WA Regional Achievement & Community Awards

2019 Finalists

Insurance Commission of Western Australia Regional Safety Award
Boab Health Services of Broome values remote travel safety for their staff. Boab Health has its own fleet of quality 4WD’s which boast key safety features such as satellite tracking, emergency duress pendants, satellite phones, emergency breakdown kits and water and access to the RAC breakdown service. New staff receive a comprehensive remote travel orientation training. Boab Health has developed a remote travel manual, also called the remote travel bible, which is constantly updated and developed. As a result, Boab Health has had no major incidents for over 21 years, involving any of its 30 staff who travel monthly to remote facilities in the Kimberley.

Shire of Denmark Roadwise Committee is dedicated to promoting road safety amongst young drivers. From November 2018 to Easter of 2019, Denmark Roadwise, the Police and Shire implemented a community-based road safety initiative called “Sober Super Hero.” The initiative targeted P Platers and other young drivers and aimed to address the danger of driving after consuming alcohol. “Sober Super Hero” promoted the “designated driver” concept and rewarded responsible behaviour by giving vouchers from supportive local businesses and an entry to a major prize draw. The campaign resulted in zero chargeable drink-driving offences and no reported fatalities or serious injuries due to traffic crashes.

Royal Perth Hospital, P.A.R.T.Y. Program is dedicated to promoting injury prevention amongst young people. P.A.R.T.Y. stands for Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth. Developed in 2006, the program seeks to promote injury prevention through vivid clinical reality that enables young people to recognise risks, make informed choices and learn about potential traumatic consequences of risk-taking behaviour. It brings together groups within the hospital, from external agencies to victims of previous injuries. The PARTY program is licensed to support sub-sites in WA, with a regional expansion project funded by the Road Safety Commission. Its achievements include successful regional outreach presentations and aboriginal programme partnerships.


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

Kimberley Remote Area and Wheatbelt Rural Health Placement Program began in 2005 with a three year hiatus due to funding issues. Now, nine Shires are active participants in a rural and remote area health education program for medical students from the University of Notre Dame. Medical students in first and second year are billeted with families, where they learn firsthand about country life and the social determinants of health. The families and workplaces that billet students are not paid and some families have participated from day one. Many of the doctors working in the Kimberley are graduates of this program which they credit as the spark that ignited their passion for rural and remote area health.

Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network Program of Brookton is committed to improving road networks for the agriculture industry. Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network Program aims to provide as much access as safely achievable on low traffic volume roads in the Wheatbelt region, which largely depends on its agricultural and transport sectors. The pilot project successfully engaged 42 local governments – most of whom lack the resources and capacity to maintain sections of the network within their boundaries – into an efficient, sustainable and cost effective integrated transport network freight network with 80 connecting routes. This led to a $70-million commitment by the Federal Government through the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

Shire of Laverton Youth Services believes in the essence of maintaining culture and connection to country. The Youth Services Team provides a structured program of interactive and cultural activities for children and young people. The service operates every day after school and selected weekends. Laverton has no high school, yet many young people remain to contribute to the community. Youth Services has partnered with groups like Pakaanu Aboriginal Corporation, Leonora Cross Cultural Association, Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre and Community Elders. Some of its initiatives are “Keeping Language Alive,” aimed at helping retain heritage, and “Out Bush” trips, which encourages children to share their culture.

Wheatbelt Medical Student Immersion Program began in 2005 with a three year hiatus due to funding issues. Now, nine Shires are active participants in a rural and remote area health education program for medical students from the University of Notre Dame. Medical students in first and second year are billeted with families, where they learn firsthand about country life and the social determinants of health. The families and workplaces that billet students are not paid and some families have participated from day one. Many of the doctors working in the Kimberley are graduates of this program which they credit as the spark that ignited their passion for rural and remote area health.


Prime Super Business Achievement Award

Life and Soul Health and Fitness Club of Djugun is dedicated to serving the community through fitness. Life and Soul operates a fitness facility 24/7, 365 days a year, with modern equipment, up-to-date programs, first-class products and community events. The Club offers a venue where locals can meet and exercise together. They currently employ over 150 people throughout the Northwest, all of whom enjoy membership to the club, access to the F45 studios and training opportunities. Life and Soul increased its net profits by 30% in 2018 and its membership has grown to 8,500 plus. For its achievements, they were awarded the Broome Small Business Chamber Awards for Best Innovative Company.

Desert Sands Mechanical of Geraldton recognises the importance of employees to its rapid success. Established in 2016, DSM is a small mechanical company offering field service to the mining and civil industry. Their employees are offered a competitive wage and are provided with training opportunities. The Director, Jesse Ryles, is passionate about giving back and encourages volunteering. In 2018, Desert Sands Mechanical was a finalist in the MidWest Chamber of Commerce and Industry Small Business Excellence Awards and received a DFES Silver Award in the Volunteer Employer Recognition category. DSM is also a supporter of the mental health initiative, Black Dog Ride.

AGRIFresh of Badgingarra commits to promoting locally produced fresh fruits. AGRIFresh is a vertically integrated primary producer with a commitment to grow, pack and export premium quality fresh fruits, like mangoes and citrus, for domestic and international customers. They started with only two employees in 2006 and now have over 95 employees in the orchards, pack houses, regional office and head office. They adopt the “buy local” attitude, sourcing labour, material, fertiliser and equipment locally. AGRIFresh started exporting its Citrus brand, ZESTIE, in 2015. Recent revenue reached $4.5M and AGRIFresh was named the Export Council of Australia’s 2018 WA Exporter of the Year.

Gravity ETC of Dalyellup is passionate about raising the bar on guest experience and creating possibilities for young people and the community through specially designed programs. Located in Dalyellup Beach Estate, it is a 2,000sqm trampoline park, with 1,800sqm of trampoline area and 7 different activity zones and play areas. Gravity ETC remains unsuccessful in obtaining signage to the highway, so guests are attracted purely by marketing and word of mouth. Their 32 casuals and four managers are chosen for their proven histories of team work, their empathy and their love of life. Employees are given a supportive work environment that encourages “stepping up”.

Curtin University, School of Education Teaching Excellence Award
Renee Knapp of Boyup Brook is an outstanding educator and an advocate for positive mental health. A Level 3 Classroom Teacher with over 22 years of education background, Renee teaches music, health and science at Boyup Brook District High School. She set up the Community Mental Health Action Team (CoMHAT) which has been integral in supporting the work done at the school level with Positive Behaviour Support and Mental Health and in accessing community-based services. Renee also developed a sustainable and widely-recognised music program at the High School called Music Rock Band Programme. In 2016, Renee was invited to speak at a Mind Matters Showcase.

Dallas Bruce of Geraldton is dedicated to promoting teacher development and student engagement in Science at Geraldton Grammar School. Dallas has been a science teacher for 15 years and is a big supporter of innovative and thoughtful teaching programs. She organised and facilitated the MidWest Science and Engineering Challenge, a national event run for primary and secondary students. She facilitated a teacher professional development program at Geraldton and Broome and was part of the Geraldton community that started a Science Engagement Group, now called Scinapse. Dallas is currently completing her Masters by Research in Education and is trialling an innovative teacher professional development model.

Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre of Kununurra is committed to sharing, nurturing and revitalising the Miriwoong language. The Centre is an Indigenous-led Aboriginal corporation established in the 1970s to preserve Miriwoong, the traditional language and culture of the Traditional Owners in and around Kununurra. The Miriwoong Language Nest is the only program of its kind in Kununurra, teaching the critically endangered language to over 400 children through immersive teaching techniques like songs, games and simple-talk activities. A Public Language Class is held weekly and language workers record and broadcast programs on Waringarri Radio. The program is reaching both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to instil cross-cultural awareness and communication.

RAC Volunteering Award

Truffle Kerfuffle Inc of Manjimup has dedicated time and passion to promote the local black truffle in the international arena. Truffle Kerfuffle is a not-for-profit organisation managed by a Board of community volunteers that include teachers, caravan park owners and farmers, amongst others. Over the last nine years, the Board has organised the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival, an event that showcases South Forests region’s local produce on an international platform whilst fostering improved community spirit. Despite the geographical isolation, 4,000 people attended the 2019 Festival in the rural town of Manjimup. The Festival raised $2 million, which went to support the producers, businesses and tourism.

Les Wallam of Eaton has devoted his life to the development of the Roelands community. He is an elder and has been the volunteer CEO of Woolkabunning Kiaka Inc., a registered an Aboriginal charity for 12 years. Les is responsible for turning Roelands, a former “Stolen Generation” mission site, into a thriving community. He manages a labour force and oversees 30 houses on-site and 500 acres of land. Les works endlessly so he can pass on his cultural knowledge and skills to the younger Noongar generation. Les has partnered with WAITOC to develop Roelands into a tourism product, creating an income stream for the village.

Beacon Progress Association of Beacon has made a big impact on the quality of life in the Beacon community and beyond. Entirely run by volunteers, Beacon Progress Association works with community groups to facilitate communication, develop strategic economic plans and initiate projects for the future of Beacon. They have hosted many successful events including the 2018 Adam Harvey Country Music Festival. The Progress Association has built community facilities like the Beacon Community Resource Centre, playgrounds and tourist facilities. They hold the Annual Community Crop initiative, assisting the town to be financially viable and they also host an annual community town clean-up called BIG BUSY BEE.


Rinehart Development of Northern Regional WA Award
Froth Craft Brewery of Exmouth is an award winning culinary and craft beer microbrewery in the north-west WA desert that has become an iconic stop for visitors and locals. Launched in 2017 by Phil Gray, Pete Firth and Tyler Little, Froth is open 7 days a week and employs up to 26 staff in peak season. Since opening they have reinvested profits, expanded the brewery's capacity to 200 and upgraded equipment resulting in a higher quality of product. They are approached to attend many festivals, they foster the Exmouth arts community and sponsor many local clubs. Froth won the 2018 Australian Hospitality Association’s Tourism Initiative Award.

The Karijini Experience of Tom Price offers an incredible five day arts and cultural Festival to visitors of northern WA. The Karijini Experience provides a diverse and inclusive program designed to connect people to the breath-taking landscape of the Karijini National Park. The Nintirri Centre, a not-for-profit organisation, manages the festival with help from over 57 volunteers. More than 50 events celebrate Aboriginal culture featuring acclaimed artists and musicians, along with Aboriginal performers and Traditional Owners, the Banjima people. In 2019, the festival brought $1.2M dollars to the region and in 2018 won the Australian Event Awards for Best Cultural, Art or Music category.

Live Ningaloo of Exmouth delivers a memorable nature-based ecotourism experience. Live Ningaloo offers bespoke oceanic eco-tours in Exmouth, delivering small group, aquatic life adventures. Owners Murry Pattison and Sonia Beck operate the tours in Ningaloo Marine Park, which protects the world famous Ningaloo Reef, Australia’s largest and most accessible fringing reef. Live Ningaloo offers shark and humpback whale swimming interactions, snorkelling tours and catch and release game fishing. To attract the best qualified staff, they offer one of the highest rate of wages in the local industry. Their current nine employees enjoy supported staff training, bi-weekly catch-ups and monthly reward days to keep them motivated.


Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Economic Development Award
Grant Simpson Rural Fencing of Yalgoo offers priceless training and experience to its Indigenous employees. Established in 2018, Grant Simpson Rural Fencing is a 100% Aboriginal owned business that specialises in building fencing. Their biggest breakthrough was winning the contract to replace 52.4km of the State Barrier Fence. Since then, Grant has won numerous government fencing contracts and has tripled his employees. Grant currently works with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Murchison Regional Vermin Council. He understands the importance of hiring local people and is dedicated to providing employment, capacity-building and growth opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

AGRIFresh of Badgingarra is passionate about making WA-grown fruits meet the global demand. For over 15 years, AGRIFresh has engaged the local community, businesses, landcare groups and service providers to work hand-in-hand to promote WA. They adopt the “buy local” attitude, sourcing labour, material and equipment locally. AGRIFresh has developed a 300ha citrus and mango plantation and now exports to 11 countries. They employ 95 people, mostly the rural regions of Moora, Dandaragan and Badgingarra. Over the last 12 months AGRIFresh has invested in a purpose-built facility providing further employment for local people and spending $1.1M with local businesses and promoting local agritourism.

Djarindjin Airport of Broome is an epic example of economic self-determination. Djarindjin Airport is 100% owned by the Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation and lies near the top of the Dampier Peninsula. For the past eight years, the airport team has provided hot refuelling services for helicopters flying to the Browse Basin oil and gas fields. The Corporation saw the commercial opportunity and borrowed $6M to pay development costs. Today, Djarindjin Airport provides sustainable, high-quality jobs to local people and an on-going profit stream supporting a multitude of community programs and local business development. It supports 20 local jobs and produces significant income for the community.


Community TAB Community Service Award
Nanette Williams of Nickol has a passion for community health and has been a vital part of the Karratha community for the past 36 years. After six years of hard work and dedication, she was able to develop the Community Health Centre. At the time, there were no female doctors, no support services for the disabled and people with drug and alcohol issues. Nanette was coordinator of the Karratha Community Health Centre for the Health Department of WA, administrator of three hospitals and Pilbara Regional Manager. She helped establish The Karratha Women’s Place and achieved funding for an employment service and supported workplace service.

Grant Westthorp of Albany is committed to promoting men’s wellbeing. He was 53 when he fell off his bike and got injured. Being put in a position to empathise with men whose physical and mental health were compromised inspired him. Grant is the CEO of the Men’s Resource Centre and has contributing significantly to men’s health and wellbeing in Albany and Great Southern WA for 11 years. He designed innovative ways to engage men to participate in events like Australia Day Fun Run, Mental Health Week, Men’s Health Week Blokes Talkfest and a Positive Mentoring Program. Grant received the 2018 WA Seniors Juniper Lifetime Achieved Award Regional.

Julian Pace of Victoria Park is inspiring others to find happiness and purpose. After losing his father to suicide, Julian established Happiness Co. in his honour. Designed as a social movement to make a difference in people’s lives in regional WA, Julian seeks to empower people to change for the better, reduce anxiety, and help with everyday issues. Julian teaches 15 volunteer ambassadors about emotional mastery and human behaviour so they can inspire and impact more people. Happiness Co. has over 112,000 followers on Facebook and won the Australian Small Business Award for Professional Services, the Belmont/WA Small Business Mentor Award and a 40 Under 40 Award.

Woolworths Community Group of the Year Award
The Moore Catchment Council Inc. of Moora hopes to increase environmental awareness. Moore Catchment Council is a small landcare group composed of local community volunteers who wanted to show off the natural assets of the Midwest as well as the threats it faces. The Moore Catchment Council holds The Last Stand, a community environmental awareness raising event, highlighting the Wheatbelt wildflower country. Over 400 people attended the 5-day event at Moora Performing Arts Centre. The event includes an exhibit of artwork, poetry and craft, interactive displays, guided bush walk and a symposium. The Last Stand won the Shire of Moora Australia Day 2019 ‘Event of the Year” Award.

Harvey Community Radio of Harvey promotes harmony in diversity. Harvey Community Radio is a not-for-profit organisation providing radio broadcasts for the community by the community, offering inclusive and accessible opportunities. The volunteer management committee implements programming according to community needs and wants. They provide training, mentoring and participation opportunities to local schools, indigenous, ethnic and emerging communities. The station offers traineeships for Indigenous students and accredited training in media and community services for free. HCR provides valuable community information and supports local musicians and emerging Australian artists. They have won many awards, including the 2018 Excellence in Indigenous Engagement and Excellence in Community Engagement Awards.

WA iSports Inc. of East Bunbury is building an active and inclusive community. WA iSports provides a welcoming community that embraces diversity and provides opportunities for members to participate in inclusive and accessible sporting activities, life-skills and well-being programs for free or at a low cost. They run an annual multi-sport community event, weekly training sessions and music activities. Volunteers and members run programs for people with complex disabilities, schools, and aged care facilities. In 2018, WA iSports helped send 14 athletes and 8 volunteers to Malaysia for a sporting and cultural exchange. WA iSports held a Health and Wellbeing Expo in September 2019.


Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
Bullara Station Stay of Exmouth are passionate about enriching their guest’s experience. Bullara Station Stay is a nature-based campground situated between Coral Bay and Exmouth in the Norwest Cape. Originally a sheep station, owners Edwina and Tim Shallcross decided to diversify into agritourism to supplement their income, which as seen the business expand. They currently rank 1st on TripAdvisor amongst Exmouth and Coral Bay accommodations. Edwina responds to all social media customer feedback within 24 hours and monitors customer satisfaction through emails. Staff are encouraged to attend tourism workshops and undergo procedure training before employment. Edwina is also a member of the Coral Coast Tourism Board.

Shannon Richards of Boulder is committed to offering a high level of service in the recreational and leisure industry. Since 2013, Shannon has been an employee at Goldfields Oasis, a local business that provides a year-round recreational venue and hosts most of the community’s sporting needs and major events. Starting as junior lifeguard, Shannon is now customer service team leader, acting as liaison between customers and Goldfields Oasis departments, making sure that communication lines are effective and customer satisfaction is a priority. Shannon received the Rising Star Award from the City of Kalgoorie-Boulder in 2018 and Oasis Employee of the Year in 2017 and 2016.

Bianca Turri Photographer of Australind is all about providing professional photography service. Bianca has worked hard to become accredited and certified in the photographic industry and hopes to make an impact on her clients and her community. Profits from her “100 Women” project, where she attempts to photograph 100 women a day, are being donated to the South West Refuge. Another project called “Keeping it Real” is about empowering women. She recently started her “Be Kind” project, a movement against bulling and raising self-esteem. The last 2 years has been filming a documentary show casing the wonderful work around the people of the Bunbury Soup van.


Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award
Springhaven Frail Aged Hostel of Kojonup has successfully engaged the whole community to work as a team. Springhaven Hostel is a 22-bed not-for-profit residential care facility which employs around 33 staff that includes Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Personal Carers and Kitchen and Cleaning Staff. Springhaven offers flexible employment and competitive rates and they encourage staff to widen their skills and attend ongoing education and training. Staff are given incentives to complete extra study and are provided with a free counselling service. Springhaven Hostel prides itself on being a team along with their residents, families and the community to assist residents in leading a meaningful life.

CraigCare Albany of Albany is determined to improve the quality life of older community members and has been a trusted aged care provider for 40 years. A for-profit organisation with eight facilities, they employ 862 employees, 70 of whom work in the Albany care community. CraigCare offers flexible rostering to align with staff requirements and family commitments. They regularly host staff functions and have introduced paid staff meetings. CraigCare plans to offer staff-funded training for continue learning and stronger career paths for staff. More than an aged care facility, its care community is designed to keep residents engaged and connected with family, friends and community.

South West Community Care of Harvey has excelled in the area of people management. Starting 30 years ago by volunteers, they provide support services to about 50 people. In 2014, the facility relocated to the 24-hectare Eden Grove Community Precinct on the outskirts of Harvey. The 150 staff serving an area of over 5000sqm in six South West shires. South West Community Care has a culture of continuous learning and supports employee development. Management encourages all workers to gain a Certificate III in Aged Care. They offer traineeships, a pay rate structure based on career progress and financial support for staff to complete their qualifications.


Horizon Power Leadership and Innovation Award
Albany Roller Derby League of Spencer Park has redefined volunteerism and leadership. They built a sporting club and a one-of-a-kind venue, run solely by volunteers who rely on fundraising and a passion to achieve the dream. The specialised venue called “The Track” has since become the site of multiple community swap meets, subleasing at a low cost to small start-up businesses and community groups and a training venue for the roller derby league. They are the first regional roller derby club in WA to be accredited by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Albany Roller Derby League is operated by volunteers, from executive and management committees to coaches.

Grant Westthorp of Albany encourages positive wellbeing among men. Grant is CEO of Men’s Resource Centre. Following a bike accident, he has since dedicated 11 years of his life to community service, particularly in improving men’s health and wellbeing. He helps address “real problems” by developing meaningful solutions and lasting results. Grant designed innovative ways to encourage men of Albany and the Great Southern WA to attend events like Mental Health Week, Australia Day Fun Run and a Positive Mentoring Program. He collaborates with Pivot Support Services, Chorus Support Services, YMCA and other organisations. Grant received the 2018 WA Senior Juniper Lifetime Achievement Award Regional.

Claire Roach of Harvey has made significant contributions to the aged care community. She is the CEO of South West Community Care, an aged care facility that employs 150 people and serves more than 1,000 elderly people across the south west. Since becoming its CEO, South West Community Care has consistently grown by 10% every year. Over 13 years, Claire has introduced innovations, always identifying potential for expansion and advancement whilst ensuring that elderly people in remote areas receive the same quality service. Despite being a large corporation, she maintains excellent connection with elderly consumers, their families and communities. Claire is also a cancer survivor.