Outstanding citizens honoured as part of region’s Australia Day Awards

Western Downs Regional Council

Beth Wood

An influential community leader with more than three decades of service to Dalby and the Western Downs has been named this year’s Citizen of the Year as part of Western Downs Regional Council’s Australia Day Awards 2023.

Dalby resident Beth Wood has received the region’s highest honour in 2023, with former Dalby High School Captain Matthew Butters named this year’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh said Beth was a fitting recipient of the region’s highest honour, acknowledging more than three decades of service to the community.

“Our Australia Day Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the people that make our region the welcoming, vibrant and inclusive community it is, and Beth is an extremely deserving recipient of this year’s Regional Citizen of the Year,” Cr McVeigh said.

“There wouldn’t be too many people here in the region who wouldn’t have crossed paths with Beth over the years as part of her involvement in various organisations, clubs, and community initiatives – particularly the Dalby Welcoming Community.

“This Committee has strengthened ties in our community by hosting various events such as Dalby Delicious and DeLIGHT Festival, R U OK Day and Skilling Queenslanders for Work.

“Beth has also been integral in various other community-driven programs such as the Dalby Circles of Care which supports vulnerable residents by providing cooked meals, Business After Hours events for local businesses, Dalby Christmas Tree Festival hosted by the Dalby Baptist Church, and the Lake Broadwater Ranger Program.

“Her tireless efforts have made Dalby and the broader Western Downs an even brighter place to live, and that’s why she is a worthy recipient of this year’s Citizen of the Year.”

Beth Wood said that while she was honoured and humbled by the award, she also recognised that she is one of many people working in the background every day to deliver for their communities.

“It’s an unusual position for me, because I tend to work behind-the-scenes, but I am extremely proud of being able to build social connections with others in my community. I have a great belief that connections make communities strong and resilient,” Beth said.

“The Western Downs has such an immense sense of belonging in its communities. Everyone is so supportive of each other. You can make such a difference in someone’s day with just a smile, which is part of the wonderful rural lifestyle we enjoy in this region.

“For me, this award is not just about my work, but the work of everyone who strives to build and support their communities. In being awarded this honour I’d like to acknowledge everybody who works to make the Western Downs such a wonderful place.”

Dalby resident Matthew Butters has been named this year’s Young Citizen of the Year, recognised for his leadership, passion, and extensive involvement in the community.

His achievement included participating in and coaching local sports, taking a lead role in the 2022 Dalby State High School musical, becoming a Lions Youth of the Year State Finalist, and volunteering at Dalby’s Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival, all while being School Captain and completing year 12.

Matthew Butters said that it was an honour and a shock to be named Young Citizen of the Year, and that he was thrilled to receive a phone call from the Mayor informing him of his win.

Matthew Butters “I did not expect to be awarded this honour – finding out that I’d won was an exhilarating experience! I think one of my strengths is wanting to be a part of everything I can, and we are very fortunate on the Western Downs that we have so many opportunities available to us to get involved in the community, Matthew said.

“I love how strong our community ties are. If you want to connect and meet people, you can go to almost any local event and there will be people there from all over the region. I think this opens up opportunities that you might not get to experience in other parts of the country.

“I’m very thankful to my nominator and everyone who believed in and supported me, and to Council for facilitating the Australia Day Awards. Winning Young Citizen of the Year has been an unexpected pleasure, and I look forward to continuing to play an active role in my community”

Beth and Matthew join 24 other local Australia Day Awards Winners, who will be officially recognised as part of Australia Day celebrations on Thursday 26 January.

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