2018 Australia Day Award winners announced

Friday, 26 January

The founder of an organisation dedicated to the protection of women, children and companion animals at risk of domestic violence, Anna Ludvik, has been named Lismore’s 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Anna was among eight individuals and groups to be recognised at the Australia Day Awards ceremony at Lismore City Hall today, where Lismore also welcomed seven new Australian citizens in the annual  Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony.

Anna established Lucy’s Project in 2013 after the stillbirth of her daughter Lucy. She had seen the need to connect the many organisations across Australia working in isolation on the issue of companion animals and domestic violence, and created the country’s first peak organisation, in her own time from her home in Lismore, which is now internationally recognised with chapters in most states of Australia.

Lucy's Project gives organisations as diverse as animal shelters, police, women’s refuges, government organisations, peak domestic violence services and more, a space to discuss issues, tackle problems and work collaboratively.

Anna was commended in NSW Parliament in 2016 for the international conference she organised, bringing world leaders in the field to Australia to educate others and advance the movement. As a consequence of the conference, many co-housing shelters have been built across the country and more than $100,000 was generated for member organisations.

“Anna is a very deserving recipient of the Lismore Citizen of the Year award – her compassion for people and animals affected by domestic violence is evident in the personal sacrifices she has made to make Lucy’s Project a reality,” Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said.

“In her nomination she was praised for the time and energy she has given to this cause despite being a single working mother. Her nomination also highlighted that while Lucy's Project is not a well-known cause, and does not attract the attention or funds of the bigger charities, it has caused significant change in the domestic violence sector.

“It was well documented that Anna does this work because of a deep compassion for animals and people, and not for any kind of recognition. So it is with great joy that we seek not only to recognise her valiant efforts but also to provide broader recognition of the cause and raise awareness of Lucy’s Project.”

Other 2018 Australia Day Award winners are:

Young Citizen of the Year – Benjamin James Auckram
Benjamin is a 13-year-old who lives with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, but continues to inspire those around him with his determination to achieve his goals.

Ben is captain of the Lismore Workers Swim Team and is an outstanding competitor in the pool. His most recent achievements include competing in both the NSW and Queensland Championships, winning five gold medals at the NSW Multiclass Swimming Championships in Sydney last October, and setting the current 400-metre S7 multiclass Australian record. He has also set a staggering 95 North Coast swimming records in the last six months.

Ben’s nomination described him as a young man with a warm nature and great respect for others.

“He is the most inspirational person I know,” the nomination read. “No matter what the challenges in life he may have, he always puts them aside so he is there for others.”

Aboriginal Citizen of the Year – Ayden Miners
This young Bundjalung man is a leader among his peers and his strong sense of community and culture has led him to become an advocate for an inclusive society where everyone is treated with respect.

Last year he was captain at the Rivers Secondary College Kadina campus, was an active member of the Student Representative Council and was also involved in mediation, peer support and mentoring junior students. Ayden has represented the school in many sports, often in a captaincy role, and gives his time for school events such as White Ribbon Day.

He is also a talented Aboriginal artist, volunteers at Lismore Show and NAIDOC events, and last year attended the Lismore rally for Reclaim the Night, where he spoke in support of women and children walking safely on our streets. In December 2017, Ayden was the recipient of the John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award from the Order of Australia Association NSW branch.

Services in Community (Individual) – Michael Berry
Michael, or Mike as he is known, has worked tirelessly for more than three decades to make Modanville and Dunoon villages safer, healthier and more inclusive communities.

Mike started his long and committed community service in the mid-1980s when he joined the Modanville Public School P&C Association. Following the tragic death of a child alighting from a school bus in Dunoon, Mike led a campaign that eventually saw a visit from then Deputy Premier Wal Murray. Soon after, the NSW Government announced the introduction of 40kph school speed zones progressively across the state and later 40kph limits around school buses.

In 1986, Mike joined the Dunoon Rural Fire Service and has spent 31 years as an active member. He has attended virtually all the brigade’s fire call-outs as well numerous campaigns across the country, including major fire events at Canberra in 2003, Victoria’s black Saturday fires in 2009 and Tasmania’s major fires in 2016. He has been president of the brigade for more than 20 years and is currently senior deputy captain.

Mike became a director of the Dunoon and District Sports and Recreation Club in 1987 and was instrumental in driving fundraising events and lobbying governments to build a sports club in Dunoon. He was president when the club opened its doors in 1993 and has served as president numerous times. Today, he is both president and treasurer as well as being licensee.

In 1994, Mike was the founding member of Dunoon United Football Club and was its inaugural president. Over the years he has worked tirelessly to see Balzer Park redeveloped and the well-appointed sporting grounds are today the envy of many.

Mike was awarded Life Membership of the Dunoon United Football Club in 2004 and became a Life Member of the Dunoon and District Sports and Recreation Club in 2006.

He joined the board of Football Far North Coast as a voluntary director in 2010 and served his maximum six-year term on football’s peak body in the northern NSW area. In 2010, he became a member of the newly-formed Dunoon Community Group.

Services in Community (Group) – Lismore Girl Guides (Jacki Scutt) and the 1st Lismore Scout Group
These joint winners have both been part of the community for a very long time, providing local youth with a safe and inclusive space to learn skills for life that ultimately help them become strong and confident individuals.

The 1st Lismore Scout Group brings young people together to teach them survival skills and participate in hiking, camping and fun adventures.

The Lismore Girl Guides encourages young people in their personal development with training in life skills, decision-making and leadership.

In the context of this award, special mention goes to Jacki Scutt, who has been volunteering for more than 20 years with Girl Guides Australia, beginning in Dunoon and now running the Lismore unit.

At different times Jacki has run both the unit in Lismore and Brunswick Heads while also overseeing and providing guidance and mentorship to leaders of other units across the Northern Rivers. She operates the fundraising unit on top of this, maintains the Lismore Girl Guides Hall and was responsible for the massive clean-up and renovations after the 2017 flood. Her nomination states: “Without her enthusiasm, untiring work ethic and selflessness, Girl Guides in Lismore would not be where it is today.”

Sportsperson (Junior) – James Durheim
James is a star on and off the field and has travelled across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji representing the Northern Rivers and NSW in rugby and cricket.

He has been captain of the Far North Coast Under 16s rugby side for two years and has played with both the NSW Country Under 16s and the Combined Catholic Colleges Under 16s rugby union teams. He was also a member of the St John’s College Woodlawn First XI, which won the Country Cup, and in 2017 was named the Lismore Rugby Club Junior Player of the Year and received the Jodie’s Inspiration Team Spirit Award.

This young man’s nomination said his sporting prowess is only matched by his consistent and genuine nature. It praised James as someone who always shows good sportsmanship and loves the companionship and camaraderie of his sports team.

Sports (Team/Group/Organisation) – Dunoon United Football Club
This club’s goal is to use football as a tool to benefit the entire community as well as having a strong focus on equal participation across age groups and genders.

Dunoon United Football Club was named the Northern NSW Football Club of the Year in 2017 from 235 clubs across the seven regions in Northern NSW.

The club has been acknowledged for its efforts to value and grow community football in the Dunoon area and, in particular, to continue to encourage female participation. The club was also recognised for achieving Level 2 Football Federation National Club Accreditation during the year and the remarkable job they did as a community to host the Football Far North Coast grand final series.

The club was also praised for its coach development and the initiative to stop sideline pressures on children playing the game through their ‘Let the Children Play Policy’.

Sustainable Environment – Lismore City Council Recycling & Recovery Centre staff
The team from the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre was nominated for their work in handling our community’s waste and recycling including the weighbridge staff, those sorting rubbish, the Materials Recovery Facility workers and those operating the Revolve Shop.

The nomination stated: “Their work is dirty, noisy and smelly and it’s our waste they are dealing with. They receive criticism and sometimes abuse over fees or conditions that they are not responsible for and have no control over. These people are truly at the pointy end of this community’s waste reduction. They are real warriors for a sustainable environment."

Image: Lismore’s 2018 Citizen of the Year Anna Ludvik.


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