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Administrator’s message – Australia Day Awards Ceremony announced

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2024 Australia Day Awards Citizen of the Year Matthew Blakemore and Administrator Rik Hart

I was delighted to attend the 2024 Australia Day Awards ceremony last week, where an outstanding group of Central Coast citizens were awarded for their incredible contributions to the community. 

These annual awards are a way for Council and the wider community to celebrate and recognise individuals and organisations who have positively impacted the community. 

Our 2024 ‘Citizen of the Year’ was 18-year-old Matthew Blakemore, who was awarded for his advocacy and awareness-raising about the needs of young people with a disability. Matthew’s impact reaches far beyond our local government area, with Matthew appointed to the Research Board of the University of Technology Sydney to help ensure that research on young people is relevant, contemporary, accessible and inclusive. As a young person living with autism and an intellectual disability, Matthew has also been working with Next Level Inclusion to develop 'Easy Read' documents for organisations including St John Ambulance Service and the Government.

I would like to sincerely congratulate Matthew and thank all of this year’s winners for their outstanding contributions to the Central Coast community. Together, you are enriching the lives of the people who call this beautiful place home.

Award winners: Matthew Blakemore (winner – Citizen of the Year), 3 Villages Community Group and Elderslee Foundation (joint winners – Community Group), Doggie Dates NSW (highly commended – Community Group), Roberta Dixon-Valk (winner – Community Life), Regina Doyle (winner – Volunteer), Anannya Bandaru (winner – Young Person), Robert Mulvey (winner – Senior Citizen). 

Rik Hart, Administrator

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