Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and Bellingen Shire Council have been named NSW’s most progressive and innovative councils at the Local Government NSW (LGNSW) Annual Conference.
Both councils are this year’s recipients of the AR Bluett Memorial Awards, the State’s oldest and most prestigious local government award.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council was selected as the 2020 Metropolitan/Regional winner, while Bellingen Shire Council took out the Rural Category.
“This award recognises a standard of excellence and innovation that should be the goal of all public service, in all spheres of government,” LGNSW President Linda Scott said.
“On behalf of LGNSW, I congratulate the elected representatives, general managers, council staff and communities of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and Bellingen Shire Council on these well-deserved awards.
The AR Bluett Memorial Awards were established in 1945 to recognise the greatest relative progress of high-achieving councils in NSW.
They commemorate Alfred Robert Bluett, who served 30 years as the secretary and solicitor to the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW.
As an authority on local government law, Mr Bluett was instrumental in drafting the state’s first Local Government Act in 1919.
AR Bluett Awards Trustee Chairman Les McMahon said the Trust had received an all-time high 20 applications for this year’s awards.
“Each applicant was deserving of on an award, but ultimately only two councils can be named winners – a metropolitan/regional and a rural council,” Mr McMahon said.
“Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has undertaken a remarkable transformation journey since amalgamation of the two councils in 2016.They have ensured a steady process of the merger and anticipate a savings of $13 million over the next 10 years.
“Bellingen Shire Council is responsible for 1600 square kilometre of land, 57 per cent of which is non-rateable, and a relatively small population of 13,000 people. Yet it has delivered on its promises for improved infrastructure and services and has a sound financial budget.”
Cr Scott also noted the high standard of entries across the board and commended each council that had submitted an entry.
“Trustees of the AR Bluett Awards always face a daunting task choosing from such high-quality entries. This year’s winners exemplify the outstanding and often unheralded contributions councils make to their communities on a daily basis across NSW,” she said.”Ultimately the real winners are the communities, who benefit from the hard work and commitment of their elected representatives and professional staff in the local government.”