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May 22, 2024

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Former Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger is a recipient of the Public Service Medal. Photo supplied

Former Byron Shire Council General manager Ken Gainger has today been honoured for his contribution to local government with a Public Service Medal.

While his time at the council was not all plain sailing, Mr Gainger was credited with ensuring the council passed the state government’s ‘fit for the future’ test, thus avoiding the looming prospect of amalgamation.

He also set in train a strategy for long-overdue asset renewal that has recently seen an increase in rates and the controversial introduction of paid parking in Byron Bay.

Before working at Byron, Mr Gainger was GM of Lismore and Marrickville councils.

Wyrallah woman Lucy Kinsley was also a Public Service Medal recipient, which she was awarded for services to libraries in the region.

Also honoured in our region were Southern Cross University Professor Anne Graham, Byron-based world renowned musician Brian Cadd, Marist schools Regional Director Ross Tarlinton from East Ballina, and Goonellabah residents Allan Thomas and Barry Oaten.

It is more than a decade since singer-songwriter Brian Cadd was inducted into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Australian Recording Industry Hall of Fame.

He’s been awarded an AM for significant service to the music industry as a singer, songwriter, performer, mentor and producer, and to professional associations

Prof Graham, who was awarded for services to higher education, especially in the area of childhood studies said she was ‘deeply honoured and humbled’ to receive the AO title.

She added the award was also ‘an acknowledgement of all who work to raise the status, participation and protection of children and young people in society, while recognising Southern Cross University as a trailblazer in the children’s rights space’.

‘This is an award that is about “we” rather than “me’ in that it also recognises all those who have worked alongside me over many years and those who work in the community tirelessly supporting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people using the research we have produced,’ Prof Graham said.

Mr Tarlinton, a former commissioner of the NSW Education Commission and current member of the School Education Committee for School Education Leaders was awarded an OAM for his longstanding commitment to secondary education.

Allan Thomas, a member and former president of the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association also received an OAM, which was awarded for service to veterans, and to the community.

Fellow Goonellabah resident Barry Oaten, OAM, was also recognised for service to veterans and their families, and to the community.

Among his many community-minded activities, it’s noted that Mr Oaten has been providing free haircuts to ex-services personnel and to the elderly since 1969.

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