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2 October, 2020

New award recognises COVID-19 acts of kindness

An award to recognise the altruistic efforts of a local person during the coronavirus pandemic has been added to this year’s Australia Day Awards.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Cairns Regional Council Australia Day Awards, which includes the new COVID-19 Community Care Award. Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said that it was only appropriate that Council add an award to recognise the efforts of those selfless people who had assisted others during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. 

“At times of great need, you often see those humble heroes in our community come to the fore; they are the people who are there to lend support to the most vulnerable and they put the needs of others above their own,” Cr Manning said. 

“It can be the simplest of gestures – from delivering toilet paper to an elderly neighbour, picking up groceries for someone who was unable to get to the shops, or maybe even preparing meals for a struggling friend. 

“From around the world we have heard of random acts of kindness, like citizens in Italy, Spain and Israel applauding health workers from their balconies and rooftops, to students making get well cards for people in isolation. “I am sure that in our community there are many similar stories. We would like to hear about these selfless acts and encourage people to nominate deserving members in the community.” 

Cr Manning said all the other usual categories, including Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year, remained in place. “There is no greater honour than to be recognised by your own community, and there is no greater way to say ‘thank you’ than by nominating someone for an Australia Day Award,” Cr Manning said. 

“It’s important that we, as a community, make the effort to celebrate the individuals who inspire us, who help to build up our community, and who make us a stronger and more vibrant city.” Daniel Rosendale, the 2020 Young Citizen of the Year, said receiving the award had provided further motivation to continue his community work. 

“To be nominated and to then win the award was a big honour,” he said. “It gave me a sense of recognition and it definitely gave me a motivational boost to keep going. It validated that what I was doing was having a positive impact on the community. “I would encourage everyone to nominate people they think are deserving. 

“All the nominees are recognised on the day, not just the winners, and I know it gives them great pride to know their hard work is being acknowledged.” Nominations are now open in eight categories: Citizen of the Year Young Citizen of the Year COVID-19 Community Care Award Volunteer of the Year (open age) Sportsperson of the Year Junior Sportsperson of the Year (under 21) Cultural Award Junior Cultural Award (under 21) Nominations can be completed online or downloaded and printed via Cairns Regional Council’s website ( 

Paper copies are available from Council’s customer service centres and Cairns Libraries branches. Nominators are asked to fill in all relevant sections, provide contactable referees, and include as much information as possible to allow judges to assess the nomination. Nominations close Friday December 4, at 5pm.

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