2020 Australia Day Award recipients with Liverpool Councillors, local MPs and the 2020 Australia Day Ambassador, Nicholas Gleeson.
Liverpool City Council’s annual Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony returned to Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on 26 January to celebrate the city’s local achievers and welcome its newest citizens.
Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller, alongside Liverpool’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2020, Nicholas Gleeson, welcomed 41 new citizens and presented six Australia Day Awards to local people who have made great contributions to the community.
“Our annual ceremony recognises Liverpool locals who have achieved fantastic things in areas including sport, business and environmental protection,” Mayor Wendy Waller said.
“I would like to thank our Australia Day Ambassador Nicholas Gleeson for joining me on such a special occasion.”
Liverpool’s 2020 Citizen of the Year was awarded to community champion and Cecil Hills resident Rajesh Venkataramaiah.
“Rajesh has been committed to the Liverpool community for decades through considerable volunteer work for organisations including Clean Up Australia and has regularly donated blood, plasma and bone marrow in collaboration with Liverpool Red Cross,” Mayor Waller said.
An additional five awards were presented at the ceremony. The winners were:
- Citizen of the Year – Rajesh Venkataramaiah
- Senior Citizen Award – Bob Brassell
- Young Citizen of the Year – Kira Rosch
- Fraser Environment Award – Maree Stacy
- Small Business Award – Wild FX
- Macquarie Award – Pino Sgambellone
“I would like to thank our Australia Day awardees for their dedication to Liverpool and congratulate them on their achievements,” Mayor Waller said.
She said it was a privilege to welcome 41 new citizens to Liverpool on Australia Day.
“Our residents come from more than 150 birthplaces, adding to the vibrancy of our city,” Mayor Waller said.
“It is my absolute pleasure to welcome new citizens into our community on Australia Day, which is a special day for the thousands of people who have come to call Liverpool home.”
Council will welcome a further 573 citizens into the Liverpool community at a ceremony to be held at Whitlam Leisure Centre from 10.30am–12pm on Tuesday 28 January.
It will bring the number of people welcomed as citizens in Liverpool since Australia Day 2019 to 2199.
Australia Day Award winners
Citizen of the Year – Rajesh Venkataramaiah
Rajesh arrived in Sydney from India in 1998, beginning his commitment to community and environment by taking part in the first Clean Up Australia Day event at Warwick Farm. As president of not-for-profit organisation Sewa International Australia, he has regularly coordinated tree planting events across Western Sydney, facilitated blood, plasma and bone marrow drives for the Australian Red Cross and established monthly meet-ups at Liverpool City Library for seniors of a culturally and linguistically diverse background. Rajesh and his family have been acknowledged by a number of organisations and Members of Parliament for their extraordinary volunteer efforts.
Senior Citizen of the Year – Robert ‘Bob’ Brassell
Bob has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to Liverpool and the All Saints Parish for 55 years. He visits the homes of the sick in the Liverpool area and has been the Master of Ceremonies at major liturgical functions for over two decades. Bob championed the establishment of Liverpool Catholic Club, where he is a life member, to provide families with a space to socialise and work together on initiatives to support local parishes.
Young Citizen of the Year – Kira Rosch
Kira shows initiative when looking to support the needs of others, with a particular commitment to the mental health of young people. The All Saints Catholic College graduate is an accredited Youth Mental Health First Aider, has participated in Headspace Liverpool’s Youth Reference Group and is actively engaged with her local parish.
Fraser Environment Award – Maree Stacy
Maree has volunteered with the Light Horse Park Environment Group for 16 years and is the coordinator of Liverpool City Council’s Environment Volunteer Program, which restores bushland in the Liverpool area. Over the years, Maree has helped new volunteers and community members to understand the value of local parks and reserves.
Small Business Award – Wild FX (awarded to Phillip Raish)
Phillip’s Prestons-based signage and print business is known for printing school, TAFE and university assignments for local students at no charge. An active member of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he mentors struggling business owners as a way of giving back. Phillip’s commitment to community was recognised in 2018 when he received two Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence in relation to customer service and business leadership.
Macquarie Award – Pino Sgambellone
Each year the Mayor selects an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to Liverpool. This year, the Macquarie Award was presented to Pino Sgambellone. He is a well-respected and valued member of Liverpool’s Italian community and a supporter of the arts. Pino has been the Secretary of Liverpool’s Sister City Program with the region of Calabria since 1995 and has sat on a variety of committees aligned to the Italian Catholic and business communities in Australia. While a board member of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre from 2000 to 2005, he was instrumental in lobbying the NSW Government to co-fund the centre’s refurbishment and has supported the delivery of art programs which celebrate Italian culture.