Recognising our outstanding community members

Published on 27 January 2023

2023 Australia Day Award Winners & Councillors.jpg

Today at the 2023 Australia Day Awards ceremony our community is recognising some of the volunteers, community groups and sports people that make our region so vibrant.

Rockhampton Region Mayor Tony Williams said it is fantastic to see community members and groups recognised for their contributions to our region. 

“Our region has many outstanding people, and it’s always a highlight of Australia Day celebrations to see our incredible community members acknowledged for their hard work and commitment,” Mayor Williams said. 

“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate a community member or group and congratulate all of our winners whose actions benefit and positively impact our region.

“I would also like to acknowledge and say thank you to every all the nominees. You should be very proud of the work you do for the region, your hard work does not go unnoticed.”

Communities and Heritage Councillor Drew Wickerson said that Council received an overwhelming number of nominations this year and it was very hard to select our winners.

“It is the judges’ pleasure to award Steve and Debbie Richards as our 2023 Citizens of the Year,” Councillor Wickerson said.

“Steve and Debbie Richards have been committed and contributing members of the Rockhampton community for over 40 years.

“They have volunteered across the region in various areas and dedicated their time to the betterment of our community. They are truly an inspirational couple who deserve this recognition for their achievements. 

“Molly Cottam is awarded the Young Citizen of the Year for her dedication to community service and volunteer efforts. 

“As a high school student, Molly is succeeding in creating a stronger community and is well-deserving of this award. 

“In sport, this year we’re awarding Allan Laver the Sports Official of the Year award in recognition of his sustained volunteer contribution to both Athelstane Tennis Club and the surrounding recreational precinct over more than twenty-five years.

“Our Sportsperson of the Year proudly goes to high school student Georgia Ralphs who has dedicated the last 8 years to the sport of Muay Thai and who has recently brought home Gold from an international competition in Turkey. 

“Rosslyn McKendry is awarded the Community Service Award, with The Capras Community Care Program receiving the Community Initiative Award. 

“Our Cultural Award this year goes to Rita Philippi, for her dedication to the Rockhampton Eisteddfod and local music.

“In 2023, judges recognised the hard work of another community member who deserves recognition, awarding a Certificate of Commendation to Bob Newby for his initiative in establishing the native plant arboretum. 

“Bob’s foresight will provide an invaluable legacy for future generations and is an outstanding contribution to the environment and an excellent botanical and ecological resource for our community.

“Congratulations to all award recipients, thank you for your hard work and dedication.

“I would also like to thank our community judges, who are past recipients of an award, for their contribution and help in selecting this year’s winners – it was definitely hard to choose a winner from all the outstanding nominations.”

Australia Day Award winners:

  • Citizen of the Year – Steve and Debbie Richards
  • Young Citizen of the Year – Molly Cottam 
  • Sportsperson of the Year – Georgia Ralphs 
  • Sports Official of the Year – Allan Laver
  • Community Service Award – Rosslyn McKendry
  • Community Initiative Award – Capras Community Care Program
  • Cultural Award – Rita Philippi
  • Certificate of Commendation – Bob Newby