhance the health and wellbeing of its community. 140 staff is employed, including GP’s, Allied Health Professionals, Counsellors, Nurses and Health Promotion Officers with outlets in Ballarat, Wendouree, Sebastopol, and Smythesdale. Ballarat Community Health has received many awards, including the Living Longer Living Stronger Award, the Older Worker of the Year and the Community Safety Award. 


South West TAFE and Deakin University South West Regional Achiever Award
Geraldine Edar of Warrnambool, is the facilitator of the Alternative To Schoolies program. Open to post-VCE and VCAL students from Warrnambool City, Moyne and Corangamite Shires, the program involves small groups participating in humanitarian work in local Philippine villages. Milestones include the building, outfitting and resourcing of a village school library in Indangan and the complete refurbishment of classrooms. Geraldine currently works as a Youth Development Officer with the Moyne Shire, and uses her annual leave to travel to the Philippines with each group, showing her passion and dedication to the program.


Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
The Great Aussie Beer Shed & Heritage Farm Museum in Echuca, was opened by Neil Thomas in 2003 and is a private collection of beer related products and historical Australiana items collected over a 40 year period. Accommodation is available and functions are catered for in The Heritage Function Centre. On show are over 18,000 empty beer cans from around the world, a blacksmiths workshop, shearing shed, milking shed and farm machinery. Children are encourage to be hands on and every customer gets a personalised tour of the complex.


Prime Super Community Group of the Year Award
One & All Inclusion Project of Echuca has, since its inception in 2009 fostered an ethos of inclusion for all abilities, breaking down social barriers, building mutual respect and overcoming discriminatory attitudes. Peer Buddy’s mentor, train and participate with a person who has a disability in recreation and community activities; such as last year’s debutant ball where 68 secondary school students partnered a person living with a disability to make their debut. A part-time project officer is supported by many volunteers helping to plan, coach and participate in programs.


Parks Victoria Environmental Sustainability Award
City of Greater Geelong’s Greenway Project is an ambitious 5 year community project to revegetate 21km of The Ted Wilson Bike Trail along the Geelong Ring Road. Funding from the Federal Government’s 20 Million Trees Program and significant plant donations from Barwon Water and Marngoneet Prison will source 80,000 trees and 15 hectares of native grasslands. Outcomes will be an expanded network of cycle and walkways, noise and wind abatement from the Ring Road, increased business for local nurseries and storage and sequestration of carbon and air pollution.


VACC Regional Safety Award
BSafe Program - Women's Health Goulburn North East of Wangaratta, is a joint initiative with Victoria Police enabling victims of family violence to remain safely in their own homes and communities. The Bsafe device is a personal, discreet alarm system for women who have an Intervention Order on a violent ex-partner, or have left a family violence situation. The Bsafe Program is a risk management and violence prevention strategy, and to date over 300 women and 600 children have lived in a home with a Bsafe device.


MOA Benchmarking Community Service in Aged Care Award
Stephen Grigson of Warrnambool, is the Lifestyle and Volunteer Coordinator at Lyndoch Living Inc, managing 19 lifestyle staff and over 170 volunteers. He is a passionate advocate for person-centred care, creating a vibrant home where residents, family members and staff are empowered to make decisions and choices. Leading by example, Stephen introduced his own pet as an innovative way to commence a pet therapy program. Using his IT skills, Stephen assisted in the development of the “Virtual Visiting Program” enabling residents to visit with family and friends using video conferencing and Skype.


Federation Training Gippsland Regional Achiever Award
Jessie McEwan of Traralgon, was at the age of 21, selected as Australia's first Young Chef Ambassador at the 2014 World Chefs Forum. She donates her time and talents to charity events such as the Fine Foods Festival and the Young Chef Gala Dinner. Jessie is a speaker for women in the World Association of Chefs Society, a qualified chef, a member of the Australian Culinary Federation and Young Chefs Club Victoria. As a young mentor, Jessie conducts cooking classes at schools and provides inspirational talks to culinary and high school students.