Western Australian Community Achievement Awards

2022 Finalists


Curtin University, School of Education Teaching Excellence Award

Dexter Catambay is equipping the future enrolled nursing workforce with digital competence. Dexter is a nursing lecturer for North Regional TAFE. He helped digitalise their nursing program and developed the first online enrolled nursing clinical tools in WA using the Blackboard learning management system. He also developed their “eHealth” and “Telehealth” to allow EN students safe transition to a hospital environment. Dexter advocates for digital learning and teaching in health and training services.


Esme Keogh is working to foster inclusivity and teaching excellence. Esme is a teacher at Australind Senior High School. She started an LGBTQIA+ Alliance Group on campus. Esme is currently working on her thesis on feminist education for her PhD in Education. Esme is currently learning Noongar and Auslan to better communicate with students. She has also started a WADL debating league.


Polly Farmer Foundation Primary Programs run 12 primary programs that provide culturally safe environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary students to engage in learning outside of the class room. They offer two models: after school learning clubs and STEM centres. Students engage with local community members and get opportunities to visit local industries and go on camps. Their staff recently engaged in a Professional Learning Inquiry program.


Lynette Hillier has created innovative and engaging biology programs for students based on local environmental issues. The Blue Swimmer Crab Monitoring program monitors the health and population of crab stocks in Bunbury. Investigating biodiversity, methods to reduce mosquito populations and rehabilitation are the focus of the Mallokup Wetlands project. Lynette recently participated in the Earth Watch Teach-live Bush Blitz program to bring further learning to her students.

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries Making a Difference Award

Kathy Brooking encourages participation in leisure and recreation within the Shire of Coolgardie. She has developed programs like Youth Night, Community Sports and Junior Gym. She has introduced the Shire Sports Holiday Program, Community Clubs Development and the Shire’s first Youth Basketball team. Kathy collaborates with local service providers. She also builds strong partnerships by liaising with regional and local sporting groups.


Shire Of Murray catalysed the establishment of the Food Innovation Precinct WA. Using a ‘smart specialisation’ approach, they partnered with Peel Development Commission at the State level and the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure. They have three facilities: research and development, innovation centre, and production- F&B facility. The Shire has activated strategic partnerships and strong business and community engagement to scale-up hundreds of SMEs.


Mandurah Surf Lifesaving - Starfish Nippers is a lifesaving skills program designed for children and young adults with a disability aged 6 years and older. Starfish Nippers is entirely run by volunteers. Mandurah Surf Life Saving Club members teach and supervise each student in and out of the water. In 2022, the Program won the Surf Life Saving WA Awards of Excellence community education program of the year.


Meekatharra Shire Youth Services has operated the Meekatharra Youth Centre since 1988. MSYS works in collaboration with like-minded organisations like the Yulella Aboriginal Corporation, Mission Australia and Youth Focus. With Yulella, MSYS provides support to the social development of Aboriginal people. With Mission Australia, MSYS offers mental health coordination services. With Youth Focus, MSYS provides no-cost mental health services and early intervention and prevention services.


Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Economic Development Award

Brida Pty Ltd is a 100% Aboriginal owned social enterprise delivering cleaning services, ground maintenance, landscaping, waste management and labour hire. All its 210 employees are local, and over 50% are Aboriginal. Brida earns almost $12 million annually and delivers $10.82 million in regular wages to local people. Its profits are reinvested to deliver social innovation and empower Aboriginal people through social initiatives.


Willie Creek Pearls is a Western Australian family business who sustainably produce the best pearls in the world: Australian South Sea Pearls. On their multi-award-winning tours, they educated and entertained 26,009 visitors in 2021-22. Kimberley region tourism output is estimated at $360,992m - as a tourism advocate, the company invests >$50,000 annually to partner with tourism bodies to attract visitors to the region.


Froth Craft Brewery is focused on producing good beers and beautiful dishes whilst giving their guests the best service and warmest welcome. Froth has invested over 500,000 in itself to expand and create growth. From only 12 staff when it started, Froth has now over 75 employed staff in its two venues. Many of the positions are full-time, creating stability in a rural town.


Denmark Farmhouse Cheese and Ducketts Mill Wines is a family-owned business that produces award-winning cheeses and grow premium grapes made into wine. Since its purchase in 2018 from its founders, DFC|DMW has tripled production and supply. They also run a retail outlet, a restaurant and a vineyard. They currently have 6 full-time staff and 13 casual positions.

HASS Foods Tourism and Hospitality Award

Busselton Jetty Incorporated is a not-for-profit that operates Busselton Jetty, a 157-year-old heritage-listed attraction and eco-tourism destination. They offer unique tourism experiences, including a Solar-electric over-ocean tourist train and the largest natural Underwater Observatory. 25% of BJI’s gross revenue are redirected to the Jetty Maintenance Reserve and 3% to the Busselton Jetty Environment Foundation. BJI is a WA Tourism Awards Hall of Famer.


Perth is OK! is an independent media outlet launched in 2014. Its purpose is to shine a light on the best parts of WA that are often forgotten. They have written in-depth guides and articles to promote WA as a destination of choice. Perth is OK! places a strong emphasis on building their social media audiences. It has over 900,000 followers on social media, the vast majority of which are based in WA.


Solitaire Homestead is a venue offering memorable wedding experiences. Kelly and Nico Mesdag founded Solitaire Homestead Weddings and Accommodations in 2012 after receiving positive comments about the farm from their own wedding guests. Since then, they have created different spaces on the 110-acre property to suit everyone’s needs. They also work with many local suppliers and have created jobs in the community.


Australian Natural Biotechnology PTY LTD is a comprehensive company that integrates manufacturing, research, development and trade. Its main business focus is beekeeping and production of honey. ANB has partnered with Noongar Land Enterprise Group to share advanced beekeeping experience with the Noongar Inhabitants and support beehives and tools for Aboriginal beekeepers. In 2019, ANB became the first company to sell WA honey to United Arab Emirates.


Insurance Commission of Western Australia Regional Safety Award

Ngarliyarndu Bindirri Aboriginal Corporation established Red Dirt Driving Academy, a social initiative aimed at teaching their community to be safe, responsible drivers. The Roebourne based Aboriginal Driving Academy employs and trains local people to teach practical driving skills, good driving habits and responsible and courteous attitudes when driving. They also deliver road safety education workshops, theory tests and lessons to high school students.


Shire of Nannup - Living with Emus is a project designed to communicate road safety messaging to pre-drivers and learner drivers. It aims to increase the understanding of the risks while driving on regional roads, with a focus on those caused by wildlife. The initiative enabled local artist, Lewis Horne, in consultation with Nannup youth, to create a large emu sculpture from old road signs to open dialogues.


Clontarf Foundation delivers the L-2-P Gap for Young Aboriginal Men (Pathways to Employment) to Years 10, 11 and 12 students. The L-2-P Program was developed in partnership with the Road Safety Commission and other supporters. It aims to address licence inequality for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men through road safety education, risk behaviour training and obtaining learning permits and driver’s licences.


South West Women' Health and Information Centre developed a road safety initiative to highlight driver fatigue to young drivers, particularly females aged 17 to 25. Maximising relatability and reach, the outputs include three original videos, an original song created by the Focal Fusion Youth Choir, a catchphrase, TV adverts and shirts with a message promoted by a women’s sports team. The initiative also led to community empowerment particularly with young women.


Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award

Integrity Coach Lines is a public transport provider that runs 8 services a week. Integrity offers ease of booking, prioritises customer retention and communication. They offer assistance with itineraries through their reservation team. They implemented a ‘Hop on Hop off’ pass for tourists. The company employs 17 permanent staff, 13 of whom are full-time employees. Staff receive training around issues for feedback received.


SecondBite is dedicated to ending waste and ending hunger. Secondbite rescues food from landfill by collecting and distributing food donations to their 227 registered agency partners who give them to people in need. Lyndon Nilsson leads the team of 10 staff and 50 volunteers as State Operations Manager. Their team ensures professional, reliable and friendly service via emails, phone calls or face to face.


Im Online (Innovative Mentoring Pty Ltd) was founded by Jeanette Barnesby to assist people with disabilities access the NDIS and assist NDIS Participants.
Im Online delivers assistance to regional areas by in-person, zoom or phone. Jeanette believes that educating people with disabilities about the NDIS, empowers them to achieve the level of services and supports they require.


Broome Whale Watching is committed to making unforgettable holiday memories with their guests aboard their 50-foot vessel ‘Orcaella’. It offers cushioned seating and a top deck viewing platform, perfect for wildlife interactions. Soaking in Broome’s sunset sky aboard ‘Orcaella’ is made even better with guests enjoying delicious appetizers and the friendliest customer service in town. You are in good hands with Broome Whale Watching.


Rinehart Development of Northern Regional WA Award

Broome Whale Watching is building local marine eco-tourism in the Kimberley. Founded in 2008 by Cameron and Valerie Birch, it started with two crew and has grown into a team of 10. They pioneered whale watching in the region and introduced the world to Australia’s Snubfin Dolphin, a unique tourism experience. Today, they offer cruises twice daily from March to December.


Hedland Psychologists is a private psychology practice, founded in 2018 and owned and operated by Caroline Rodgers. Individuals are provided with highly valued, confidential counselling, diagnosing, and reporting. Workplaces are provided with on the ground group training, EAP, fitness for work and critical incident support. They won the best Micro business and best overall business of the year in the 2022 PHCCI Awards.


City of Karratha has transformed to become a vibrant, modern and liveable city. The City has successfully built infrastructure to accommodate current and future industry and community demands. With sound budgeting and sensible use of resources, the City has maintained a debt-free bottom line. In 2020, the City was ranked 13th of 138 LGA’s in regional Western Australia by total revenue and the number one in regional WA.


North West Recycling is a small family owned business, diversifying waste services in the north west by becoming a Containers for Change Refund Point. Operating from Onslow to Dampier and communities in-between, they have kept 21 million beverage containers from landfill since October 2020. They have created a carbon neutral Refund Point in Karratha and employ 12 local people, including 3 people living with disabilities and 2 people with indigenous backgrounds.


Stumpys Roadhouse Local Legend Award

Asha Bhat is the CEO of Southern Aboriginal Corporation, representing the interests of over 5,000 Noongar people. She was the recent Chair of Albany Family and Domestic Violence Action Group and a board member of Community Legal WA. She is a Volunteer Team Leader for Share the Dignity, a woman’s charity making a real difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness or fleeing domestic violence.


Nathan Swayne has been working as a youth worker at the Youth Involvement Council for more than six years. He left a lucrative mining industry job to follow his passion – supporting young people towards better outcomes. Nathan handles even the ‘hardest cases’ referred by Youth Justice and other agencies. He is trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills.


Renee Knapp founded Boyup Brook Community Mental Health Action (CoMHAT) in 2016. While a Deputy Principal at Boyup Brook District High School, Renee saw the need for improved mental health outcomes for youth and the community. She founded the CoMHAT model and created a framework for change that brings sectors together in order to improve mental health outcomes across communities.


Glenys McDonald is a 76 year old leader in local community development and sports administration. She has published two books about HMAS Sydney detailing her discovery of a sailor’s grave, establishing the Geraldton Memorial and her role on the search vessel. She was her Rotary Club’s first female President in 2011 and recently retired as Chairman of the Board of a not-for-profit in Bunbury.


Woolworths Community Group of the Year Award

Blackwood Youth Action Inc is a non-profit that provides at-risk and marginalised young people mental health services and support across social, emotional, educational and psychological domains to help maximise their fullest potential. BYA is run by 10 volunteer committee. Their social enterprise, Youth Enterprise Op Shop, ensure their own sustainable income. In the last financial year alone, they made 2,600 connections with young people.


South West Indian Group (SWIG ) is a not-for-profit community volunteer group promoting multiculturalism through their Indian themed events. SWIG's vision is "Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers" promoting harmony, wellness, and unity .During Covid 19 pandemic, SWIG campaigned for ventilators in India and fund raising. SWIG events contribute towards education for poor income girls as well as Aboriginal communities. SWIG in collaboration with City of Bunbury Council planted 260 seedlings on World environment day on the 5th June 2022.


Care For Hedland Environmental Association Inc is a community environment group founded in 2003. Their work areas include community gardening/organic food production, home sustainability, waste management and recycling. Their flagship Turtle Monitoring Program has helped with intervention, ongoing monitoring, and data collection of findings on Flatback turtles. Their Containers For Change program has seen over 15.5 million eligible containers recycled, raising over $109,000 to support community causes.


Motown Community Shed started in 2020 to provide a place to reduce the risk of isolation in a rural and remote setting. They are setting up the community shed for the people of Morawa and surrounding communities to attend for social interaction, craft, woodwork crafts or just have coffee. Their Containers for Change program is helping support the communities financially. MCS has 12 volunteers.