Grassroots community heroes were celebrated at the annual Australia Day Awards breakfast over the long weekend.
Twenty-eight nominations were received across six award categories, with winners announced at the community celebration hosted by the City of Karratha and supported by Rio Tinto, Horizon Power, Woodside and the North West Shelf Project joint venture participants on Saturday.
Sandra Spadanuda was named 2019 Citizen of the Year for her tireless dedication toward improving the lives of children and young people throughout the region.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the awards provided an opportunity to formally recognise and thank the many remarkable individuals within our community and congratulated all nominees on their achievements.
“Australia Day gives us the chance to commend the people who are first to raise their hand, who give up their weekends, who spend hours organising and contributing, not because they have to but because they are passionate about giving back to the community that we all call home,” Cr Long said.
“I would like to personally congratulate all of our nominees and award winners. Their unwavering commitment to our community, makes the City of Karratha the enviable place to live that it is today,” he said.
“Our program of Australia Day celebrations have become a highlight on the local events calendar. In addition to the awards breakfast, we welcomed nearly a dozen new citizens into our community with a special ceremony."
Rio Tinto general manager Ports Cape Lambert Chris Osborn presented the Community Spirit Award, Community Service Award and the Community Event/Activity of the Year Award, recognising each recipient’s personal achievements and contribution to the local community.
“Rio Tinto are committed to working with local community groups and organisations to build stronger communities across the region. It’s a great pleasure to present these awards, which clearly demonstrates the importance community plays, in the hearts and minds of local residents here in Karratha,” he said.
Award nominations were evaluated in a number of areas, including time contributed to volunteering, demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the City of Karratha and achieving good outcomes for the community.
Other awards included Citizen of Year, Young Citizen of Year and Environmental Achievement.
Woodside’s Karratha Gas Plant Asset Manager Andrew Lobb said Woodside and the North West Shelf Project have proudly supported the City of Karratha’s Australia Day Awards since 2012 and will continue to place importance on this annual community celebration.
“The Australia Day awards recognise the generous spirit and culture of service that define Karratha. Congratulations to all of the nominees and recipients whose efforts make our community a wonderful place to live and work," he said.
Horizon Power Retail and Community Manager Michelle South congratulated all winners and nominees of the Australia Day awards and acknowledged the achievements of 2019 Citizen of the Year recipient Sandra Spadanuda.
“Congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s City of Karratha Australia Day Awards and well done to all of the nominees. It’s easy to see why this is such a great place to live and work, with so many outstanding individuals investing their time and energy back into the community,” she said.
“Sandra Spadanuda is a very deserving winner of this prestigious award and through her efforts has dramatically improved the lives of countless children and young people across the region.”
2019 Australia Day Award winners:
Citizen of the Year – Sandra Spadanuda
Presented by Horizon Power
Dedicated to improving the lives of children and young people in the region, Sandra is a volunteer Director on the YACWA (Youth Affairs Council of WA) Board and a voluntary member of the Baynton West Primary School Board. A caring and passionate person, Sandra believes in working with young people to help them create a brighter future for not only themselves, but also the wider community. In early 2013, Sandra became an endorsed foster carer for the Department of Communities – Child Protection and Family Support. In an attempt to close the gaps in youth services, programs, funding, resources and youth servicing providers, Sandra co-founded the Blue Beanie Projects in 2015.
Young Citizen of the Year – Pansy Derschow
Presented by Woodside
A positive role model for young Indigenous girls, Pansy is a lovely young girl who always has a positive outlook and a big smile for all she meets. Despite many barriers, Pansy engages full time in a VTS training program and through dedication, she has now been chosen to mentor and train the students. Pansy actively participates in the local Blue Beanie Projects assisting the management team with make-up, directing the girls and mentoring. A positive role model, Pansy is willing to give anything a go to make a brighter future.
Community Service – Karratha Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service
Presented by Rio Tinto
100% volunteer based, Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service is the primary emergency response brigade for bush, industrial and structure fires, HAZMAT and road rescue within the township of Karratha. The Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service also provides support to other emergency response units for fires, traffic accidents and storm clean ups. During the 2017/2018 financial year, they attended a total of 219 call-outs; one of the busiest years in Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service’s 45-year history.
Environmental Award – Rose Best
Presented by the Woodside-operated North West Shelf Project
Ambassador for the Pilbara Wildlife Carers since 2018, Rose Best has been assisting all species of wildlife and doing her best to rehabilitate and release all that come through Pilbara Wildlife’s doors. Education is a significant part of what Rose does, offering great support and knowledge to community members and businesses. Her passion for wildlife in the region is contagious and many have been touched by her amazing work from rescues to relocations, advice and releases.
Community Spirit – Stephen Clarke
Presented by Rio Tinto
An active member of the Karratha Scout Group and church youth leader for over 10 years, Stephen demonstrates respect, integrity, honesty and goal setting. Involved with the turtle monitoring and through community service, Stephen continues to inspire and assist the next generation to be their best through his love for the land and the people and teaching how to care for the environment.
Event/Activity of the Year – Dampier Billy Cart Derby
Presented by Rio Tinto
Now in its third year, the Billy Cart Derby was brought to Karratha by Jamie and Alison with inspiration from Marble Bar. They have worked through the safety complexities, engaged the local community and businesses to deliver this iconic event. In the months leading up to the Derby, the communities of Dampier and Karratha are buzzing with excitement. Families are getting together in sheds, carports and living rooms, in an attempt to build a person-carrying beast that can roll down a hill. This event wouldn’t be possible without the many volunteers that assist with set up and local businesses that provide in-kind services to ensure the event is a success.