SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council’s 2021 Australia Day Awards will proceed but with a few changes due to COVID-19.
The awards recognise people in South Gippsland who dedicate their time, skills and energy for the benefit of their local community. There will only be two categories in the 2021 awards – Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year. Normally there would also be a Community Event of the Year category to recognise events held during 2020 but as most events this year have been cancelled or postponed it was decided not to run this category in 2021. Selecting from such a limited field would be difficult and would be disappointing for the many organisers who were unable to proceed with their events due to COVID-19.
Another significant change is that an award presentation ceremony will not be held in 2021 due to concerns that COVID-19 restrictions may not have relaxed enough by January to enable a large amount of people to congregate in an enclosed space. Instead, 2021 award nominees will be invited to a celebratory dinner with Chair Administrator Julie Eisenbise and South Gippsland Shire Council CEO Kerryn Ellis. The name of the overall winner in each category will be inscribed on the Australia Day Honour Board in Memorial Hall.
The achievements of all nominees will be recognised in local newspapers, on Council’s Facebook page and website.
South Gippsland Shire Chair Administrator Julie Eisenbise hopes that the 2021 awards will be just as successful as previous years despite the changes.
“The format for the 2021 awards is certainly a little different than other years but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’re thinking that the 2021 awards are a great opportunity to nominate South Gippsland’s quiet achievers, in addition to our usual high-quality candidates. Quiet achievers are people who works tirelessly in their local community but would never agree to be nominated for a South Gippsland Australia Day award because they hate the idea of being on stage in front of so many people. Their achievements would still be acknowledged across the community, but the format is perhaps a little more subdued than normal.
“The South Gippsland Australia Day Awards are a great opportunity to recognise hard-working individuals and I know from my visits to groups and associations across the region, just how many we have in South Gippsland. It is one of the features that makes this area so special – the willingness of people to do things for others and to do things for their community. I hope people take the time to complete a short nomination form and nominate someone deserving of this special recognition,” said Ms. Eisenbise.
2021 South Gippsland Australia Day awards are now open. You can submit a nomination at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/australiaday. Nominations are open until October 31, 2020.