Community Achievement Awards for Victoria


2023 Winners 


Best's Wines Tourism and Hospitality Award

Grampians Helicopters - Justine Hide of Halls Gap has relentless dedication that has brought thousands of visitors to the area, driving local businesses and promoting Victoria as a top destination. Justine’s work at Grampians Helicopters extends far beyond business operations. She is the driving force behind innovative marketing strategies, custom itineraries, and wine maps that showcase the Grampians region and benefit the community. She actively sits on various boards, including Eastern Grampians Tourism, and provides transport for the Grampians Peaks trail, enriching the region's tourism landscape. Her involvement in events, TV shows, and promotions has reached an international audience, while local clubs, charities, and schools have benefitted from her generosity.


Awards Australia Charitable Foundation Mental Health and Wellbeing Award

The Resilience Project is on a mission to build happiness, resilience and prevent mental health issues. Their evidence-based programs, focusing on gratitude, empathy, mindfulness, and emotional literacy, has reached over 400 Victorian schools, impacting 120,000 students and 6,000 teachers. They have realised significant impact, through coordinated approach across disaster affected regions , instilling hope and resilience in challenging times. Independent evaluations have highlighted significant improvements in student wellbeing, including reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms. TRP's unwavering commitment to mental health makes them a vital asset to the mental wellbeing landscape in Victoria.



Coolabah Turf Connecting Communities Award

Rochester Community House of Rochester stands as a resilient community pillar, shining brightly in the wake of the 2022 floods that shook Rochester. They quickly evolved into a lifeline for their community, facilitating support, connecting people, and advocating for their voices to be heard in a time of dire need. Rochester Community House faced funding and resource barriers but persisted in expanding its services, from food security to vital mental health support. Their ongoing commitment to Rochester's recovery journey remains unwavering. Their nurturing of community spirit and tireless service prove that Rochester will be remembered not for the flood but for its triumphant resilience.


Konica Minolta Customer Service Award

Beachcomber Holiday Units has redefined tourism in Lakes Entrance. Rebecca and Marty, the driving force behind Beachcomber Holiday Units, are dedicated to providing unparalleled customer service. They've turned a set of modest units into a sought-after self-contained accommodation. They've personalised guest experiences, attending to unique needs, such as mobility challenges. They've also played a pivotal role in stimulating the local tourism sector. Initiatives like the interactive mural wall and the 'Love Lakes Entrance Bag' have united local businesses and offered guests a richer experience. These actions have cemented their status as pillars of the community, exemplifying the transformative power of unwavering commitment.


 Nectre Regional Service Award

Based in Gippsland, A Better Life for Foster Kids was founded in 2014 by Heather Baird, who herself grew up in foster care. We work to improve short and long-term physical, educational and psycho-social outcomes for children in foster and kinship care. Crisis Cases are full of age appropriate essentials, toys and books, to cover a first week. We run camps, dinners, provide furniture, resources and advocacy support for carers to help them navigate the complex system. Volunteers power everything that we do; more than 450 community groups across Victoria hand make and donate clothes, blankets and new toys.


Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award

Health Select Services of Vermont has a profound commitment to equitable non-emergency patient transport services. Founded in 2005 by Jeanette Cunningham RN, Health Select Services is a vital lifeline for regional Victorians. It has expanded from two ambulances to 60 across six branches. Serving major public health facilities, their compassionate services extend to critical support during state disasters and compassionate transports. Health Select dedicates itself to education, having established Best Practice Registered Training Organisation. Their community involvement knows no bounds; they drive local employment, offer clinical placements, contribute to disaster relief, and engage in charitable endeavours. They embody unwavering dedication to regional healthcare and its people.


Regional Development Victoria Leadership and Innovation Award

 Sustainable Plastic Solutions of Hensley Park (SPS) is leading the way in plastic recycling with an innovative approach to handling on-farm plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills. Their cutting-edge recycling facility, backed by the local community, transforms end-of-life grain tarps and twine into high-quality plastic resin. SPS creates custom resin to replace virgin resin, ensuring a superior product for customers. Their current capacity diverts 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills, a number set to double and eventually reach 14,000 tonnes. SPS is committed to becoming Australia's first carbon-neutral plastics company. They are addressing hard-to-recycle items and empowering local businesses for eco-friendly product solutions.


Southside Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Community Hero Award

Barbara Glare is an extraordinary advocate, mentor, and guardian of breastfeeding mothers' rights and well-being a testament to unwavering dedication. Barbara is an international board-certified lactation consultant. For the past 24 years, she has provided invaluable support to breastfeeding mothers in Warrnambool. Barb's crowning achievement is the creation of the Warrnambool Breastfeeding Centre, a not-for-profit offering breastfeeding consults, educational events, and a welcoming space for parents and families. Her voluntary contributions, which include moderating a local Facebook support group, extend her influence nationwide by educating healthcare professionals. Barb's boundless commitment has transformed countless lives, empowering mothers, and creating a close-knit community.