VICTORIA

Community Achievement Awards for Regional Victoria

2020 Winners

2020 Bank of Melbourne Regional Achiever of the Year - Mat Bowtell

Mat Bowtell of Cowes is an engineer and philanthropist. Using his redundancy pay-out in 2017, he established Free 3D Hands, a charity that provides open-source 3D printed hands and assistive devices for people around the world for free. Mat works full time in designing and making assistive devices and even makes his design publicly available at no cost so assistive devices can be manufactured by anyone with a 3D printer. During the pandemic, Mat worked closely with the infectious control team at Bass Coast Health. He was able to make one face shield every 8 minutes and donated thousands of face shields to local healthcare and essential services.


Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award


Jackal Fencing of Long Gully
is a steel and aluminium fencing manufacturer that promotes quality Australian-made products and contributes to the future of the Australian manufacturing industry. Founded in 2004, they sell 70% of their products into the Greater Metropolitan Areas of Australia through resellers and distributors. Jackal Fencing employs skilled tradesmen and creates practical and innovative fencing solutions. Their 23 local staff enjoy free on-site flu shots and team building activities and staff are encouraged to volunteer in the community. In 2018 and 2019, Jackal Fencing won the Bendigo Business Excellence Awards, Excellence in Manufacturing and Excellence in Manufacturing and Innovation categories.

Regional Development Victoria Leadership & Innovation Award

Mat Bowtell of Cowes
is an engineer and philanthropist. Using his redundancy pay-out in 2017, he established Free 3D Hands, a charity that provides open-source 3D printed hands and assistive devices for people around the world for free. Mat works full time in designing and making assistive devices and even makes his design publicly available at no cost so assistive devices can be manufactured by anyone with a 3D printer. During the pandemic, Mat worked closely with the infectious control team at Bass Coast Health. He was able to make one face shield every 8 minutes and donated thousands of face shields to local healthcare and essential services.

 

GOTAFE Community Education Award

Ganbina of Shepparton
is an Aboriginal-led, not-for-profit organisation established in 1997. They supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 6 to 25 years to develop their full individual potential through meaningful engagement in education, training and employment. In 2005, Ganbina created the JOBS4U2 program portfolio, which centres on case management, mentoring and skills-building to enable a successful transition from school to long-term employment. Other programs include Primary School Scholarships, General Education, Accelerated Learning, Driver Training, Youth Leadership, Vocational Training, Tertiary Education and Employment. Ganbina, meaning ‘to rise up’, supports participants to develop a true sense of self and connection to their cultural heritage.

 

Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award

Soilkee of Hallora
developed Soilkee Renovator, a revolutionary Australian technology that reverses soil depletion, sequesters soil carbon, enhances soil fertility and increases productivity. It was tested under a one-year trial across three farms under a Commercialisation Australia ‘Proof of Concept Grant’. The Soilkee Renovator increases dry matter yields by 25% to 100% and crude protein from 13% to 45%, effectively reducing bought-in feed costs. They developed the Soilkee System, which enables water infiltration and retention and nutrient availability through rapid topsoil building, offering a regenerative approach for resilient, profitable and productive Australian agriculture. Soilkee has earned Australian Carbon Credits Units from the Clean Energy Regulator.

 

Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award

Alex Lemmon of Delacombe
is genuinely enthusiastic about the service he provides. He is the manager and head of customer relations at Ballarat Car Sales, an independent car dealership. Alex has an integral role in the setup and running of the dealership, which uniquely operates and delivers a customer experience that exceeds expectations. As first point of contact, he approaches every customer interaction with care and integrity. He follows a Customer Service Policy that focuses on a human-centred approach to excellence with the goal of keeping customers engaged and gaining repeat business and referrals. Alex has received numerous “Dealer Of The Year” awards during his career.

 

GOTAFE Community Group Award

A Better Life For Foster Kids of Dutson works to improve physical, educational and psycho-social outcomes for children in foster care and kinship care. Heather Baird, who also grew up in foster care, made her dream of helping other children come true when she founded A Better Life For Foster Kids in 2014. ABLFFK provides Crisis Cases for children entering out-of-home-care in Victoria, containing all the clothing and essential items needed in a child’s first week in care, along with handmade blankets and toys. ABLFFK has two paid employees and four volunteer Crisis Case packers. They source 75% of items needed through in-kind donations from professional agencies, local businesses and community organisations.

 

Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award

Strzelecki House a Japara Home of Mirboo North is 60-bed aging in place facility that is in the process of extensive renovations, increasing to a 74-bed facility. They employ 64 staff and believe that “Our Staff are Gold.” The facility offers very flexible working hours and has a childcare centre within walking distance. All staff are local and close by towns. They undergo mandatory training on-site and try to offer two sessions a day to ensure they can cover all staff. They offer an Employee Assist Program where staff can call a number and have a discussion about things that worry them in their personal lives or business.

 

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Community Resilience Award

Leo op den Brouw of Mallacoota advocates for local solutions to local problems. On New Year’s Eve 2019, a bushfire devastated Mallacoota, and over 100 homes were lost. Leo has been central in ensuring collaborative local solutions are at the heart of the community’s recovery. As State Emergency Services Controller, Leo motivates his team of first responders to go above and beyond. Before, during and after the bushfire, he worked tirelessly to coordinate the community effort and responses. As part of the Emergency Management Team after the bushfire, he coordinated meetings with police, fire, national parks, ambulance and the defence force, and made sure local needs were prioritised.

 

Awards Australia Community Hero Award

John Anderson of Shepparton works with heart and soul. He is a member of the Rotary Club and the President of the Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry. John worked on the parking reference sub-committee to bring about $8.5m funding to the Shepparton Central Business District, slated to commence in 2021. He also works with Council on various initiatives. His ability to consult and negotiate without offending or upsetting the business community and Council executives helps John and the general community achieve the desired outcome. He is a kind, respectful and humble leader who is well-loved in the community.

 

2019 Winners 

 

The 2019 Winners with Karl Lijnders and Andrew Allen from PRIME7 at Flemington Racecourse

 

2019 Bank of Melbourne Regional Achiever of the Year

Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project is protecting the region’s horticultural industry by effectively managing the spread of the Queensland Fruit Fly before it can cause significant economic harm. Established in 2017, the GMV Fruit Fly Project is comprised of representatives from Agriculture Victoria, Goulburn Murray Water, many local councils and business and the community. The organisation monitors fruit fly population through a regional trapping grid, identifies fruit fly “hot spots” and holds education workshops for community, industry and government based on an “ownership of the issue” approach. It has also removed more than 5,500 fruit fly host trees and plants from private and public land.

 

Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award

Braille Sign Supplies of Torquay produces Braille tactile signs that comply with Australian Standards. It began when co-founder Travis Ashford, who was then running a signage business, noticed that the Braille signs available were either non-compliant with Australian Standards or too expensive. Recognising a gap in the market, Travis researched before beginning the labour-intensive process of making compliant Braille signs through trial and error, while his wife and co-founder, Leza, took charge of marketing and packing. Today, the company has its own Braille system called BrailleForm, a large factory and eight employees. They are also a Finalist in the 2019 Geelong Business Excellence Awards.

Ms Danielle Green Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria; Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, representing The Hon Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Resources presented Braille Sign Supplies with the Business Achievement Award. 

 

Regional Development Victoria Leadership and Innovation Award

Tanisha Lovett of Horsham is a dedicated mentor to Indigenous youth. An outstanding speaker, she actively mentors in Indigenous youth camps such as Hands Together; Buldau Yiooghen, Big Dreams Leadership Camp, and Indigicate Camp. Tanisha is a project facilitator for the Kookas after-school club, which focuses on teaching Indigenous kids about Aboriginal culture. She is part of Celebrating Sistas, an Indigenous women’s group that offers a safe space, and the Art Program and After School Art program. Tanisha helped organise an exhibition during the 2019 NAIDOC week. She has finished her traineeship in Goolum and is currently in charge of delivering the Nyupun program.

Ms Danielle Green Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria; Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, representing The Hon Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Resources presented Tanisha Lovett with the Leadership and Innovation Award

 

Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award

Jacaranda Village of Red Cliffs seeks to provide a life worth living to both its residents and staff. The not-for-profit organisation Red Cliffs & Community Aged Care Services Inc. owns and operates the 75-bed Jacaranda Village. The Village employs 137 staff members, the majority of whom are registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers. They offer competitive salaries, benefits and perks to attract and retain the best employees. The organisation has terminated external contracts and hired internal staff to increase team and improve skills on dietetics, speech pathology and physiotherapy. In 2018, Jacaranda Village paid over $54,000 in training and professional development for its staff.

Billie Atanasova, National Sales Manager, Prime Super presented Jacaranda Village with the Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award 

 

Parks Victoria Environmental Sustainability Award

Four Wheel Drive Victoria adopts the mantra of “driving in a sustainable environment.” FWDV is an incorporated association formed in 1975 by four wheel drive clubs in Victoria with the interest of protecting the land and communities through which they travelled. In the last four years, they have conducted five major “Clean up the Bush” projects and removed 400 cubic metres of rubbish from forests. Other initiatives include track clearing, Camp Host, hut restoration, and educating the public about “driving in a sustainable environment” at four wheel drive shows. In 2018, they recorded over 15,000 volunteer hours or $500,000 worth of in-kind hours.

Simon Talbot, Chief Operating Officer, Parks Victoria presented Four Wheel Drive Victoria with the Environmental Sustainability Award

 

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Diversity and Inclusion Award

Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services is supporting multicultural communities and celebrating diversity. Established in 1999, LCMS is a not-for-profit organisation that empowers people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate fully in Australian society. It supports newly arrived migrants and refugees to build a successful life in the region through community programs on employment, education, capacity building and community development. LCMS organises arts and events to support social cohesion and cross cultural competency, including the Zinda Festival, an annual multicultural event attended by over 6,000 people. In 2019, over 15 cultural groups participated in the festival celebrating diversity through music, dance and food.

Lee Miezis, Deputy Secretary - Forest, Fire and Regions, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning presented Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services with the Diversity and Inclusion Award

 

Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award

Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project is protecting the region’s horticultural industry by effectively managing the spread of the Queensland Fruit Fly before it can cause significant economic harm. Established in 2017, the GMV Fruit Fly Project is comprised of representatives from Agriculture Victoria, Goulburn Murray Water, many local councils and business and the community. The organisation monitors fruit fly population through a regional trapping grid, identifies fruit fly “hot spots” and holds education workshops for community, industry and government based on an “ownership of the issue” approach. It has also removed more than 5,500 fruit fly host trees and plants from private and public land.

George Frangeskakis, Regional Manager – Eastern Victoria, Prime Super presented  Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project with the Agricultural Innovation Award

 

Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award

The Doggie Den of Bairnsdale has incredible passion for dogs and cats. Founded by Warren and Kathryn Sinclair, they offer pet products in Bairnsdale and East Gippsland with a holistic and natural focus. The team spends quality time with customers to know their pet’s lifestyle and to offer tailored diet, treats, toys and accessories. An in-store butcher produces preservative and additive-free meat meals and even homemade treats. They also have an accredited dog trainer offering weekly classes. The Doggie Den has left many customers satisfied, achieving 100% customer satisfaction received from 700 responses and retaining a consistent 5-star Facebook rating for two years.

Jonathan Hines, Regional Wholesale Manager – South, Ricoh Australia presented  The Doggie Den of Bairnsdale with the Customer Service Award

 

Life Activities Clubs Victoria Senior Achievement Award

Jean Nelson of Geelong has spent more than 20 years volunteering for those with life limiting illnesses. She has been an active volunteer and a life member at Anam Cara House Geelong, a Community Hospice that provides day and overnight palliative respite and end of life care. Jean is in her eighties and volunteers Monday and Friday nights, providing palliative respite for people that would otherwise be admitted to hospital or residential aged care. Jean is actively involved in care episodes and fund raising. She is determined to improve the lives and deaths of people with life limiting illnesses.

Kath Frowen, President, Life Activities Clubs Victoria presented Jean Nelson with the Senior Achievement Award

 

Awards Australia Community Group Award

Golden Square Pool, Inc. successfully saved a 101-year-old pool and turned it into a community hub. Golden Square Pool is a group of 55 locals who transformed a once dilapidated, under-used facility, to an inclusive, vibrant and empowering hub for Golden Square and Bendigo residents. They launched a campaign in 2012 to save the pool from closure by extending its lease. Since then, it has provided accessible health and fitness opportunities to 90,000 patrons. Volunteers introduce innovative programs like live events and wellbeing programs. One initiative is the SwimSafe Bendigo program where free swimming lessons are given, especially for local refugees, migrants and multicultural adults.

Geoff Griffin, Managing Director, Awards Australia presented Golden Square Pool, Inc. with the Community Group Award