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Mon. May 20th, 2024

Gunnedah Shire’s 2023 Citizens of the Year and new Australia Day Working Group Chairperson are encouraging residents to start thinking about who they can nominate for the 2024 Australia Day Awards.

Councillor Juliana McArthur has taken over the reins of the working group from former Chairperson Cr Rob Hooke and is looking forward to seeing plenty of award nominations.

“It’s never too early to start thinking about those in our Shire who deserve to be recognised for their valuable contributions to our community,” Cr McArthur said.

“They are quiet achievers and we don’t want them to go unnoticed. One of those quiet achievers is Gunnedah Shire’s 2023 Citizen of the Year, Kamilaroi man Mitchum Neave, who in January was recognised for his ongoing commitment to many volunteer community organisations including the NSW Rural Fire Service’s Piallaway brigade and Rural Fire Service Association Liverpool Plains Branch.

“Mr Neave is also part of the Breeza Progress Association, Min Min Aboriginal Corporation, Kamilaroi Gomeroi Gamilaraay Youth Trust and NSW’s regional Closing the Gap committee.

“Another one of the Shire’s quiet achievers is Young Citizen of the Year Ellyn Blinman who is a former Captain of Gunnedah High School. Ellyn has been awarded numerous accolades in her young life. She is known for her team work, leadership skills, and social and community contributions.

“It’s locals like Mitchum and Ellyn who underpin the fabric of our community and we know there are many more out there like them.

“We want to know about you. We want to recognise you because our community is only as good as the people who serve it, including the volunteers who give so much – but also gain great rewards.

“Our leaders today can help the next generation going through.”

Mr Neave encouraged residents to nominate those around them who worked tirelessly to make the Shire a better place.

“I encourage people to step up and be nominated. A lot of people don’t know we’ve got a lot of volunteers in the community who do a lot of work,” he said.

“It is a valuable thing and you go down in history … you leave a legacy.

 “We need to encourage the young ones to take up the baton when we’re not here any more, and carry on our legacy.”

Gunnedah Shire’s 2023 Young Citizen of the Year Ellyn Blinman said the community should embrace the opportunity to highlight the achievements of those around them.

“There are so many young people doing good for our community. They’re so deserving of that recognition [and] I think more people need to voice their opinions about that,” Ellyn said.

“Even just being nominated is such an achievement … [it’s] so huge for a young person who is about to go start their life.”

Information on the 2024 Australia Day Awards will be available on Council’s website later in the year.

Cr McArthur said the Australia Day Working Group was also looking for more community members to join.

“We’d love to see some new faces in the group and welcome nominations from Shire residents,” she said.

To nominate for the Australia Day Working Group, contact Council’s Economy and Growth team on (02) 6740 2100 or email council@infogunnedah.com.au.

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