29 August 2023

Help recognise a Wagga community hero's selfless work with an Australia Day Award nomination

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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man and woman at lagoon

ErinEarth co-founder Carmel Wallis and Wagga Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout launch the 2024 Australia Day Awards. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Wagga Wagga City Council is inviting locals to submit their choices for the 2024 Australia Day Awards.

Mayor Dallas Tout and ErinEarth co-founder Carmel Wallis launched the awards on Friday (25 August) at the Wollundry Lagoon Precinct.

Nominations are open for five categories: Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Environmental Citizen of the Year, the Ted Ryder Sports Memorial Award and the Walk of Honour. Nominations close on 25 November.

Cr Tout said people volunteered in all country areas and communities, but many didn’t do it for recognition.

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“These awards are an opportunity for the community to show their appreciation for those citizens who’ve made a difference, whether it’s as part of a community group or organisation, or as an individual,” he said.

“It’s a chance to reward and showcase the outstanding service, time and commitment which they give every day to improving the lives of others.

“It is impossible to overstate the value of the activities, programs or initiatives our unsung heroes provide to the broader community. We want to make sure their stories are told and their efforts are recognised.”

Cr Tout said it was critical to recognise the volunteers’ work.

“Volunteers and communities are like a pyramid,” he said. “Volunteerism and what the community does in volunteering is the base of that pyramid. Without that, it’s difficult for communities to succeed.”

ErinEarth received the 2023 Environmental Citizen of the Year Award and Ms Wallis said it was wonderful to have been recognised and highlight the community group’s work.

“We were honoured and privileged,” she said.

Ms Wallis said volunteering was at the heart of the community group’s environmental projects.

“We have a great staff and wonderful volunteers.”

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Australia Day committee organisers are urging people to start thinking about local champions who make a contribution to all areas of community life.

Also underway is the search for budding young singers to perform the national anthem at the Australia Day Awards ceremony on Thursday, 25 January, and the Australia Day community event on Friday, 26 January, 2024.

Local primary school principals and music teachers are being encouraged to nominate students for the competition by midnight on Wednesday, 13 September, 2023.

Award nominations close at midnight on Friday, 25 November. To submit a nomination, fill out a form.

For more information about the awards, contact [email protected].

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