Toowoomba Region residents are invited to recognise the good deeds performed by fellow citizens during a trying year by nominating them for Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) 2021 Australia Day awards.
TRC Deputy Mayor and Australia Day co-ordinating committee chair Cr Geoff McDonald said the events of the past year meant there were many residents across the Toowoomba Region who deserved to be nominated for 2021 Australia Day awards.
“The Aussie spirit has been even more evident across the region in the past six months during various restrictions that were enforced to safeguard against the Coronavirus pandemic,” Cr McDonald said.
“This response followed dedicated community efforts to battle bushfires and the prolonged effects of a severe drought.
“Council looks forward to seeing nominations for Australia Day awards that recognise and honour citizens who have played their part to help fellow residents.”
It is a sentiment that is shared by Toowoomba Hospital Executive Director Shirley-Anne Gardiner, who assembled and headed the Vulnerable Communities committee that coordinated emergency relief work at the height of the Coronavirus-enforced lockdown earlier this year.
Ms Gardiner said scores of individuals and community groups were drawn in to help support people who suddenly found themselves out of work or facing reduced work hours and income when the state and federal government health directives closed or affected trade for many businesses.
“In a time of fear and uncertainty, there were residents who selflessly stepped up to help people who were dealt a crushing blow by the economic fallout of the lockdown,” Ms Gardiner said.
“Our committee saw this repeatedly. We were impressed by the resolve and compassion shown by individuals as they chipped in to offer support or listen to residents who were struggling in unfamiliar circumstances.
“Many of these people performed work which largely was unseen by many residents, but it helped people who had nowhere else to turn.
“There are many people who deserve to be recognised for their efforts during the health crisis. An Australia Day nomination is one way to express thanks and honour their community work.”
Cr McDonald said it took only a few minutes to complete an online nomination form or send in a nomination form to Council.
“There are hundreds of people involved in community and not-for-profit groups across the region who contribute countless hours of assistance and run facilities or events for the benefit of fellow residents. I encourage residents to nominate our true blue achievers,” Cr McDonald said.
Cr McDonald said residents needed to lodge nominations by October 31 to allow local Australia Day committees time to review and judge categories in readiness for next year’s award presentations.
He said Council was monitoring state and federal government health advice in relation to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
“Council will be guided by this advice and will frame 2021 public celebrations in line with all health directions,” Cr McDonald said.
“Council’s top priority is to ensure community safety at all Council-run and community Australia Day events.
“While the exact format of 2021 Australia Day celebrations remains unclear, Council is determined to host community functions if possible.”
Cr McDonald said residents were welcome to complete the online nomination form at www.tr.qld.gov.au/australiaday
Award categories open for all TRC Service Centre areas include:
• Citizen of the Year (for a person older than 26),
• Citizen of the Year – (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander),
• Young citizen of the Year (for a nominee under 26),
• Cultural award,
• Sports award (senior and junior), and
• Community group/event of the year.