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New format for region’s Australia Day Awards

Posted: 11am 01 Sep 2021

Moreton Bay’s Australia Day awards have been revamped to ensure everyone’s contributions are celebrated.

Featuring new categories and criteria, nominations for the 2022 Australia Day Awards are open until October 29.

Mayor Peter Flannery says it’s appropriate to realign the program to reflect how people connect with the region.

“There will be a new format for the 2022 Awards, which will be streamlined to two awards - Citizen of the Year Award and the new Mayor’s Community Spirit Award,” Mayor Flannery says.

“The main award will remain a homage to the region’s exemplary citizens, while the spirit award will be open to people who live in and outside the region and those who aren’t an Australian citizen, which is a first for the program.”

Recognising contributions

Mayor Flannery says there are many people who travel from outside the region to work or volunteer here who also make significant contributions.

“These people are just as much a part of the fabric of our community and shouldn’t be prohibited from being recognised for their valuable work.”

He says the annual Australia Day Awards Ceremony is one of his favourite days of the year.

“It gives us a chance to pause, reflect and celebrate the unsung heroes of Moreton Bay Region who have made significant contributions to the community through their selfless actions.

“I’m always amazed by the calibre of people who are nominated and once again it’s that time of year when you can put forward someone you think best epitomises the Australian spirit.”

Winning an honour

2021 Australia Day Awards Citizen of the Year Ronnie Benbow was humbled to be recognised for her contribution to the community as the founder of the Carer’s Foundation in 2015, Australia’s only charity providing wellness programs to unpaid carers at no cost.

Mayor Peter Flannery says Ronnie’s work is changing the lives of carers across Australia, improving their health and giving them hope.

“Almost no one is prepared for the demands, expectations and even isolation that comes with suddenly becoming an unpaid carer for someone you love,” Mayor Flannery says.

“In many ways, Ronnie has singlehandedly led the charge to change that.

“There are almost three million unpaid carers looking after loved ones across Australia who work hard every day behind the scenes and, as a carer herself, Ronnie knows too well the toll it takes mentally, physically and emotionally,” Mayor Flannery explains.

Ronnie received the Moreton Bay Australia Day Volunteer of the Year Award in 2019, and has continued to go above and beyond, helping more than 1000 carers during the past five years.

Ronnie says as a young, naïve 17-year-old nurse, she would see carers in a worse medical condition than the person they were caring for and knew they needed support.

“I used to think that one day I’m going to have a healing haven, where carers can come to restore their own health and have someone to care for them for a change,” she recalls.

“It’s a massive honour to be recognised and something that I would never have thought I would receive. I just love what I do. This award is really for the all the carers out there, so please if you know of any carers, especially those not coping, let us know so we can support them.”

2022 Australia Day Awards Program

Citizen of the Year

This award recognises an individual for their outstanding achievement or contribution to the Moreton Bay community during the preceding year, or over many years.

It celebrates outstanding community contribution in any area of community life, including sport, arts and culture, and the environment.

The winner of the award will be an Australian Citizen and live in Moreton Bay Region.

Mayor’s Community Spirit Award

This award celebrates outstanding community contribution in any area of community life, including sport, arts and culture, and the environment.

There may be more than one recipient, and individuals do not have to be an Australia citizen or live in Moreton Bay Region.

Nominate someone special here.

Read more local news here.

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