Australia Day Awards highlight outstanding local achievements

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Mildura Rural City Council’s 2023 Australia Day Award recipients have been announced, highlighting amazing contributions residents and groups make within our region.

This year’s Australia Day Award recipients are:

Citizen of the Year

Peter ‘Sam’ Saunders

Young Citizen of the Year

Conor Pall

Community Event or Project of the Year – JOINT WINNERS

Red Cliffs Centenary Committee – 2022 Red Cliffs Centenary Celebrations

North West Victorian Motorcycle Club – 2022 Hattah Desert Race

Mildura Mayor Liam Wood announced this year’s recipients at the Mildura Australia Day event at Henderson Park.

“Our Australia Day Awards are one of the highest honours Council can bestow to publicly acknowledge local heroes and hard-working community groups,” he said.

“I congratulate all our winners and nominees and thank them for the fantastic work they are doing within, and for, our community.”

Citizen of the Year

Peter ‘Sam’ Saunders

Peter has dedicated countless years to community work within the Ouyen community, including helping elderly residents maintain their yards, helping to keep the township clean and providing transport to those in need.

He has spent the past 16 years volunteering at Ouyen’s Pattinson Elderly Care Hostel, while providing financial assistance to local organisations that benefit the community.

Peter’s other contributions include:

  • Putting out rubbish bins and returning them for the elderly and those who are incapacitated
  • Spraying weeds on public land to help prevent the spread of noxious weeds and plants
  • Collecting cans and bottles for recycling for the benefit of the Ouyen Men’s Shed

Young Citizen of the Year

Conor Pall

A recipient of the 2022 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year Award in the ‘Connecting Communities’ category, Conor was a member of Mildura’s 2021 Youth Parliament, which created a bill to Criminalise Coercive Control in intimate partner relationships.

Conor is the only Mallee resident currently serving as a Young Peer Facilitator for the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, while helping to facilitate a ‘Youth Forum’ for Mallee young people.

His other contributions include:

  • Continuing to advocate publicly, meet key policymakers, collaborate with stakeholders
  • Development of a children’s book which will be a key component of domestic violence education in Australia

Community Event or Project of the Year – JOINT WINNERS

Red Cliffs Centenary Committee – 2022 Red Cliffs Centenary Celebrations

North West Victorian Motorcycle Club – 2022 Hattah Desert Race

The 2022 Red Cliffs Centenary Celebrations was a four-day event held in April 2022, attracting people from across Australia to mark a century since the township was established as a soldier-settlement.

The event brought former and current residents together to celebrate the town’s growth over the past century, while also re-connecting the township following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hattah Desert Race marked its 25th year in 2022 and remains the only motorcycle event of its type in Australia to offer a junior component.

The 2022 event was made possible thanks to more than 20,000 volunteer hours, with more than 7,000 people attending, helping to inject an estimated $5million into the local economy.

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