Australia Day Awards program

australia day awards banner with native plants


The Australia Day Awards program is a way to recognise people who make exceptional contributions to the community.  The awards provide the community with a way to celebrate these achievements.  

Anyone can be nominated. The program has categories and eligibility criteria for all.

Nominations open in September each year. The 2023 awards nominations are now closed.

Award categories

The program comprises two award categories:

Citizen of the Year Award

This award recognises an individual for their outstanding achievement and/or contribution to the Moreton Bay community during the preceding year, or over many years. The winner of this award will be an Australian Citizen who lives in the Moreton Bay Region. Community contributions and achievement may be in any area of community life, including sport, arts and culture, and the environment.

Mayor’s Community Spirit Award

This award recognises an individual for their significant contribution to the Moreton Bay community in the preceding year, or over many years. Anyone may be nominated for a Mayor’s Community Spirit Award. The winner is not required to be a resident of the region or an Australian Citizen. Community contributions and achievement may be in any area of community life, including sport, arts and culture, and the environment. 

2022 Australia Day Award winners

2022 winners of Australia Day awards

Citizen of the Year Award - Graham Gibb

Graham Gibb

Community is at the heart of everything Graham does. On land and at sea, Graham’s dedication and passion for serving others is a shining light, with his own needs always placed last.

Graham’s decade-long service as a Senior Radio Officer with Volunteer Marine Rescue Bribie Island has not only seen him play a vital role in protecting those enjoying Moreton Bay and supporting the crews on the water, but also helps ensure the future of the organisation. Graham established and continues to lead the annual Emergency Services Expo at VMR Bribie Island, coordinating the extremely popular event to bring local emergency services together, as well as working with local schools and community organisations, engaging with kids and the wider public. He’s also an instrumental part of the Young Emergency Services Ambassador program, inspiring future generations to join the emergency services and Defence forces.

Graham’s passion for helping others has also seen him working as a Volunteer in Policing with Bribie Island Police for the last ten years. This role sees him act as a ‘buffer’ between police and the community, offering understanding and assistance during what can be a daunting time. Graham checks in with victims of crime on their welfare, works on safety initiatives including CCTV mapping and a local business register, assists the Domestic Violence unit at Caboolture, and helps officers connect with the community through the Coffee with a Cop program.

Always humble, Graham says he couldn’t do the work he does without the support of others, and even though he’s officially retired, has no plans to slow down when it comes to volunteering. A dedicated and widely respected member of the community, Graham is a truly deserving winner of the 2022 Citizen of the Year Award. Congratulations.

Graham Gibb video thumbnail

Graham Gibb video transcript

Mayor's Community Spirit Award - Ann Brooks

Ann Brooks

Ann’s passion for education has brought joy and sparked a love for learning among thousands of others across the Moreton Bay Region.

Her dedication and enthusiasm during her 12 years’ combined service as President of the Bribie Island University of the Third Age (U3A) saw membership grow from 460 senior citizens when she started out in 2004, and almost tripling by the time she passed on the torch in 2016. She has also served as Vice President and is now the Patron. With U3A originally run across different spaces, Ann secured the lease of the Bribie Island Community Facility to bring everyone under the one roof and worked with Council to expand the facilities in 2015.

 More than 2,000 members from across Bribie and surrounding areas are now part of the social and educational club for seniors, with a wide range of classes in many subjects run by volunteer tutors to help with mental and physical wellbeing. As Ann’s nominator says, without her work to grow Bribie’s U3A, many seniors would be isolated and disengaged with society in general.

 Known as a caring and inclusive person, Ann has worked diligently to make sure the programs offered by U3A are of the highest standard, with costs kept low so no-one misses out, and has been a regular tutor.  She has also edited the U3A newsletter, and was instrumental in setting up a U3A at Caboolture, which now boasts 500 members, and a third at Beachmere, with 150 members joining just 18 months in.

 Ann also manages the Masters and Apprentices annual art and drama exhibition held at the Bribie Island Community Art Centre (BICAS), giving more than 100 local artists the opportunity to showcase their work, and cementing the link between the U3A and BICAS.

 An inspiring educator, manager and friend, Ann truly embodies community spirit, and is so deserving of this honour.

Ann Brooks video thumbnail

Ann Brooks video transcript

Mayor's Community Spirit Award - Len McCandless

Len McCandless

The story of Len’s determination to turn his own life around has proven inspirational as he reaches out to others in his local community, helping them to do the same.

Len’s fighting spirit burns bright. Having been homeless from a young age, it was the help of support services like Rosies – Friends on the Street that helped him through the tough times, bringing safety and stability to his life.

Len first came to Rosies when he was just 13 years old when he was living on the street because it was a safer option than the foster system. During this time, Rosies was the only thing that gave him social interaction and stability in his life – two things he says he never had, homeless or not.

He is now paying that experience forward. Starting out as a patron volunteering with Rosies in 2017, Len became a Team Leader, and is now a Branch Coordinator. Known as incredibly caring, Len can truly relate with those who seek help at Rosies, and his nominator says he’s always on hand with a big smile, a cuppa and a chat.

Len works with many other services to connect with at-risk youth and encourage them to seek comfort and solace at Rosies. He’s also active in his local community, speaking to different organisations to put the spotlight on what those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are going through.

He not only makes a difference in others’ lives through volunteering, but also uses his big heart in his job as a disability support worker at Skylark House. Through all the challenges he’s faced himself, Len knows how to connect with others, and reach out to provide support and comfort, and is also a dedicated single dad.

Len is a true inspiration to all those who have the pleasure of meeting or working with him, and despite all he’s been through, has chosen the path of helping others. His community spirit lives large, making him a standout for this award. Well done, Len.

Len McCandless video thumbnail

Len McCandless video transcript

Mayor's Community Spirit Award - Malcolm 'Mick' Klein

Mick Klein

Mick’s love of sport has inspired him to ensure others in his community have access to everything they need to help achieve their dreams, and live healthy, active lives.

Through hard work and dedication, Mick established Caboolture Sports Club in 1994, funding its construction by working with venture capitalists and six local sporting groups across softball, touch football, cricket, dog obedience, soccer and rugby union. Under Mick’s leadership, they united to form an umbrella group to help support their different codes, and a place for them to meet and socialise, bringing the community together. He also served as the club’s first President.

Thanks to Mick's passion to help these six foundation clubs reach their goals, each now receives funding from Caboolture Sports Club, providing them with some of the best sporting facilities in Australia. The club delivers over $1.9 million in cash and in-kind support to the local community each year, including over 300 local sporting clubs, community groups and individual athletes.

The Club has now expanded, developing the North Lakes Sports Club, and acquiring the former Caboolture RSL to establish Sports Central, with the three venues employing a significant number of people in the region. Mick and his wife Jenny also established the highly successful business, Strap and Wrap Industrial Packaging Systems, with its head office in Brendale, and branches throughout Australia. He also established the cricket club on Torrens Road.

Mick’s dedication and generosity is helping grow the next generation of sports stars, which is more important than ever as Moreton Bay prepares to become a major hub for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This award recognises his service and ongoing support for his community. Congratulations Mick.

Mick Klein video thumbnail

Mick Klein video transcript

Media release - 2022 Australia Day Award winners

Stories of selflessness and mateship at 2022 Australia Day Awards

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