Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards

2017 Finalists

Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award
Timboon Fine Ice Cream at Brucknell has been producing boutique ice cream, using fresh local ingredients for 18 years. They now have a whiskey distillery and eatery in the historic railway shed and are growing Timboon as a tourist destination. They conduct “Sundae School” ice cream classes, and their Food Truck has attended 150 events. They have won several Dairy Industry awards.

Bakery on Broadway at Wycheproof was established by four couples wanting to bring the town back to life. A year later, the popular bakery has seen near empty streets turn into a busy town, with parking often at a premium. They employ thirteen locals, provide catering and have gained a reputation for great coffee. Funds raised from selling coffee grounds to gardeners purchased a community car.

Kowelec Electrical Contracting in Castlemaine began in Adrian Kowal’s spare room. Five years on, they now employ 12 locals and service commercial, industrial and domestic customers. Customer satisfaction is their number one priority and in a recent survey, they achieved a 95% excellence rating. Kowelec prides itself in being community minded and provides $10,000 sponsorship each year to the local community and sporting clubs.


Regional Development Victoria Leadership & Innovation Award
XtremeInc Youth Projects of Castlemaine has inspired and supported young people since 2009. They engage and empower youth across regional Victoria through arts, festivals, fundraising, extreme sports, mentorship programs and volunteering. XtremeInc also provides free training for their volunteers. They run the 2 THE XTREME Multicultural Youth Festival, attracting hundreds of young people and families. XtremeInc celebrates diversity and has young people at the forefront of their decision making

Birchip Cares was formed in 2014 by concerned citizens, following the withdrawal of funding to the Home and Community Care Service. The committee developed a Community Transport Service Delivery Model raising $17,000 for medical appointment travel for the needy. They also implemented a L2P learner driver program linking students with volunteers. Birchip Cares has enhanced the liveability of Birchip by connecting health, education and community.

Thomas Banks of Geelong West is Director and Founder of the Centre for Access, a specialised training service to businesses who employ people with a disability. The Centre also facilitates disability awareness workshops. Thomas wrote and published “Through the eyes of a person with a disability” and toured nationally in his one man show, “Someone like Thomas Banks”. He is currently working on an autobiographic film “The Power of Love".

Paul Chapman of Kangaroo Flat is Chairman of the Australian Turntable Company, supplying turntables for move buildings, vehicles and works of art internationally. He is Chair of the volunteer Committee for the Bendigo Inventor Awards, connecting inventors with investors to produce solutions related to emergency and disaster management. Paul developed the first Festival of Failure to showcase the importance of embracing failure as part of the innovation process.


Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award
Rural Northwest Health
 in Warracknabeal commenced 125 years ago. Their 90-bed facility, including 15 beds in the award-winning memory support unit, employs 270 people. They provide staff with transition to retirement plans, purchased leave options, generous maternity and paternity leave and have just introduced family violence leave. The facility has a 95% rating from staff who view them as an employer of choice.

Wimmera Health Care Group in Horsham has three aged care facilities with direct access to on-site dentists, dieticians, massage therapists and podiatrists. They have implemented a Health and Wellbeing Working Group to promote positive health and wellbeing to their 160 staff members. This includes weekly onsite lunchtime staff yoga classes. Staff are provided with varied training including Grievance, Cultural competence, Beyond Blue and many more.

St Catherine's Hostel in Wangaratta is a 69-bed not-for-profit residential care facility. St Catherine’s value their staff and have set rosters for them to work their preferred shifts and to support those undertaking tertiary education. Staff with school aged children can bring them to work during school holidays if required. As an incentive for staff to continue ongoing training they are entered into a $500 gift voucher draw.


Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award
Green Eggs
 of Ararat is a family business. Their working farm has sheep, cattle and 36,000 free range chooks. Green Eggs produces ethically farmed, sustainably produced, free range eggs into cafes, restaurants and retail outlets both regionally and in Melbourne. They pride themselves on their product and the welfare of their hens. They employ local people and aim to maximise efficiencies and minimise wastage.

Glendemar Multi Purpose Merinos of Marnoo and their 6th generation managers, Ben and Cheryl Duxson have introduced innovative and productivity measures into their Merino breeding operation. Australian Sheep Breeding Values, DNA testing and eID data collection systems are creating leading edge industry management practices. Their focus is not only on productivity, but also on cost saving and animal welfare. They are preferred suppliers of high quality products with great integrity.

Dad's Oats of Natte Yallock began in 2015 when siblings Peter and Alicia Cain started ‘Dad’s Oats’, selling rolled oats grown on their fifth generation family farm. They sell several types of oats plus hand rollers which enable the oats to be rolled fresh. They used crowdfunding and social media to market the business. Dad’s Oats are available online, at farmers markets and in over 50 cafes and stores.


South West TAFE & Deakin University South West Regional Achiever Award
Maree Crabbe of Warrnambool is the coordinator and co-founder of an Australian violence prevention project called ‘Reality & Risk: Pornography, young people and sexuality’. Maree is also the co-producer and co-director of two documentary films: Love and Sex in an Age of Pornography and The Porn Factor. She is widely interviewed and has published many articles. Maree presented at the National Council Women of Australia conference and has also presented internationally.

Jayson Killick of Belmont survived a stroke in 2010. A year later he founded the Portland Stroke Support Group. He aims to educate and raise awareness of strokes and is fighting for more funding and better health care to improve the lives of stoke victims. In 2012, Jayson became a Victorian Ambassador for the Stroke Foundation. He also won the Stroke Foundations Improving Life after Stroke Award.

Robyn Ledin of Warrnambool is a member of the Warrnambool East Primary School leadership team. She implemented and secured funding for a Nurturing Room for selected Prep to Year 2 students who had experienced trauma and violence. Based on Robyn’s research of the United Kingdom programs, the Nurturing Room provides a safe, non-judgemental haven for students to transition into the school day with a positive attitude and full stomach!

Jayson Ward of Warrnambool is the co-owner of Portland Eyecare and a Director of Optometry Victoria. Jayson has established eye clinics in local indigenous communities and provides free eye screening in schools. He is involved with The Waves Gala Ball committee raising over $100,000 for Peter's Project Cancer Centre and the Warrnambool SES. Jayson is an active Young Professionals Warrnambool member and is a player and volunteer for several sports clubs.


Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Diversity and Inclusion Award
Cardinia Shire Youth Services 
are championing for the inclusion and equal treatment of LGBTI youth. ‘Safe and Supported in Cardinia’ is a program to support local young people who identify as same sex attracted and/or sex and gender diverse. They have introduced programs in schools, engaged in public campaigning, supported the production and distribution of a film and encouraged local government participation in LGBTI-related events.

Gabby Gamble of Bendigo played an integral role in implementing an Aboriginal Volunteer Program to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. A local Elder, Gabby is pivotal to promoting equality and inclusion. As a volunteer with Bendigo Health, she has increased understanding of Indigenous needs and made it a more welcoming place. Gabby has become an important conduit between the hospital and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Tania Bardsley of Newington is a volunteer coordinator with the Ballarat City Football Club and has worked hard to connect and engage with the culturally and linguistically diverse community. Africana Ballarat was her concept; to highlight and value the contribution of the African community to the club. The Africana Ballarat event cut-across art, sport, food and music ensuring broad participation regardless of age, ethnicity, culture, religion or socio-economic challenges.

Z Fit Studios of Bendigo champion diversity and inclusion. Their members range from two to 62 and regardless of nationality, belief, shape or ability they enjoy the physical and social benefits of dance and exercise. Z Fit Studios raised $10,000 for the Cancer Council’s Relay for Life and 25% of staff and members donate blood. They also won the 2017 Bendigo Business Excellence in Health & Wellbeing Award.


Parks Victoria Environmental Sustainability Award
Euroa Arboretum
has overseen the transformation of a farm paddock, into a showcase site for natural resource management. 25 years after the land was donated to the Euroa community, the property is now a popular public reserve, supported by an educational facility, offering comprehensive land restoration services. The Arboretum’s motto is ‘Growing back the bush’ and one of their main objectives is to provide seed for revegetation work.

Mirranatwa - Panyyabyr Landcare Group at Karabeal has since 2008, run Victoria's largest community fox baiting project The project covers 30,000Ha of private land in Victoria Valley, adjoining the Grampians National Park. The project is a win for biodiversity, protecting nationally threatened wildlife, enhancing community collaboration and is an economic win. The increased lambing rates support fine wool and prime lamb production for Victoria Valley farmers.

Caring For Our Bays of Drysdale is an innovative program to lift the profile and appreciation of Corio Bay and the Bellarine shoreline of Port Phillip Bay. The aim is to raise awareness of, and reduce the amount of litter, sediments and nutrients entering the waterways. This is the first coordinated project to cover the catchments and integrate engagement, infrastructure and enforcement activities across community, business and government.


Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
Queenscliffe Visitor Information Centre
has a team of 38 skilled volunteers providing quality information, accommodation referral, ticketing and guided heritage tours. Last financial year, they volunteered 5,281 hours, handled 76,655 visitor enquiries and welcomed 40,000 visitors who spent an estimated $5 million. The volunteers enhance the visitor experience with their enthusiasm and local knowledge and are core to the success of the Queenscliffe’s tourism economy.

Ella Bache Bairnsdale independent owner and operator, Jodie Ashworth, works tirelessly to ensure her business maintains its excellent customer service reputation. Since 2011, they have received 11 awards for business and customer service excellence. A supporter of Breast Cancer Research, Ella Bache Bairnsdale is the major sponsor of the Mother’s Day Classic and the salon provides treatments for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Phillip Leitch of Leigh Creek is the Arena Manager, 2IC and valued member of the Kryal Castle team. He works weekends, holidays and after hours, planning and delivering weapons performances and horse based shows on the Main Arena. He is also responsible for staff rosters, staff training and animal welfare. Phillip is passionate about interpreting Medieval History to modern audiences and is sought after on the international jousting circuit.

Harmony Bed & Breakfast of Fingal is a traditional Bed and Breakfast with three guest rooms. Owners Sharon Richardson and her husband Jeremy work hard to ensure their guests are happy and become regulars. Harmony Bed and Breakfast have received many awards including the Hosted Accommodation category in the 2015 and 2016 Victorian Tourism Awards. They also received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016 and 2017.


WorkSafe Victoria Regional Safety Award
Community Roadsafe Mildura develops community programs to target and improve the understanding, behaviour and attitudes of road users. Working with Police, Mildura Rural City Council, professional drivers, community groups and organisations they aim to prevent road trauma and examine road safety problems. The “Driving in Sunraysia” campaign, reached 2,400 people in response to an over-representation of accidents caused by drivers not local to the region.

Citizens Radio Emergency Service Teams, Victoria based in Newtown is a voluntary organisation. Operating for 40 years, CREST have monitored emergency frequencies and relayed thousands of calls to Emergency Services or Utilities. In the last five years’ they have recorded 18,000 hours of monitoring. CREST also provide monitoring equipment and personnel for schools and events such as fun runs, to increase participant safety.

Cycling and Pedestrian Interventions in the North - City of Greater Geelong is a collaborative project between the Youth Activity Centre - the fOrT and North and East Geelong schools, to promote road and cycle safety. The initiative identified a vulnerable demographic and is actively engaging with them to promote knowledge and understanding of road safety and improved road user behaviour. They have so far reached approximately 14,000 people.

Anglesea Fire Education Program is part of the CFA Survive & Thrive Program. The award winning program is led by a community partnership consisting of representatives from the local CFA Fire Brigade, the primary school, local fire experts and others. The program empowers and encourages students to take on the role of educators and lead bushfire education and preparedness activities in their school and community.


Life Activities Clubs Victoria and Henry Carus & Associates Senior Achievement Award
Baw Baw Shire Council – Aged & Disability Services Team commenced a pilot program in 2012 named 'The Pet Program'. The program supports residents who are frail, aged or have a disability, to care for their pets. Volunteers assist with walking dogs, transportation of pets to the vet and grooming or bathing and short-term feeding. Approximately 450 hours of pet support has been provided over the past year.

Dr Tess Brady of Clunes has led the organisation Creative Clunes, transforming the rural town of Clunes from decline to a prosperous vibrant community. Volunteer run for nine years, Creative Clunes created an annual book festival and opened the first community bookshop. Now the town boasts six independently run bookshops and the annual festival attracts 20,000 guests. They have monthly author talks and the town is a centre for cultural tourism.

Mornington Police Senior Community Register was started in 2001 by a group of mostly retired volunteers. They aim to make clients feel safer by creating a relationship with the Police, and provide day trips, lunches and activities to keep them involved in the community. Volunteers provide home visits and telephone calls to isolated, elderly people. 4,250 people have been involved since the register’s inception.