Bega Australia Day awards drop chamber-nominated citizens

Mayor Kristy McBain during the 2017 Australia Day ceremony in Bega. Picture: Alasdair McDonald
Mayor Kristy McBain during the 2017 Australia Day ceremony in Bega. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Council has announced changes to next year’s Australia Day, which will see the number of citizens rewarded for community service reduced.

In previous years, the Bega Valley Shire Citizen of the Year Awards and the Bega Chamber of Commerce Community Citizen of the Year Awards have been presented during the same ceremony on January 26.

From 2018, only the Shire Citizen of the Year Awards will be presented at the official council Australia Day ceremony.

“In recognition of the importance and significance of both awards, council has recommended that the two awards programs be presented at separate celebrations,” a council spokesperson said. 

“Council’s recommendation stems from a review of Australia Day celebrations in Bega, following feedback from the community on the two award programs.

“Community feedback highlighted a sense of confusion and lack of clarity between the two awards, and that the timing of the ceremony was lengthy due to the number of awards.

“The review also considered the benefits and viability of the pre-Australia Day civic reception event.  This council-funded and managed event will not be held in 2018,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said council still maintains a working relationship with the Bega Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Council and the chamber have worked well together around this event for a long time, council will look for ways it can support the chamber as they consider and move forward with the future of their awards program.”

Council said it felt the changes will focus the event on its own awards. It also reaffirmed citizenship ceremonies will still be held on the day.

“We are confident these changes will sharpen the focus of Australia Day locally, renewing the value and prestige of the Bega Valley Shire Citizen of the Year Awards, the citizenship ceremony that is a key part of the day, and the speech by our visiting ambassador from the Australia Day Council.”