Brimbank’s finest have been recognised on Australia Day for their exceptional contribution and outstanding service to the local community.
The 2021 Brimbank Australia Day Awards were presented across two categories and have been awarded to:
• Citizen of the Year: Uncle Graham (Boots) and Aunty Joyce Cooper
• Young Citizen of the Year: Otto Riddell
Brimbank Mayor, Cr Ranka Rasic presented these awards on Tuesday 26 January at the Brimbank Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony at the Kevin Wheelahan Gardens in Sunshine.
“The awards recognise the exceptional contributions, hard work, and determination of individuals making a positive difference within Brimbank,” Cr Rasic said.
“On behalf of Council, I wish to extend my congratulations to Uncle Graham (Boots) and Aunty Joyce Cooper, and to Otto Riddell for their selfless contributions to the Brimbank community in a year of unmatched challenges.
“I would also like to congratulate all of the nominees for their contributions to our great City, and to thank them for their commitment and valued work in the community.
“Brimbank is a proud and vibrant community and this year’s award winners and nominees are very much at the heart of what makes Brimbank such a wonderful place,” Cr Rasic said.
As respected Local Aboriginal Elders, Uncle Graham (Boots) a proud Yorta Yorta, Mutti Mutti man and Aunty Joyce Cooper a proud Yorta Yorta woman from Northern Victoria have both taken the lead in supporting their communities, and have gained recognition as custodians of knowledge and lore ensuring it is passed on from generation to generation.
They are pivotal in helping tackle broader community issues, have advocated on behalf of the community, acted as role models, and over the years have fostered 87 children.
Otto is a young leader who inspires and empowers youth across Brimbank through activities with the Crystal Queer program and through input to the program has empowered, educated and advocated for the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the headspace Youth Advisory Group, Otto has not only advocated for positive change to the LGBTQIA+ community, but also for children at school and those who identify as having disability, such as autism.
As part of the Australia Day ceremony, more than 60 Brimbank residents took the oath to become some of the country’s newest citizens.