Local government achievements celebrated at Annual Honour Awards ceremony

On Thursday 5 November 2020 LG Professionals WA celebrated and honoured those local governments and local government officers who have gone above and beyond to achieve outstanding outcomes for both their local government and their local community.

Taking a more informal approach, this year the Annual Honour Awards ceremony provided an opportunity for guests to relax and reflect on what has been a tumultulous year that brought anguish, despair and uncertainty across the local government sector.

LG Professionals WA are incredibly proud of how the local government sector responded to the global pandemic and yet still managed to achieve such fantastic outcomes for their local communities.

Once again we would to thank everyone who took the time to submit an award nomination and once again we would like to congratulate all our award winners and finalists.

This year the judging process was made incredibly difficult by the sheer number of high quality nominations we received. Although there were many projects and people worthy of recognition there can only be one winner of each category. We celebrate our 2020 Honour Award winners below.
LG Professionals WA Medal
: Ian Cowie, City of Gosnells
Ian was a state public servant for 18 years before entering local government, working in regional development and housing. He developed policy positions for the Local Government Act 1995 and helped with their implementation.
As an LG Professionals WA board member, he has chaired the Legislative and Policy Review Committee, preparing advocacy and position papers on legislative reform.
Ian is a champion for continuous improvement, sharing and promoting excellence and sustainable improvement between local governments. He's always seeking more effective ways for local governments to serve the best interests of the community. He is widely recognised throughout the local government sector as a key expert and point person for legislative review.
Most importantly, say his colleagues, he is caring and supportive, He is generous with his time and has mentored many local government careers, encouraging and reinforcing high levels of performance and generating a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to succeed.
Meritorious Award
Colin Cameron, City of South Perth
Colin's financial and management expertise has benefited governments, universities and WA workers, but the achievement that evinces the greatest admiration must be his David and Goliath victory over a global financial firm.
When the Global Financial Crisis left the City of Swan seriously out of pocket on investments in Lehman Brothers' products, Colin as the City's Executive Manager Corporate Services, began a 10-year legal marathon taking a leadership role in a class action by 92 litigants.
With his accounting and business skills, and determination at play and after three court cases Colin helped Swan recover 90c in the dollar of ratepayers' funds.
As an Employer Representative Director for WA Super, he was an integral part of the merger and acquisition process between WA Super and First State Super.
He is widely recognised and respected as a person of integrity and outstanding leadership qualities, richly deserving of the recognition of the Meritorious Award.
Change Leader Award
Jeremy Edwards, Shire of East Pilbara
Proudly Supported by WA Super.
The team at the Shire of East Pilbara showed their appreciation of CEO Jeremy Edwards' leadership and support by working together to nominate him for the Change Leader Award. Their extensive documentation of achievements he inspired ensured he won the award.
Over the last twelve months, Jeremy has led both his organisation and the broader community through two cyclones, the COVID-19 pandemic and a year-long organisational staff review that provided consistency across the organisation. This was in addition to the day-to-day operations of being CEO of Australia's largest Shire.
In such a difficult environment he remained a highly visible, hands-on and engaged leader. He was able to switch regularly between the pragmatic and the strategic because of the trust he has built with his team and the community. He was decisive but kept on top of new information from many sources and was agile in changing direction when needed.
We often say that local government is closest to the people and most responsive to their needs. As our Change Leader 2020, Jeremy Edwards is a solid example of what that means.
Emerging Leader Award
Nicole O'Neill, City of Kalamunda
Proudly Supported by Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
A touchstone for successful modern local governments is how well they engage with their local community, but engagement is not something that can be ordered up in a plan; it has to be built through actions that serve the community.
LG Professionals WA Emerging Leader of the Year for 2020, Nicole O'Neill has spent most of her young working life engaging the City of Kalamunda with its residents, through actions, policies, personal commitment and real passion.
Her inspiring example of really living a passion for community engagement is more than worthy of the Emerging Leader of the Year Award.
Innovative Management Initiative Award
City of Karrath
Try Local, a City of Karratha initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, had a significant impact in supporting local businesses and maintaining jobs. It supported specific local small food, retail, beauty and health businesses and added a 20% discount incentive to tourism.
Additional benefits included enhancing the City's reputation for supporting local small businesses and improvements to data quality ad systems.
Try Local was quick and easy to implement, it was impactful, making a difference to short term economic viability, and it was value for money to the City.
Connecting Communities Award (Up to 15,000 population) Winner: Shire of Denmark
The Shire of Denmark is a small, creative, tight-knit community and a popular holiday destination. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Shire quickly set a priority to maintain social connection and mental wellbeing, to keep the community strong and resilient.
Denmark created the Connected Community program and used Zoom to create a dedicated Denmark Community channel. Participants could chose from a range of activities. 
The objective was to enable, empower and inspire community members to create a whole of community response to the pandemic, using the online platform to re-establish and maintain social connections and reduce isolation.
Overall, effecting change to maintain the community's social cohesion helped build community resilience in response to a difficult time.
Connecting Communities Award (Population over 15,000) Winner: City of Bayswater
Created for and delivered by Seniors the City of Bayswater's Age Friendly Ambassador program is recognised as a crowning achievement for the City. The program engages Seniors through access to practical information and support and an opportunity to have their voice heard on issues that affect them.
It is facilitated by eight passionate older adults who have become trusted leaders in the community. The ambassadors are thriving on making a difference to those, who like themselves are at risk of being socially isolated. The program is truly helping the City build a stronger community.
Partnership and Collaboration Award Winner: Town of Victoria Park
The chance to attract a major, successful sports club into the area is a rare economic opportunity for any local government. The Town of Victoria Park used an innovative partnership to extend the benefits to include a long-term, multi-faceted community program, earning them the Partnership and Collaboration Award for 2020. Under the agreement West Coast Eagles will relocate their headquarters to the Lathlain Precinct. The Eagles will partner with the Town of Victoria Park and the Wirrpanda Foundation to create the Community Benefits Strategy (CBS).
The CBS will deliver a wide range of local programs that enable lifelong learning, empowerment, increased participation, access and inclusion, leadership and collaboration.
Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Award Winner: Town of Victoria Park
The Town of Victoria Park's Community Led Urban Forest Strategy (UFS) a first of its kind, was commenced in 2018 following an assessment that the local tree canopy was down to 10% of the total land area, significantly less than what's needed to support a healthy urban environment. The UFS is community initiated and driven, under the leadership of a Town appointed Senior Place Leader - Urban Forest. It aims to increase and better manage tress on both public and private land.
The 20% target for tree canopy set by the UFS was achieved this year.