Outstanding Western Downs locals recognised with major accolades

26 January 2022

The incredible efforts of two Western Downs residents are being celebrated, with the Regional Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year unveiled as part of Australia Day celebrations.

Chinchilla resident Robyn Haig has been named this year’s Regional Citizen of the Year and Chinchilla resident Lachlan Ries has been named this year’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said it was fantastic to celebrate those special people in the community going above and beyond to make the Western Downs an even better place to live.

“Our Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year awards are about recognising the two individuals who stand out from the crowd and embody all it means to be a leader in our community, and Robyn and Lachlan are two extremely worthy recipients,” Cr McVeigh said.

“It fills me with immense pride when I learn about all of the achievements of our regional and local award recipients and demonstrates that it really is the people that make it here on the Western Downs.”

Robyn has been recognised for her passion for local business and the community. She has been instrumental in the organisation and implementation of some of Chinchilla’s most well-known community initiatives, including the Town Proud Buy Local campaign, Small Business Summit, Chinchilla BEST Group, and One Long Table Multi-Cultural Food Festival.

Robyn said it was lovely to be recognised for something that brings so much personal satisfaction and was a credit to all the great people she gets to work with.

“The contributions our volunteers and unpaid workers make is hugely valuable to what it’s like to live here, and they give so much to our communities,” Robyn said.

“The Western Downs is such an outcome driven region. When we’re organising something the attitude is ‘let’s achieve something and get it done!’ rather than focusing on the setbacks.”

Chinchilla resident Lachlan Ries has been recognised for excellence in varying chosen fields and his commitment to community advancement and innovation.

Lachlan began flying and business-related activities from a young age and achieved captaincy and 2020 school DUX, among other leadership roles. He has demonstrated an immense desire to achieve and serve those around him. His accomplishments also include Local and Regional Lions Youth of the Year, Winner of the Australia Defence Force Future Innovators Award, and establishing his own drone technologies company in Chinchilla.

Lachlan said he was very humbled by the award, and said he’s loved being able to get out among the community for his first year out of school.

“Being appreciated and recognised just shows the strength of our community. A lot of people like to talk about the cities, but out here there is a real sense of community,” Lachlan said.

“It’s just wonderful to see people of all ages and backgrounds getting recognition for trying new things and doing things a bit differently. You don’t get innovation if you don’t push barriers.”

Robyn and Lachlan lead a list of outstanding Local Award Winners, recognising incredible community efforts including Volunteer of the Year, Community Organisation Achievement, Sports Award, and Creative Arts Award.

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