East Gippsland’s Australia Day Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday 22 January at Nowa Nowa Recreation Reserve from 10.30am.
There were 33 nominations received – an increase on 2021 – and all vying for the honour of winning the 2022 Australia Day Award for Citizen, Young Citizen, or Community Event of the Year.
The ceremony will include a free community barbecue brunch provided by the Twin Rivers Lions Club, live entertainment from the Nowa Nowa Men’s Choir, flag raising by the Bairnsdale Scouts and keynote address from Australia Day Ambassador, Mr Paul Wheelton AM.
Mr Wheelton is a successful businessman, philanthropist, and Order of Australia Medal recipient (2009) for services to a range of children’s charities.
As well as being the patron of several charities, Mr Wheelton is a board member of the Life Education Foundation, Blue Ribbon Day Community Board, Order of Australia Association National Board, Pancare Foundation and Box Hill Hawks Football Club. He is a founding board member and chairman of the Bali Children Foundation which, with his family via Wheelton Philanthropy, has helped to rebuild several Children’s Homes (orphanages)and provides an educational pathway for disadvantaged Balinese children.
“It is a great honour to be selected as East Gippsland’s Australia Day Awards ambassador. These awards are a true reflection of the community spirit and acknowledge the local people that go above and beyond for their community,” Mr Wheelton said.
“I am looking forward to sharing in the Australia Day Awards ceremony and learning more about the fantastic people who contribute to the East Gippsland community.”
Mayor, Cr Mark Reeves said having such a community-minded person like Mr Wheelton visit as an ambassador adds another layer of depth, enthusiasm, and inspiration to an important community celebration.
“We look forward to hearing from Mr Wheelton about his experiences and life passions,” Cr Reeves said.
Cr Reeves said there was an air of excitement around this year’s awards following many high-quality nominations.
“I congratulate everyone who has been nominated for an Australia Day Award. The dedication to their communities is truly remarkable and everyone’s efforts are deserving of being recognised. I also thank those people who took the time to nominate a person or an event. This year’s nominations have significantly increased, which is a fantastic result,” he said.
After last year’s successful awards event in Sarsfield, Council has chosen Nowa Nowa to host the 2022 celebration – a first for the awards.
“We look forward to joining with the Nowa Nowa and broader East Gippsland community as we reflect, respect and celebrate our great community,” Cr Reeves said.
This is a family friendly event which community members are invited to attend. To reserve a free ticket, visit www.trybooking.com/BWMKW
The Australia Day Awards are supported by the National Australia Day Council and the Australia Day Victoria ambassador program.
Australia Day events are taking place across the shire on Wednesday, January 26. Visit www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/community/australia-day to find an event near you.