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Winners of the GPSC Community Awards 2020

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021 - 4:00pm
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Council congratulates the worthy winners of the Golden Plains Shire Council Community Awards 2020.

The Golden Plains Shire Council (GPSC) Community Awards 2020 were presented today at Council’s Australia Day event. Following a Citizenship Ceremony, all award nominees were recognised and this year’s winners announced.

The Golden Plains Shire Council Citizen of the Year 2020 is Brad McKenzie of Bannockburn.

Brad has worked closely with mental health charity Black Dog Institute over a number of years as both a fundraiser and Volunteer Community Presenter. In 2014, Brad walked from Mildura to Bannockburn, raising more than $13,000 and he has since travelled Australia as a volunteer, speaking to schools, community groups, sporting clubs and medical professionals about the Black Dog Institute, mental health, and his own personal story of living with depression and anxiety. The institute selected Brad as an ambassador for its recent One Foot Forward walking challenge campaign that raised more than $6 million in 2020. Brad also undertook a fundraising walk at the Great Wall of China in 2019 and plans to complete the Larapinta Trail in 2021.

The GPSC Citizen of the Year 2020 nominees were Sharon Boyd of Lethbridge, Cathy Bushell of Ross Creek, Lynette (Lyn) Galtry of Teesdale, Brendan Johnston of Smythes Creek, Belinda Koenig of Scarsdale, Adam Liversage of Haddon, Hayley Quach of Grenville, Catherine Schurmann of Maude, Kylie Turville of Linton, and Linda Wong of Meredith.

The Golden Plains Shire Council Senior Citizen of the Year 2020 is Damian Baker of Inverleigh.

Damian is a volunteer at the public open space to the north of the Leigh River in Inverleigh and was involved in the plans to redevelop the space as a recreation space for locals and visitors. He has mowed and maintained the area for almost 22 years, coordinating tree planting days, keeping an eye on furniture and the Federation Bridge, and organising contractors to manage the weeds and other hazards. Damien also volunteers at the local cemetery, mowing the lawns and helping with general maintenance and beautification.

The GPSC Senior Citizen of the Year 2020 nominees were June Amor of Bannockburn, Rod Draper of Bannockburn, Dorothy Helyar of Bannockburn, and Val Robertson of Inverleigh.

The Golden Plains Shire Council Young Citizen of the Year 2020 is Sophie Busuttil of Smythes Creek.

Sophie was nominated for her generous acts of charity. In 2020, the Year Nine student donated her hair to Sustainable Salons, who distribute ponytails to charitable organisations to become wigs for those suffering from medically induced hair-loss conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sophie also supported the youth mental health organisation Headspace Ballarat, by creating and selling “clay friends” pins and donating more than $200 to the organisation.

The GPSC Young Citizen of the Year 2020 nominees were William and Emily Bradley of Batesford, Rachel and Megan Kaiser of Maude, Charlie Thompson of Lethbridge, and Jakob Wray of Bannockburn.

The Golden Plains Shire Council Community Impact Award 2020 was presented to the Smythesdale Cemetery Trust.

The Smythesdale Cemetery Trust was nominated for its significant contribution to the Smythesdale community. A volunteer organisation with a combined total of 185 years of experience, the Trust serves the community by providing cemetery services, maintaining the cemetery in operational condition and assisting with genealogical research – with its longest-serving member having volunteered for 42 years. The Trust operates under the auspice of the Department of Health and Human Services, and holds four meetings per year, plus site inspections and regular working bees. With cemeteries considered an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust members have continued to maintain the cemetery throughout the challenges of 2020.

The GPSC Community Impact Award 2020 nominees were Batesford-Fyansford-Stonehaven Landcare Group (BFS Landcare), Equihands Youth Leadership of Meredith, and Woady Yaloak Warriors of Haddon and surrounding towns.

Mayor Cr Helena Kirby congratulated all winners and nominees of this year’s GPSC Community Awards.

“Congratulations to the 23 individuals and four community groups that were nominated for this year’s Golden Plains Shire Council Community Awards. Today we heard a wonderful collection of stories about the many volunteer hours and valuable contributions these impressive nominees have made across the Shire in 2020.

“Our four Award-winners are exceptional examples of civic pride and on behalf of Council and the Golden Plains community, I’d like to thank and acknowledge Brad McKenzie, Sophie Busuttil, Damian Baker and the Smythesdale Cemetery Trust as the winners of the Golden Plains Shire Council Community Awards 2020.”

The Golden Plains Shire Council (GPSC) Community Awards 2020 are an opportunity to formally acknowledge extraordinary individuals and community groups who make an outstanding contribution to Golden Plains Shire.

Pictured above are (back row, left to right): Deputy Mayor Ian Getsom; Damian Baker, GPSC Senior Citizen of the Year 2020; Mayor Cr Helena Kirby; with (front row, left to right) Rosemary Angus and Ray Phillips of the Smythesdale Cemetery Trust, winner of the GPSC Community Impact Award 2020; Sophie Busuttil, GPSC Young Citizen of the Year 2020; and Brad McKenzie, GPSC Citizen of the Year 2020.


Watch the recording below of Council's Australia Day event.

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Page Last Updated:

Friday, 29 January 2021 - 4:05pm


Council acknowledges the traditional Wadawurrung owners of this land. Council pays its respects to Wadawurrung Elders both past and present and extends that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who are part of Golden Plains Shire.