Tweed Shire Council is breaking with tradition this Australia Day by appointing last year’s award recipients to play prominent roles during the day.
Last year’s Citizen of the Year Bill Chaffey, a five time world champion wheelchair athlete, will be the Australia Day ambassador, while last year’s Volunteer of the Year Mark Humphries will be the Master of Ceremonies for the event taking place at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre starting from 11am.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne will also be on hand to conduct the official Citizenship Ceremony welcoming more than 40 new citizens to the shire.
Mr Chaffey, who is also patron of the Tweed Shire Access and Inclusion Awards and a 22 year NSW Police veteran, said he was very much looking forward to the day.
‘To be the ambassador for these awards and the citizenship ceremony is a very special honour,’ Mr Chaffey said.
‘Australia Day is a day when we all come together to celebrate what we have and what we have achieved together over the past 12 months.
‘There are many people in this area who are doing fantastic and wonderful things and out of all those people to have been selected as Citizen of the Year for what I had done was very special.’
Mr Humphries, who was honoured last year for his volunteer work with the Northern NSW Local Health District, Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce and Salt Surf Life Saving Club, said he is looking forward to the day.
‘I’m very excited and privileged to be part of it,’ Mr Humphries said.
‘I was totally surprised to be named a winner last year as this is obviously never something you do for acknowledgement.
‘This is a community which thrives on participation and there are many people out there who go well over and above what is required who are deserving of recognition.”
Tweed Shire Council Director Corporate Services Liz Collyer said the move to involve award winners in ceremonies the following year was the start of a new tradition.
‘While we had previously recognised these community members at the actual awards ceremony itself, there was not an ongoing role for the award recipients,’ Ms Collyer said.
‘This has been a focus for us at Council, to explore opportunities to feature these community members throughout the year.
‘Another new tradition that has been introduced is the inclusion of current award recipients as members of the selection panel, along with councillors, for this year’s awards.’