2015 National Awards for Local Government



16 June 2015

Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra

It is a great pleasure to be part of this very special evening again in 2015.

Since 1986—almost 30 years—the National Awards for Local Government have been rewarding the best of the best with the national recognition they deserve.

Over this time, these Awards have charted the evolution of the local government sector as it has responded to the national agenda of successive Australian and state governments.

Past winning projects demonstrate progressive local government initiatives, keeping pace with changes in communication, technology and the way we manage and build our cities and our regions.

In themselves, the National Awards provide a platform for local governments to develop and showcase their unique and innovative solutions to local issues that will deliver better outcomes for their communities.

It is after all, local governments that take the lead in building, supporting and strengthening our communities.

Local government does this best by establishing strategic partnerships beyond council boundaries -- with community groups, business and all levels of government, and works with them to attract investment and grow the regional economy.

It is the projects that come out of these partnerships that best demonstrate this type of collaboration and deliver the positive outcomes that we seek to showcase through the National Awards for Local Government.

Bringing this event to tonight's conclusion is an enormous task and involves many people.

I thank my parliamentary colleagues for their support through their portfolio sponsorship in the category awards.

I also thank the judges who as they do each year, have a very difficult task in choosing winners from an outstanding range of projects.

And last, but absolutely not least, I acknowledge the staff in my department who again coordinated the Awards programme with great professionalism and dedication.

Now, to the reason we are here tonight -- to announce the 2015 winner of the National Award for Excellence in Local Government.

This year's worthy winner, in addition to meeting the Award's criteria to a high standard and delivering a well-developed submission, addressed a significant access and equity issue.

By researching international best practice, and engaging with the community and a range of subject matter experts, they have developed an approach that is signed off by national professional associations and meets government planning requirements.

The robust business case that has been generated has secured both private and government investment to implement their solution in key locations across the country.

As a result, they have achieved an outstanding outcome for people with disability that can be duplicated across the nation.

It now gives me great pleasure to announce the 2015 National Winner of the Award for Excellence in Local Government is Maroondah City Council from Victoria, for their project Changing Places—Changing Lives.

Congratulations to Maroondah City Council and all of tonight's finalists.