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The community spirit and resilience of the region was recognised when the Whitsunday Regional Council won the National Award for Excellence in Community Development & Service Delivery for their Our Whitsunday: Our Utopia campaign.
Designed to show how quickly the region and its residents had bounced back from Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the campaign won the Qld Local Government Managers award earlier this year before scooping the pool at the Local Government Professionals National Federation Awards in Canberra on the weekend.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said residents should be proud that their community spirit was being recognised on the national stage.
“From day one CEO Barry Omundson, councillors and myself have placed a strong focus on consulting and listening to residents and council and community working together to create a bright future for our region,” he said.
Mr Omundson said Council has taken the lead in engaging the community to a positive vision of the future.
“Post Cyclone Debbie, the #ourwhitsunday and the Our Whitsunday: Our Utopia and Behind Utopia campaigns were born to inspire regional pride amongst residents through featuring local faces in local places, stunning natural beauty and the diversity of the region.
“This is great recognition for the “local stars” who appeared in the campaign and most importantly, all of our Whitsunday residents for their genuine community spirit, passion and pride for the diverse region: the tropical paradise which others envy but we call home,” he said.
LG Professionals Australia’s National President Tony De Fazio says the Awards were an important acknowledgement of the outstanding achievements by councils and individuals working on behalf of Australian communities.
“There is often too little recognition of outstanding people and practices in local government despite these initiatives impacting nearly every person in Australia,” he said.
“As the country’s demographics are evolving alongside emerging technologies, it’s important local governments are constantly innovating and applying best practice to ensure the best outcomes for their residents,” he said.
Member for Dawson George Christensen congratulated the Whitsunday Regional Council on leading the way in improving their community.
“I have an excellent working relationship with Mayor Andrew Willcox and CEO Barry Omundson,” Mr Christensen said.
“It’s been great to see their hard work and endeavours reap benefits through successful Federal funding applications such as the Greening Growing Bowen Project, the Whitsunday Resilience and Innovation Hub and their festivals and events strategy.”
Tourism Whitsunday General Manager Tash Wheeler said the “Utopia” campaign had been the gift that kept on giving for the region.
“Designed to show the amazing community spirit in the region the clip has also been a great tourism promotion for the Whitsundays with Trade and Investment networks in Japan, USA and Europe requesting copies to show at different trade shows and it was also screened at the Commonwealth Games trade show,” she said.
Bowen Gumlu Growers Association President Carl Walker said by using local people to talk about their community in the Utopia campaign, it was much more believable than using paid actors to talk about something with which they have no connection or feelings for.
“The Our Utopia campaign connected the community by building a feeling of unity rather than a region divided by town boundaries.”
The Our Whitsunday: Our Utopia campaign was a collaboration between Council and Tropical Exposure.
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