Western Australian Community Achievement Awards

2020 Finalists


Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
Aviair of Kununurra prides itself on its customer service philosophy. Established in 1984, Aviair provides general aviation services to north-west Australia, including tourism, charter and regular public transport to remote Aboriginal communities. Now owned by a Kununurra-based family, it employs over 90 local staff and operates around 5,000 flights each year. Their customer service team has 12 full-time members, all of whom follow the internal memo of ‘yes, we can’. Aviair’s pilots also provide personalised inflight commentary on natural landscapes found in the Kimberley region. Aviair holds Quality Tourism Accreditation, conducts customer service and cultural awareness training, and collects visitors on time.

West Coast Honey of Gingin was founded in 2003 and has built honey extraction facilities to provide an environment for education and learning for the general public and to sell beekeepers’ honey. New owner and manager Tina Mettam took over almost 5 years ago. They now have a small café offering homemade cakes and treats and barista coffees and cold drinks. West Coast Honey takes pride in communicating promptly, professionally and kindly with all customers so they receive the information and service they require. They reply to reviews and personally contact each person. They immediately rectify issues and offer free coffee in-store and other gestures of kindness.

Happy Days Coffee Pot of Northam is dedicated to community engagement. Happy Days Coffee Pot is a modern, industrial-style café purchased and renovated by owners Sue and Brad in 2015. About 95% of their food products are sourced from local suppliers and businesses. They upgraded their equipment and installed ceiling fans to make the café more comfortable for guests, resulting in a 20% increase in sales. They have four strategies to maintain excellence in customer service: customer needs and satisfaction, high-quality food and drinks, comfort and feedback. During COVID-19, they offered heavy discounts to menu favourites and accepted pay over the phone orders to retain customers.

Mandurah Taxis Pty Ltd of Mandurah has been serving the Peel Region since 1959. They provide 24/7 on-demand capped price transport, including wheelchair accesses transport, ensuring everyone access to important healthcare, pharmacies and shops. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mandurah Taxis continued to operate and ensured that their vehicles were kept sanitised and safe. They transported passengers to their cancer treatments or other life support treatments such as dialysis whilst ensuring they travelled in a clean, safe vehicle. Mandurah Taxis has partnerships with Ovis, Chorus, and the Department of Veteran Affairs to ensure the highest standard of transport for the most vulnerable and disabled people of the community.

Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries Making A Difference Award
Shire of Corrigin has kept the community afloat despite a crisis. During COVID-19, Corrigin CEO Natalie Manton realised the flexibility in her budget which could be used to work on a backlog of tasks. She then gathered up for a special employment fund and advertised that the Shire had work for any local resident who had lost or been stood down from their job. 10 of 12 applicants were able to find casual employment. The Shire outdoor crew allocated work based on skills and interests, providing gloves and high-visibility vests to participants. The Shire received positive feedback and was praised for taking the initiative.

Shire of Manjimup collaborated with charity organisations and support service providers during the pandemic. The Shire’s COVID-19 Recovery Team became the central contact point for people experiencing hardship. They have been in intensive contact with the community, ensuring that all those within the Shire were adequately accommodated. They helped meet the increased demand for emergency and crisis relief, directly contacting local businesses and 1,000 farmers to encourage them to apply for government assistance. Since March 2020, the Recovery Team has worked approximately 2,640 hours. Through a successful Lotterywest grant, the Shire was able to financially support 166 individuals and families and 45 local businesses.

Bindoon Library is a community hub that provides entertainment, education, support, socialisation, and information for the community. The Library has one full-time staff and seven volunteers. In October 2016 they introduced “Theme Months” and started planning activities, workshops and seminars around the themes, leading to over 200% increase in visits. All activities are free and aim to promote library services, activate the library space and build community connectivity. They have collaborated with groups such as Better Beginnings, Advocare, Safety House WA, Chittering Cancer Support Group and Palliative Care Australia. During COVID-19, they introduced a pick-up service for loans and took activities online.

City of Karratha is committed to achieving superior outcomes. The City of Karratha, in partnership with Rio Tinto, established the Community Infrastructure and Services Partnership, an innovative social investment project that significantly enhances the liveability of the city, providing improvements across infrastructure, facilities and services that are achievable and sustainable. The Partnership has leveraged more than $65 million in contributions from third parties towards the delivery of important community services and infrastructure. The first key project, the Karratha Leisureplex, was delivered in 2013. Other projects include the Wickham Recreation Precinct, Dampier Community Hub, Wickham Community Hub and the Dampier Foreshore and Hampton Oval Redevelopment.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Economic Development Award
AGRIFresh of Badgingarra is passionate about promoting Regional WA. For over 15 years, AGRIFresh has supported the local community, local business and suppliers and local service providers. They adopt the “Buy Local Policy” to ensure sustainability and support from the region. They have developed 300 hectares of citrus and mango plantation and expanded their export market to 15 countries. AGRIFresh is on track to reach $5 million in revenue in 2020 despite COVID-19. They have established an 8,000-square metre packing facility. From a small team of two, they now provide employment to 82 people, with 85% of the jobs located in Moora, Dandaragan and Badgingarra.

Brida Pty Ltd of Roebourne is dedicated to developing Aboriginal communities. Brida is a 100% Aboriginal owned-and-operated social enterprise that provides cleaning services, ground maintenance, landscaping, waste management and labour hire on Ngarliyarndu country. Their primary objective is the provision of careers that deliver independence and pride for local people. They are the oldest and largest employer of Aboriginal people, with 60% of its 170 staff, Aboriginal. They use majority of profits to deliver social innovation and empower Aboriginal people through social initiatives. Brida has been providing ground maintenance services for Rio Tinto since 1974 and provide waste management services for the City of Karratha.

Warmun Art Centre of Warmun continues to support its artists and members in its gallery, studio and cultural programs. In the 2019-20 financial year they launched an online art shop and web-cart that was immediately successful. The online sales strategy saw Warmun Art Centre perform above the national average of Art Centre Sales, grossing over $850,000 in total artwork sales. The number of artists engaged also increased by 35% with around 95 artists being involved. For their positive economic and social impact for and on remote Aboriginal people, Warmun Art Centre won the 2019 WA Telstra Business Awards in the Social Change Maker Category.

Willie Creek Pearls of Broome is passionate about North West’s tourism. Willie Creek Pearls is a local family owned and operated business that operates across six industries: tourism, retail, commercial pearling, manufacture, jewellery and hospitality. The company has evolved from having nine staff in 1989 to now 84 local team members employed during 2019 peak season. They operate the Willie Creek Pearl Farm, Discover Broome Tour, Pearl Luggers Museum and Elizabeth Quay Pearl Experiences. They also run seven jewellery showrooms, the Zookeepers Store café and Harvest Café. The company has maintained Eco Accreditation since 2008. They also engage the services of 110 locally-based Broome suppliers.

Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award
Clarence Estate Residential Health and Aged Care of Albany have cared for over 650 residents and 400 people in their own home over the last fifteen years and are strongly focused on supporting carers and families and delivering high quality care and services across the region. Clarence Estate currently employs over 180 staff who receive extensive local internal and external training and a performance development structure. Enterprise Bargaining Agreements provide above award conditions and an Employee Assistance Program provides counselling or other support as required. Shift workers receive seven weeks of annual leave ensuring time to dedicate to family. Staff are rewarded through the annual Directors Awards and scholarships.

Juniper Bethshan of Katanning is a homely residential care facility was built around the original federation style house and can host up to 25 permanent residents and one short term respite resident, all in private rooms. Juniper invest heavily in the training and development of their staff to ensure a highly-skilled, capable and motivated workforce. Staff are enabled and empowered for their individual physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual well-being with Juniper acknowledging that their staff are the heart of their person-centred ethos. Staff are supported in their career development and provided with ongoing training and development programs to help them achieve their individual goals.

Springhaven Frail Aged Hostel of Kojonup is a twenty-two bed not for profit residential care facility proudly owned by the Shire of Kojonup. Their thirty-three staff include Registered Nurses, Personal Carers, Kitchen and Cleaning staff along with Activities Coordinators. Staff are encouraged to up-skill and the Shire provides funding towards ongoing education and training. A free counselling service is available and subsidised housing is also offered at the commencement of employment. Above Award wages are provided and flexible rosters and workloads allows staff to mix work with family life and commitments. As a young staff member said "Good people - good environment."

Yaandina Community Services Ltd of Roebourne is a small 20-bed residential aged care facility with a new 10 bed wing soon to be commissioned. Of their 20 residents currently, 14 are local Aboriginal people and many staff have extensive knowledge of the local language and family groups. Yaandina has a strong staff development program with six monthly performance review and training plans to support a career pathway and identify personal and leadership development. Indigenous staff are supported with Lore and Cultural Leave and are acknowledged and supported at sorry business and funeral times. On offer is an Employee Assistance program and financial assistance, housing and advocacy when required.

Prime Super Business Achievement Award
Brida Pty Ltd of Roebourne Ltd is a social enterprise owned and operated by the Ngarliyarndu Bindirri Aboriginal Corporation that delivers cleaning, grounds maintenance and waste management services in Pilbara. Brida was incorporated in 1999 and started working with Rio Tinto providing grounds maintenance. From eight employees in 2008, Brida now employs 170 staff, all of whom are local and 60% are Aboriginal, making it the largest employer of Aboriginal people in Roebourne. In 2019, they started providing waste management services for the City of Karratha and the Wickham Waste Transfer Station. The company’s expanded customer base and services resulted in an annual revenue of $11 million.

Busselton Jetty Incorporated of Busselton is a not-for-profit association that operates the 155-year-old 1.841-kilometre Busselton Jetty. Following the Jetty’s destruction by Cyclone Alby in 1978, a group of passionate community members came together to raise funds to save it. The group, now known as Busselton Jetty Incorporated (BJI), manages and ensures the preservation of the Jetty. BJI has an annual revenue of around $4 million but suffered $0 income due to COVID-19. They have 52 employees and 90 volunteer Jetty hosts. In 2019, BJI won gold in the Major Tourism Attraction and Ecotourism categories at the WA Tourism Awards and the Sir David Brand Award.

Footprint Cleaning of Djugun is committed to providing opportunities to local people. Footprint Cleaning was founded in 2016 by Aaron and Taryn Ryan with an objective of providing high quality commercial cleaning services to Kimberley businesses whilst employing Aboriginal people who resided in Broome. Only three months since they opened, the Shire of Broome awarded Footprint Cleaning a full tender for cleaning services. From two employees, they now have 20 staff, 50% of whom identify as Indigenous. They now have 26 clients and 43 facilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they started a new service called “Touch-Point Cleaning”. Footprint Cleaning earns nearly $1 million in revenue.

Froth Craft Brewery of Exmouth opened in February 2017, when Pete, Phil and Tyler decided to pioneer a “Craft Micro-Brewery Tourism” industry in north-west regional WA. Froth has a predominantly wooden feel that is aesthetically pleasing, inviting, comfortable and evokes a unique, rustic, warm atmosphere conducive to socialising. They offer 16 taps pouring artisan craft beers and an extensive offering of wines, spirits and cocktails and have brewery tours and ‘Beergustation’ dinners with six courses. They have 36 staff and experience 30% growth annually. Froth won the Best Boutique Brewery, Best Regional Venue and Best Outdoor Area in the 2019 Australian Hospitality Association (WA) Awards.


Woolworths Community Group of the Year Award
Southern Aboriginal Corporation of Albany is committed to developing better outcomes towards “Closing the Gap”. SAC was initially inspired in 1983 when Elders had the vision to form an organisation focused on ensuring better opportunities and land rights for the Aboriginal community. Governed by seven Aboriginal Board Members, SAC employs 18 staff, 60% of whom are Aboriginal. SAC provides health, housing, recreation, employment and education programmes whilst promoting Noongar social and cultural values. Some programmes include the Family Violence Prevention Legal Service, Gnumaries Hurt (‘smoking tobacco harms’) and the Aboriginal Ranger training and employment Program. Another major project is the development of a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre.

The Rural, Regional & Remote Women's Network of WA of Margaret River has been actively engaging with the 265,000 women of rural, regional and remote Western Australia since 1996. In June 2020, they provided input to a WA Government Ministerial Round Table on the impacts of the COVID-19 shutdown on women. In mid-2019, they hosted ten regional forums to support the Women’s Voices initiative, where they highlighted major issues for women such as lack of career-building jobs, leadership roles and essential women’s health services, and sexual harassment. The Network has partnered with Curtin University to deliver regional leadership programs and with National Body Agrifutures Australia to acknowledge the essential role of women.

Youth Involvement Council of South Hedland is a not-for-profit that has been offering a youth drop-in centre, crisis accommodation, social enterprise and outreach and patrol service for 30 years. They work with young people and their families to support them to engage with life in a positive way. During the COVID-19 pandemic, YIC supported more than 70 households to meet daily challenges like putting food on the table whilst engaging with more than 200 youth. YIC’s Fresh Start Café changed from a breakfast spot to a kitchen that produced meals in very large quantities to feed local families, while their patrol van became a food delivery van.

Bunbury Multicultural Group Inc of Bunbury promotes cultural diversity and inclusivity. Established in 1991, BMG is a not-for-profit comprising of a ten-member management committee and ten regular volunteers from various ethnic backgrounds. They organise events and projects such as the ‘This is Me’ program, which presents migrant stories in public spaces and cafés. Their biggest event is the South West Multicultural Festival, a free event that celebrates a vast array of culturally diverse communities and attracts over 5,000 people annually. Their events offer an informal opportunity for new migrants and refugees to network in the community. BMG was voted Bunbury’s Community Group of the Year in 2017.

RAC Volunteering Award
Chris Mitchell of Broome believes in leading by example. Chris has been an active member of the Broome Lions Club for 31 years and has undertaken various roles including Treasurer, Vice President and President of the Club. He is a founding member and current secretary of the Broome Men’s Shed. A registered wildlife rehabilitator, Chris and his wife set up a 24/7 wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release service. He has been a Councillor with the Shire of Broome since 1992 and is currently a State Councillor on the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) representing the Kimberley region. In 2019, Chris was awarded a Life Membership by WALGA.

David Barton of Busselton demonstrats strong leadership in the community. In 2019, David was a catalyst in bringing The Man Walk, a regular Monday morning walk welcoming men of all ages to encourage regular activity, promote discussion and foster social connections. David also coordinated the installation of the Strong Roots Blue Tree project, which is part of a nationwide initiative to destigmatise mental health and improve suicide awareness. He helped raise more than $10,000 for the Blue Tree Initiative’s affiliated non-profit groups. A physiotherapist, David is the current Chair of GP Down South, a public health not-for-profit that delivers mental, youth and Aboriginal health services.

Phil Ticehurst of Pinjarra has a compassionate heart. For over 30 years, Phil has been visiting prisoners in Karnet Prison once a month to build friendship and be a support that many of them feel missing in their lives. He visits homes of people in poverty or those struggling; supplying company, food and other needs and bringing general encouragement to vulnerable community members, even negotiating peace between feuding families. In 2014, Phil was instrumental in starting the Pinjarra Community Kitchen, Inc. (PCK), a fully volunteer organisation that feeds homeless and needy people once a week. PCK also supplies second hard clothing, bedding, toiletries and furniture.

Sharon Henderson of Kalgoorlie has dedicated over 40 years to numerous organisations and charities promoting the advancement of health, education and wellbeing of the community. In 2020, Sharon became a mentor at Coder-Dojo workshops, helping children with Autism learn coding. She has also taken an active role in the Goldfields Disabled Sports. She was instrumental in establishing the Henderson Centre and the Before School Care Program at East Kalgoorlie Primary School, where she helped Aboriginal children have access to food, clothing, healthcare and transport. Sharon worked hard in petitioning for the installation of an MRI machine in the Kalgoorlie Health Campus, getting over 2,500 signatures.

Rinehart Development of Northern Regional WA Award
Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation of Djarindjin is dedicated to improving the liveability of their community. DAC operates several commercial businesses that allow it to 70% self-fund their community operations and activities. It owns a highly successful airport that refuels helicopters for the Browse Basin and provides 20 highly skilled jobs for local people. The organisation is governed by a board of six directors and employs 35 people. DAC also owns and operates a roadhouse and shop that provides food, groceries and fuel to the community and tourists. It operates the Dampier Peninsula Safehouse, provides a Youth and Community Service Outreach program and runs the Community Resource Centre.

Impact Media of Karratha is committed to helping local businesses develop a strong and successful brand. Established in 2013 by Tamara, BinAmat is a 100% Indigenous-owned business based in Karratha that provides a range of graphic design, communications and marketing services throughout Northern Regional WA. They have assisted hundreds of unique local businesses, delivering a high standard of communications, marketing and design work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they helped clients survive the downturn by facilitating e-commerce stores for clients who could no longer sell to their customers face-to-face. As a result, Impact Media’s turnover increased by 30% and achieved a similar annual net prior to 2020.

Willie Creek Pearls of Broome passionately advocates for tourism in the North West. Founded in 1989, Willie Creek Pearls is a Western Australian family-owned and operated sustainable business that runs the Discover Broome sightseeing tour, Willie Creek Pearl Farm, The Zookeepers Store, and seven Pearl Jewellery showrooms. In 2015, they were issued a pearling license, allowing them to commercially farm oysters at their sea lease. In 2017, they designed and constructed a land-based Aquaculture facility used as a hatchery for oysters and other technical pearling activities. Willie Creek Pearls has won two Sir David Brand Awards and has been inducted into the WA Tourism Hall of Fame.

Pilbara Dive and Tours of Pegs Creek is promoting Australia’s North West as a dive destination. Natalie Callanan established PDT in August 2016 after recognising the need for a scuba diving service in Pilbara. PDT became a PADI Resort Centre in 2017. Some services they offer include the Dampier Archipelago Dive and Snorkel Charters, Shore Diving Experiences, PADI Dive Courses, School Dive Programs, and Kids Holiday Dive Programs. Their two casual dive masters will complete their PADI Open Water Instructor course to meet the growing demand. They have teamed up with Sorted Futures to run an innovative “Youth at Risk” dive education program with Indigenous school groups.

Insurance Commission of Western Australia Regional Safety Award
Carnarvon Roadwise Committee of Carnarvon was formed in an effort to raise awareness, educate and promote road safety to the local community and Gascoyne Region. They deliver road safety messages in line with Road Safety Commission’s Towards Zero campaign. The Committee was approved for a grant to run the Horns and Hooves on the Highway Project, which aims to create awareness of livestock on and near the roads within regional locations. They teamed up with the Carnarvon Lions Club for Driver Reviver to promote fatigue management. They developed an information pack called “A Guide to Towing in WA” to educate on the do’s and don’ts of towing.

Constable Care of Maylands started an initiative to prevent child fatalities and accidents by providing state of the art pedestrian, bike and transport and road safety education to children 4 to 12 years old. This was done through the Constable Care Child Safety Foundation’s incursion program, Safety School and the Arilty App. Constable Care delivers safety education to over 20,000 children in regional and remote WA through puppetry as an educational and entertaining platform for learning. The Safety School is a purpose-built complex that includes a realistic layout of Perth’s streets to provide students with hands-on opportunities to learn vital pedestrian, bicycled and public transport travel.

Royal Perth Hospital, P.A.R.T.Y. Program of Perth or Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth is a unique evidenced-based licenced program that promotes injury prevention through vivid clinical reality, enabling youth aged 14 and above to recognise risks, make informed choices and learn about the potential traumatic consequences of risk-taking behaviour. The Program provides an opportunity for teens to go ‘behind the scenes’ of a hospital following the trauma patient’s journey and speak with experienced trauma nurses, doctors and physiotherapists. The Program has a Regional Expansion Project funded by the Road Safety Commission. By December 2019, more than 18,700 students have attended the Program in WA.

South West RYDE Program of Bunbury aims to break the cycle of young people driving without a license, getting caught, fined and suspended. The Regional Youth Driver Education (RYDE) Program helps young people in the South West who are experiencing barriers completing their compulsory 50 logbook hours through gaining experience and improving skills. The End to End Young Driver Training is designed for disadvantaged and disengaged young people 16 to 25 years old who need training and support to obtain a driver’s licence by giving them Pre-Driver Education. Those with Learner’s Permit are coached one-on-one to increase their knowledge of rules and improve attitudes towards safety.

Curtin University, School of Education Teaching Excellence Award
Donna Goodman of Carnarvon advocates for the empowerment of young Aboriginal people. Donna is an On-Country Trainer at the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Ltd. She designed and implemented their On-Country Education programmes, framework and resources, ensuring they met all Department of Education requirements. The age-specific programmes are activity-based and provide a solution to the intergenerational barriers that Aboriginal Australians presently face throughout their years of schooling. The alternative learning method is delivered in an interactive natural environment and revolves around three courses: Bush classroom, Ranger 4 Life and Lifeskills to Leadership. In designing the Programme, Donna identified different approaches and philosophies pertaining to inclusiveness.

Helena Nicholson of Dunsborough is a Digital Technology teacher Year 1-6 and coordinates STEM education and sustainability at Dunsborough Primary School. She has developed and led school and community initiatives in sustainability education, the Arts, and STEM education in Regional WA for over 20 years. Helena manages the school partnership with Dunsborough Coast and Land Care to improve biodiversity, protect critically endangered Western Ringtail Possums and conduct revegetation of the Blythe Reserve. She utilises the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals in teaching digital technology. In 2020, Helena worked with the local custodians in the new Dunsborough Djiljit Mia Aboriginal Themed Nature Based Gathering Place.

Miriam Ifould of Ellenbrook hopes to become a better person and role model for the students. Since working at Edmund Rice College, Miriam has been actively involved in organising the yearly NAIDOC Day of Celebration, from submission to organising the day and inviting guest speakers. Miriam has developed teacher resources for the staff to allow them to integrate Aboriginal studies across the curriculum and provide ideas to assist the teacher in teaching Aboriginal students in the classroom. Miriam works with the Aboriginal students at school to ensure they are coping. She initiated the school’s Reconciliation Action Plan which had been approved by Reconciliation Australia.

Rielle Fowler of Cadoux is passionate about creating an engaging program. The Field Days Activity Trail is a student-centred guide to the Dowerin Field Days event. In 2017, she worked to bring the paper-based Trail online using QR Codes at each site. This allowed curious adults and children to engage even if they were unaware of the Trail. In 2019, Rielle worked to add to the Trail the Experience Agriculture Hub, an exhibit that encompassed different areas of agriculture. During COVID-19, Rielle created Learning@Home packages for parents to continue the curriculum in their own home. In her classroom, she implements a Walker Learning Approach.