Community Achievement Awards for NSW & the ACT

Testimonials from the 2021 Award Winners

“Thank you to the Department of Planning and Environment and PRIME7 for your contributions and prizes.

It has been my pleasure to have worked for over 40 years for the Bribbaree Showground. Chairman for 13 years, the Secretary Treasurer for 23 years.

I ensure the Bribbaree Showground is kept in good condition and I make it easy and encourage many different users or groups to make use of the grounds.

I have dedicated 1000's of hours of volunteer service to ensure that the grounds are clean, safe and have adequate water for the users and stock.

I have installed equipment, cleaned toilets, picked up rubbish, renewed buildings, erected fences, demolished old buildings, laid pipe, dug trenches, cut burrs and slashed the grounds. I do anything required to ensure the ground is maintained in good condition.

I am also very proud that I have a toilet block named after me “The West Wing!”

I hope, as I am now almost 74 years old that I am able to happily continue doing what I do and preserve these grounds for future generations.

Again, my thanks.

Bill (William) West

2021 Department of Planning and Environment Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management Award Winner


“As an advocate for young people, I am passionate about ensuring that our voices are heard, and that the issues affecting young people are taken seriously. Recognition through the Community Achievement Awards for Regional NSW and the ACT will allow me to advocate on a larger scale and ensure that youth matters are at the forefront of our society. Being a leader within this community means I will continue to stand up and fight for rights of young people.”

Tara McLelland

2021 Transgrid Leadership Award Winner


"The Glen Innes & District Historical Society is extremely proud to have won the 2021 Crown Land Manager Excellence Award.
This achievement is wholly due to the committed work of the hundreds of volunteers over the last 50+ years and the generous and ongoing support of the local and district community.

Our members and volunteers very much enjoyed participating in the program and we found the process beneficial on many levels.
With the multitude of things needing to be completed on a day-to-day basis and confronted with the long, ever-growing ‘to-do’ list within an aging, heritage-listed building and grounds complex, housing thousands of artefacts, it is easy to lose sight of the ‘big picture’ and fail to give ourselves due credit for what has been achieved.

The many thousands of Crown Reserves within Regional NSW and the ACT represent a rich and fundamentally important cultural, environmental, recreational, and historical inheritance and resource for the community, helping to create and cement inter-generational connections. The Awards are important in recognising both the connections and the, often underappreciated, work of the volunteers who achieve such outstanding results in managing and maintaining the Reserves, both large and small. This is even more vital in light of the disruption, disconnection and isolation that has afflicted communities and individuals due to the events of the last two years.

The Awards can of course only be successful with the generous support of the Sponsors and we would like to heartily thank the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for the sponsorship of the Award category.
Without the Sponsors enabling the Awards much work within the Reserves would go unheralded, to the detriment of the community and future generations.

The Glen Innes and District Historical Society is very gratified to have won the 2021 Excellence Award.
There is much work still to be done and we look forward to building on our success into the future, at the Land of the Beardies Museum and Research Centre.
Thank you again."

Glen Innes and District Historical Society

2021 Department of Planning and Environment Crown Land Manager Excellence Award Winner


Testimonials from the 2020 Award Winners

"Like many others, I have been reluctant to put up my hand when it comes to awards, and quick to beat a retreat when the spotlight turns my way. But when you are passionate about something, and working hard to make a dream into a reality, sooner or later you have to step outside your comfort zone and take the leap. Leadership Awards are particularly challenging, because the spotlight is definitely directly on you, rather than on the business, charity or project you want to promote. Having said that, I strongly urge you to take your toe out of the water, and jump right in instead. The entire process will give you so many insights and tools that will help you achieve your goals. That very first step of putting your process and achievements into words is probably one of the most valuable gifts you end up with … the opportunity to celebrate your wins, learn from your mistakes, and become an observer of your project. That alone is worth the time it takes to enter. If you are fortunate enough to become a finalist, you find yourself amongst other leaders, learning from them, sharing stories, making new friends and finding mentors. And if you win? Wow! That special project, that dream you have been working on - suddenly you have the opportunity to shout about it and there is a whole new audience there waiting to listen … Amongst my projects and passions, I have a social enterprise called Mongarlowe Gourmet, and Chair a fledgling charity called Wagging tails Community. After drought, fires, flood and Covid-19 and doing what I could to contribute towards the survival of my community, I was exhausted. I wanted to crawl into the closet and shut the door and ignore the world. But the awards reminded me of how passionate I am about the things that I do, and why I do it. And I am amongst a tribe of others who are the same. It is renewing, and inspiring, and I am achieving things I could not have done if I hadn’t taken that first step. If you are reading this, you have already begun the journey. Keep going - you will be so glad you did!"

Suzanne Gearing
2020 TransGrid Leadership Award Winner


"To have even been nominated in this category was a huge surprise and we were just thrilled to have been announced as the winners during the Online Presentation.

We are just so proud and extremely humbled to have been recognised in this way. This is an accomplishment we will take with us forever.

These awards are so important to the people in Regional NSW and ACT. It gives us an opportunity to promote the success of our business and to continue to strive for excellence.

Without the wonderful sponsors these awards would not be possible so we are very grateful."

Luke and Kelly Finch, Broken Hill Skip Bins
2020 Ricoh Customer Service Award Winner


We wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support of the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards especially the Agricultural Innovation category.

Reviewing the other nominees, demonstrates how much good work and innovation is happening in regional NSW/ACT. ProAgni is honoured and humbled to have been selected as this year’s recipient.

We believe in the importance of our work to farmers and consumers. Our vision is to remove all antibiotics and ionophores from the food chain, reduce carbon emissions, improve animal
health while supporting farm economics for producers large and small.

Lachlan Campbell, ProAgni
2020 Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award Winner


Testimonials from the 2019 Award Winners

"It was a great thrill for the Cowra Showground, Racecourse and Paceway Land Managers to win the Excellence Award in NSW.
We have been a committed team of volunteers trying to upgrade our facility during the past six years and this was a reward and recognition for all our hard work. It was great to gather and hear about all the good work which is being done in communities across the regions of NSW. We were delighted to be finalists and even more surprised to win the Award. This has led to more recognition from the Government and resulted in more grant opportunities for us."

Ruth Fagan, Trust Member and Secretary, Cowra Showground, Racecourse and Paceway Trust
2019 Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Crown Land Manager Excellence Award Winner


“As winner of the Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award in the 2019 NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards, the entire Koonambil community is extremely honoured and proud.

The Awards Gala Presentation Dinner was a terrific experience, particularly the point when we were on stage accepting such a prestigious award in front of an outstanding group of community achievers! 

We take great pride in all aspects of our work, but if I had to choose just one area of recognition, it would be the investment and value we place on our staff. Without our staff, we cannot deliver the highest quality care for our residents or contribute so strongly to our community. It’s enormously rewarding to be acknowledged for looking after our staff, and in turn, the contribution it makes to the wider community.”

Cath Bush, CEO, Koonambil Aged care Limited
2019 Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award Winner


It was a true honour and privilege to be awarded the 2019 TransGrid Leadership Award as part of the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards. The award was recognition of the hard work and dedication not only of myself, but many people behind the scenes that do not always get the recognition they deserve.

The status of this award is enhanced by the professionalism of the team behind the awards process and the ceremony. As a winner I enthusiastically endorse these awards and encourage people to nominate a person making a real difference in regional NSW and ACT. Most people making a genuine contribution do not seek recognition but through a nominate individuals and communities can give these people the recognition they do not seek but deserve."

John Southon
2019 TransGrid Leadership Award Winner


“It has been such an amazing opportunity to be nominated and announced the winner of the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award! It was particularly humbling to listen to all the amazing stories and meet the amazing people that were nominated for the awards. Each and every one was so deserving.
I wanted to thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity and for all the hard work that went in to setting up that fantastic awards night! It was an excellent evening. I also want to thank all the judges for all their time and effort to review the applications.”

Dr Amy Moss
2019 Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award Winner


Testimonials from the 2018 Award Winners

"The NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards recognizes the great contribution made from people in rural and regional Australia for a vast range of sectors and all walks of life. It is fantastic to be part on an Award that celebrates leadership, commitment and innovation to environment, businesses and community. Winning the Agricultural Innovation Award will enable me to go back to my community and have a greater conversation with a broader audience, engage people in the challenges facing the farming industry, and inspire them to take action. This Award helps to shed light on people making a positive difference to the agricultural sector, amplify their voices and highlight their amazing work that is ensuring a sustainable, resilient and bright future for all of us."

Anika Molesworth
2018 Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award Winner


"I was very honoured to be the winner of the Leadership Award in the prestigious NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards. I was also shocked to read that I was selected from hundreds of nominations.

I have been given many opportunities to use my leadership skills in Australia since moving here 18 years ago. 

Although during my 18 years in Armidale, I took over the leadership of three distinctively different businesses that were on the verge of closing down, turned them around and saved 25 jobs, my contributions have not been recognised locally.

I feel that through this prestigious award, my contributions have been validated. I believe this award is extremely important for individuals like me and communities as a whole. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the sponsors and the organisers of the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards."

Dr Daisy William
2018 TransGrid Leadership Award Winner


Testimonials from the 2017 Award Winners

"Winning the Crown Reserve Trust Community Manager's Award in the 2017 Regional Achievement & Community has meant a lot to us as a Trust. It is an acknowledgement of our hard work (1800 volunteer hours in 3 years) and validation of the change of strategy we instituted for the way the Trust managed its own administration and the resulting impact on the Reserve. The win provided us with great local publicity by being a good news story that we could share with the community, resulting in added awareness of the Reserve. We are a small Trust with a small budget and never expected to win. If you feel you are deserving of recognition, do enter the Awards."

The Ulladulla Native Flora and Fauna Reserve Trust
2017 NSW Department of Industry, Lands Crown Reserve Trust, Community Manager’s Award Winner

"On behalf of the Hope Centre – Illawarra Food Hub we would like to personally thank the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards, PRIME7 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia for hosting this event as without this being possible the Hope Centre-Illawarra Food Hub would have never had the chance to be recognised for its continuing generosity to the community.

By being declared the winner of the Community Group of the Year 2017 Award, it has allowed the Hope Centre to obtain publicity that we would never normally have the opportunity to. This will hopefully publicise the changes that could be made on the waste that is put into landfill which could easily be diverted and have a massive decrease of landfill waste, benefiting not only those that are suffering hardship but also the environment."

Hope Centre – Illawarra Food Hub
2017 Awards Australia Community Group of the Year Award Winner

"Winning the Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award in 2017 was an amazing experience but it wasn't just the win that made for a truly fantastic journey. The whole process with the Regional Achievement Awards made me grow as a person and made me think about why/how I do the things I do within my small business. This meant that the "win" was the cream on top. The whole process all the way to attending the beautiful awards night was tremendous and it was certainly a highlight to my year."

Ange Hookham, Fitness in The Park in Goulburn
2017 Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award Winner


Testimonials from the 2016 Award Winners

"Participating in the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards was a really positive experience for us at Mareeba Aged Care.
In putting together the application it made us realise how much our organisation has achieved. It also allowed us to reflect on how much we contribute to the health and welfare of our community and our staff, giving us pause to reflect on both our successes and the challenges we face in our small rural community.
Winning the 2016 Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award in the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards has allowed us to showcase our corporate culture, our working ethos and our achievements. The win has been reflected in our already high staff morale. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to promote our business, our community and the achievements of our very talented and hardworking staff. To think we could compete on a state-wide basis has been very exciting.
Winning the Award is encouraging for our whole team to find even more ways to provide innovative care to our residents and to find more ways to encourage our work colleagues to improve their education, to give back to our community, our business and our professions.
We have formed a small committee of staff to decide on the best use of the prize money provided through the generosity of the Commonwealth Bank in keeping with the rationale for our winning the Award as “employer of excellence.”
The generous support of PRIME7 has allowed us continued reinforcement of our organisations branding within our community giving us ongoing link through television support over many weeks.
We would like to thank our sponsors in creating a forum in which we can be showcased and recognised for our work and the real benefits we bring to our community.
The Awards Night was a real testament to the people who make our country and especially country and regional NSW/ACT a better place.
The trophy on display in our foyer is a perpetual reminder to our Residents, their guests and our work colleagues that our organisation and our region works incredibly well and it will empower others to do more for our region.
We found this experience to be incredibly rewarding, very exciting and would encourage other organisations to nominate."

Rachel Bennett
Director of Nursing, Mareeba Aged Care
2016 Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award


"The Nundle Community is overwhelmed and very proud of this success. It is a reminder of the amazing contribution the small community puts into its success and long term sustainability.
A community of less than 300 persons with a new look modern website, hosts a 2 day Easter Festival that exceeds 15,000 visitors reflecting on record sales in local business houses, we can boast of having businesses inducted into the NSW Tourism Hall of Fame and winners of NSW State and Regional Tourism Awards, we won the 2014 NSW Tidy Towns Award and went on to win the National Community Partnerships Award and was highly commended for our Heritage & Cultural achievements. All this whilst retaining our quite serene lifestyle.
It is important to recognise all of the Nundle Community achieved this prestigious award. The Nundle Business, Tourism & Marketing Group are dedicated to promoting the area and establishing a strong sustainable future, the many community groups and organisations that work tirelessly to improve and maintain our community life, the volunteers at the Nundle Visitor Information Outlet that promote our beautiful town and the many attractions, the silent volunteers that contribute that little something in the background and quite often go unrecognised, the friendly community member who always smiles and acknowledges visitors to our town and the many partnerships formed with all levels of government to assist the community in achieving their goals.
The Awards Program is an important tool which acknowledges the achievements and dedicated work rural communities put into securing a sustainable future for all community generations. It is important that we acknowledge the achievements of our many regional communities and encourage them to grow and be proud of their local communities, contributing to a stronger NSW and ACT. The pride and recognition spreads further afield than local communities and reflects the proud state and territory we have grown to be."
Kay Burnes
Section 355 Coordinator (South), Nundle, New South Wales
2016 Prime Super Community of the Year - Population Under 15,000 Award


"I was so very happy when I found out that my deputy service manager Deborah Hodgson nominated me and other work staff for MOA Bench Marking Service in Aged Care Award I certainly can't thank her enough for acknowledging and appreciating my work, and to make it top 4 in NSW and ACT I was so over the moon to have come this far. I felt like a winner there and then, and on the 11/11/16 I was invited to go the award ceremony at Novotel in Wollongong all my family, my work mates and my boss. At the award ceremony when they announced me as the winner for the MOA Benchmarking in Aged Care, words couldn't described how I felt, all mixed emotions, I felt like the happiest person in the world I never thought I would achieve anything like this in my entire life. My beautiful family by my side, my boss and my work mates supporting me , not to mention all the staff at the Lodge, the residents at the Lodge that I care for and their families, their love and support made my night extra special. I feel so very special and lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful people. They all are like my extended family, even though my family is far away, being amongst this extended family of mine makes me feel as if I am home with family. Last of all, as I always think in my heart, care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honours, its not how much we do, it's how much love we put into doing our job. Being told that your very appreciated is one of the most simplest yet incredible uplifting things you can ever hear, and last of all, that awesome moment when a resident holds your hand and says thank you for being my nurse is what makes my job worth it."

Kamini Morris
2016 MOA Benchmarking Service in Aged Care Award Winner


"Belmont Wetlands State Park Trust were pleased to win the NSW Department of Industry-Lands Crown Reserve Trust Community Manager's Award and accepted it as an acknowledgement of the contribution of our volunteer community towards transforming 549 hectares of wetland, dune and forest on the coast of Lake Macquarie. To date, 50 hectares has been planted with 50,000 locally sourced native plants to restore vegetation corridors. Volunteers have put in 1000's of hours in dune rehabilitation and improving natural biodiversity for wildlife. The Trust also manages 4.5 kilometres of beachfront and the Beach Permit system, walking trails showcasing park highlights, a fire trail system and assists in weed management in and near the corridor for 3.5 kilometres of Fernleigh Track cycleway and walkway. Trustees Greg Wright and Helen Rogers accepted the award on the Trust's behalf and on behalf of all our volunteers who will be encouraged by this recognition to continue their efforts to enhance and protect this special part of the coast."

Greg Wright, Belmont Wetlands State Park Trust

2016 NSW Department of Industry-Lands Crown Reserve Trust Community Manager's Award


Testimonials from the 2015 Award Winners

“Participating in the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards was a really positive experience for the Ben Lomond War Memorial Hall. Putting together the application made us realise how much our Committee and Volunteers have really achieved and allowed us to reflect on both our successes and challenges. Making it into the finals was a real highlight, we are such a small rural community, it was exciting to think we could compete on a state-wide basis. To actually win the Award in our category was an unbelievable high, especially being a War Memorial Hall and winning it during the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC’s. It provided a real boost in moral for our entire Committee, volunteers and local community and I would encourage participants to nominate and enjoy a similar experience.”

Ben Lomond War Memorial Hall Reserve Trust
2015 Department of Primary Industries Crown Reserve Trust - Community Manager's Award Winner

“Thank you for encouraging us to nominate for the 2015 NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards. As semi-finalists in 2014 we learnt a lot about this great event and how highly regarded the awards are throughout NSW and the ACT. We were thrilled to hear that we had been chosen as finalists in 2015 and then to go on and win in our category on the night was very exciting for our community group. Joan Simeon, representative of our Local Health Medical Trust, and Practice Manager of our community-owned Medical centre, thoroughly enjoyed the Gala Night and spoke highly of the opportunity to attend the event and learn of the excellent achievements of so many volunteers in our local communities. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to promote our area, and the achievements of the volunteers of the Local Health Medical Trust. Although Trust members have never expected thanks for the work they do, to be acknowledged in this way is greatly appreciated.”

Kerry Stirling
Secretary, Local Health Medical Trust
2015 Prime Super Community of the Year - Population Under 15,000 Award Winner

“In 2015 the team at Charles O’Neill Hostel was awarded the Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care award at the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards. Winning a prestigious award such as this has confirmed to us all that we do a great job. The lift in morale has been amazing. Sometimes it’s just nice to be recognised, and our residents couldn’t be more proud. This award has been encouragement to the whole team to find ways to provide even better care to our residents and the prize money we received has allowed us to enhance our music therapy program which has been of great benefit to our residents. We found this experience to be incredibly rewarding and would encourage other organisations to nominate.”

Charles O'Neill Hostel - Catholic Healthcare
2015 Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award Winner

“Winning the Prime Regional Community Awards Category Over 15 Thousand was a hugely exciting award for Cancer Care Western NSW. Our organization has provided the largest dedicated accommodation for Cancer Patients at a cost of $ 5.4 million dollars- in Regional NSW, servicing a medical service catchment area of 280,000 people. We have just raised around $ 270,000 to support clinical cancer trials at Central west Cancer Centre. This project will also provide life enhancing support for cancer patients in the region. We also lobbied hard alongside other service providers to achieve radiotherapy services in Orange.

Our board consists of a small number of dedicated people who volunteer their time to achieve these results. Cancer Care Western NSW has spent 9 years working towards creating better outcomes for regional people. The award was an amazing achievement and the results have not only recognized our hard work over many years, but have provided and enduring recognition of the opportunity provided to us with the win. Continued reinforcement of our organization branding has been ongoing with our enduring link television product support over many weeks. The combined efforts of the sponsors created a forum in which we could be showcased and re-enact our work and showcase the real benefits of community and collaborative engagement.
The winning prize money has supported us in capturing and committing to a vignette of photos that will create an enduring legacy of our history, and those who have supported our work. This would not have been possible without that financial support to spend and invest in this great marketing tool, but also to provide a historical reference to the work and timelines achieved. This in itself will support other organizations to have a go at making a difference.

The night was a collective of inspirational people, a real testament to the people who have committed to making our country a better place. I have an organization in mind and other waiting to invest time in applying for this vital award opportunity. I would strongly recommend the benefits of engaging and investing time in applying for the award, the results are so worthwhile, Cancer Care Western NSW also now have a trophy on display at Western care lodge and a perpetual reminder to the guests, that country and region has worked well, it will empower others to do more for their region. Thank you so very much for a night of great networking opportunities.”

Cancer Care Western NSW
2015 Prime Super Community of the Year - Population Over 15,000 Award Winner