ENVIRONMENTALIST and anti-litter campaigner Josephine Jones is Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Citizen of the Year.
Ms Jones, of Rye, is a campaigner and advocate for cleaner beaches. She inspires others around the community to reduce litter entering Port Phillip and to help protect marine life.
Her current focus is on reducing cigarette butt litter. She has delivered anti-litter education campaigns to schools, community groups and businesses in an effort to raise awareness of the harm litter, and especially plastics, can do. Her belief that every child deserves to experience the environment untouched underpins her work.
Young Citizen of the Year is Kayla Shelbourne. Since starting her own non-profit organisation For Kids, By Kids at age 16, Kayla has worked to break down stigma around youth mental health and prevent suicide in the community.
Her volunteer efforts have included creating the organisation Chasing Change, and running events like the Suicide Prevention Walk, which was held for the second year at Mornington Park in September.
She has also run suicide prevention workshops and supported fundraising for headspace Frankston, Stepping Stones Foundation, Youth Beyond Blue, REACH and Suicide Prevention Australia.
The mayor Cr David Gill said the Australia Day Awards celebrated the efforts of members of the community to make the Mornington Peninsula an even better place to live and visit.
“On behalf of my fellow councillors and the communities of the Mornington Peninsula, I would like to congratulate and thank all winners and nominees for your commitment to our community,” he said.
Other 2019 Australia Day Award winners are:
Community Event of the Year: Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week; Lifetime Achievement Award: Heather Goddard, and Acknowledgement of Excellence Award: Dolphin Research Institute.
Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week is run over four days in March each year. It is the only event of its type in Victoria providing diverse, interactive learning experiences for students from kindergarten to Year 6, connecting children to their environment and encouraging actions for sustainable living. Organised by a committee of eight volunteers with education or environment backgrounds, it offers interactive exhibits focusing on science, history, indigenous studies and sustainability. The event attracts 2300 students, teachers and parents each year and has been running for 35 years.
The selection panel, while considering nominations for the 2019 Citizen of the Year Award, found there were candidates who warranted consideration beyond the scope of the various categories. Based on the merits of these candidates, and in recognition of their contributions to the community, the panel agreed on three extra awards – for Bravery, Community Inspiration and Lifetime Achievement.
Bravery Award: Michael and Luke Treadwell
POINT Leo lifesavers Michael and Luke Treadwell launched a rescue mission after seeing two sailing boats collide, Sunday 25 March 2018. They saved one person and eventually saved two others well away from the overturned boat.
Deciding an attempt to return to Point Leo was too dangerous they sailed to Phillip Island where they were met by Victoria Police and family members. At least two, and possibly three, lives were saved by their courageous rescue. The pair has been recognised with the Lifesaving Victoria President’s Award and the Lifesaving Australia Meritorious Conduct Bronze medal. Michael and Luke have contributed 900 hours of voluntary beach patrol as well as numerous rescues, first-aid and preventative actions.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Heather Goddard
Ms Goddard champions both the natural environment and the people in her community. Since 1991, she has contributed to the development of the Balbirooroo Community Wetlands next to Balnarring Primary School. The thriving habitat for indigenous flora and fauna is now part of the curriculum, contributing to the school receiving a five-star sustainability rating. Her work has also contributed to the Balnarring and District Community Bank contributing $1 million across 123 peninsula community groups. Her passion for young people has also included delivering a youth leadership program to Year 10 students across the peninsula.
Community Inspiration Award: Colleen Mackay
Ms Mackay’s voluntary work across the Mornington Peninsula has included establishing free book boxes, collecting donated items for families in need, sewing winter sleep sheets for homeless people and making Boomerang Bags. She has organised events to bring together neighbours and women in Rye as well as volunteering at Seawinds Community Hub and at Southern Peninsula Community Information Centre, where she works with families in need. Her efforts have helped connect the community by informing and educating, giving hope and dignity to those going without and supporting anybody who is in need.