The achievements of two women from Tweed Shire Council have been recognised at today’s Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government, which highlight the work of high-achieving women and community leaders.
The Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government recognise female councillors and council staff who make invaluable contributions to improve the lives of the people they represent and serve.
Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry was named winner of the Elected Representative Award – Rural and Regional, which recognises a councillor who has advanced the position of female elected representatives.
Council’s Enterprise Risk and Emergency Management Officer Doreen Harwood received the Alternative Pathways Award – Rural and Regional, which recognises a female staff member who is breaking down gender stereotypes.
The pair received their awards this morning at a ceremony at NSW Parliament House in Sydney, attended by the Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor and the Minister for Local Government, Wendy Tuckermann.
Cr Cherry was nominated for her leadership heading the bipartisan Cross Border Taskforce. The initiative brought together members of parliament from both sides of the border and across the political spectrum to advocate for their communities when the NSW-Queensland border was closed during the height of COVID-19.
This crisis was quickly followed by the unprecedented flooding in February/March this year which saw her again provide strong leadership and advocacy for the Tweed community.
Cr Cherry’s nomination for this award was backed by enthusiastic letters of support from her fellow taskforce members, including Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, former NSW MLC Catherine Cusack and Member for Burleigh, Michael Hart.
“I am honoured to be receiving this award. Everyone knows a leader is only as good as the team you are working with, so my thanks go out to the members of the Border Taskforce, my fellow Councillors and the Council staff that work so hard to get outcomes. This award is as much for them as for me,” Cr Cherry said.
Meanwhile, as Lead Emergency Management Officer for the Tweed/Byron local government areas, Doreen Harwood has risen to the challenges the Tweed has faced such as bush fires in 2019, the devastating flood events of February and March in 2022 and in between, the COVID-19 crisis, all while continuing to complete the normal duties of her role.
Ms Harwood also liaised with emergency service organisations to ensure disaster plans were in place which could be acted upon quickly and efficiently in the event of a natural disaster.
Tweed Byron Police Superintendent Dave Roptell lent his support to the nomination.
“If it was not for Doreen’s tenacious and knowledgeable approach to this disaster, the 2022 flood operation would not have been as effective,” Supt Roptell said.
“The management of local resources and dealing with red tape, was something Doreen was exceptional in. This was also a notable factor again in dealing with the pandemic.”
Ms Harwood said she was humbled to receive the award.
“It does make me feel a little uncomfortable receiving this award because I work with so many people who do extraordinary things that go unrewarded,” Ms Harwood said.
“There are so many amazing people within or who work for our community and I know it’s not the rewards we work for.”