2011 Community Awards
The 2011 awards were presented on Tuesday 29 November 2011. There are three levels of awards including the Freeman of the City, the City of Newcastle Medal and the Service Award.
Freeman of the City
Mr John McNaughton and Mrs Margaret McNaughton for their outstanding contribution and commitment to the development of the city of Newcastle and its community.
John McNaughton was born, attended school and worked his entire career in Newcastle. He served as Lord Mayor from 1986 to1995 and was made a member of the Order of Australia during this time.
After Newcastle suffered a devastating earthquake in 1989 that cost 13 lives, injured hundreds, made over 1,000 homeless and caused more than $4 billion in damage, John oversaw the response and led the recovery and rebuilding phases. This was not limited to the built form, but included the recovery of the community including dealing with the potential for psychological and emotional fallout.
Another significant achievement included overseeing the creation of the first Australian Memorial to the sacrifices made by the Vietnam Veterans – a crucial piece of the healing process for many of the veterans.
John was one of the driving forces in procuring the land now known as the Fernleigh Track and was instrumental in driving a rezoning to ensure the corridor would be secured for purposes of transport only.
He is currently a Director of the Hunter Valley Research Foundation and held Board/Director roles on Honeysuckle Development Corporation, Newcastle Port Corporation and a member of the University Council. John also is an advisor to the Delando Cresent organisation, on the board of SIDS and Kids in the Hunter, Newcastle Rotary, and volunteers with Ronald McDonald House and Crossroads Community Outreach.
Margaret McMaughton moved to the city as a toddler, attended school here and then worked as a teacher in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
As Lady Mayoress, Margaret launched HMAS Newcastle in 1993 and continues in her role as the ship’s First Lady. She was pivotal in the ship choosing Waratah Orthopedic School as their designated charity and 17 years on the school continues to benefit from the generosity of crew of the HMAS Newcastle.
Margaret has been involved in a broad range of community groups and this commitment expanded after her husband left City Hall in 1995. She was recognised as Citizen of the Year in 2000 and also named as a ‘Hunter Living Legend’.
In recognition of her community work Margaret was made a member of the Order of Australia making her and John part of a very select group of married couples to receive this honour.
Both John and Margaret’s community work is inspiring and their commitment to the development of the city should be applauded.
Find out more about the Freeman of the City award.
The City of Newcastle Medal
Mr Peter Dormand for his outstanding contribution and commitment to environmental sustainability.
Peter Dormand has a great passion for improving the sustainable lifestyle of the city of Newcastle and its community.
After a technical career in the electrical industry Peter began working with The City of Newcastle in the late eighties. His enthusiasm for energy and resource efficiency set in place a continuous improvement process within the council’s operations.
This work was recognised at the Pathways to Sustainability Conference as best practice and the demand for this knowledge quickly grew within Australia and overseas. The Council established the Australian Municipal Energy Improvement Facility based on the Ontario model and with funding assistance from the Australian Greenhouse Office, Peter’s team worked with more than 200 Australian cities in the following decade.
Peter was actively involved in chairing the Implementation Committee of Together Today, and the significant rollout of the ClimateCam project through local schools.
He has spent many hours outside of work attending functions, expos and other meetings to promote ClimateCam.
Peter is also a great mentor, taking young people into his team and schooling them in sustainability practices. He is always offering encouragement to others, different ideas on approaching issues, and inviting the opinions of others to advise on the best way forward.
Peter is a valuable staff member of The City of Newcastle and is a great role model in promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability.
The City of Newcastle Service Awards
Ms Jaimie Abbott for her outstanding contribution to community charities for public health, education and animal welfare.
Jaimie Abbott is an outstanding ambassador for the city of Newcastle, both at the local, regional, national and international level.
A Georgetown resident, Jaimie is President of Hunter Animal Rescue and was the mastermind behind Newcastle’s Fur Ball which 400 people attended in 2010 and 2011. Through fundraising activities she has personally raised more than $50,000 for the not-for-profit organisation which has saved the lives of 500 unwanted or mistreated animals from Hunter pounds this year.
She is a volunteer community speaker with the NSW Cancer Council, a volunteer and board member of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Volunteer Support Group in Newcastle and is an executive committee member of the Hunter Business Women’s Network. She was Vice President of the Newcastle and Hunter Junior Chamber until December 2010.
Jaimie is a member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Reserves and has recently returned from a six and a half month tour of Afghanistan from January to July 2011 where she was deployed to work as a Public Affairs Officer in Kabul. In addition to her primary duties Jaimie also spent time volunteering at missions and orphanages in Afghanistan.
As well as receiving the NATO Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Australian Active Service Medal this year, Jaimie was awarded a medallion for her efforts in Afghanistan from US General David Petraeus, the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force.
As a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force Reserves, she recently received a Bronze Commendation for her outstanding performance as the Surveillance and Response Group Public Affairs Officer at Williamtown RAAF Base. This commendation recognised her professionalism, strong commitment to work and noted her achievements to be in the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of the RAAF.
Jaimie is an outstanding member of this city and a fantastic role model for others in the community.
Mr Evan Longworth for his outstanding contribution to emergency services and community organisations servicing the Hunter region.
Evan Longworth has spent a significant part of his life volunteering to support emergency services and community organisations in the city of Newcastle and the Hunter region.
He has served as a member of Citizens Radio Emergency Services Team (CREST) for 30 years. CREST is a voluntary operation that provides organisations with specialist communications support that are vital to the logistical success of many community events and operations.
Some of the events that Evan has assisted over the years include the Sparke Helmore Triathlon (raising money for HMRI), the Herald Hill2Harbour (raising money for Hunter based children’s charities), Avon Race for Research (raising money for breast cancer research), the Newcastle Show, Surfest, Loop the Lake (supporting the Warners Bay Lions Club), The City of Newcastle’s Australia Day Celebrations, the Mattara Festival and the Darby Street Fair.
Throughout his time with CREST, Evan has filled various vital roles including Training Officer and State Operations Director. He has worked as Operations Director for the Newcastle Division for the last 20 years and is currently also State Director.
His current role also requires ongoing communication with a vast range of groups and he regularly attends meetings to offer advice on logistics and administration of upcoming events. He also attends CREST meetings for the divisional and state operations to ensure operations run smoothly and effectively.
Evan maintains contact with CREST members and volunteers and is genuinely committed to creating an enjoyable team environment for members.
Evan is a selfless and enthusiastic member of the Newcastle community and a fantastic role model for others.
Mr Andrea Rufo for his outstanding contribution to community welfare and fundraising for breast cancer research.
Andrea Rufo has spent thousands of hours volunteering his time to support the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the community over the last 11 years and has also raised a total of $212,000 for breast cancer research.
Since 2000 Andrea has supported the Italian and Newcastle community as President of the Italian Welfare Organisation with special attention paid to support for the elderly and carers. He has been involved in referral programs to government and non-government assistance for crisis counselling, and drug, gambling and alcohol abuse. He has also provided support for women in the community that are isolated due to language barriers.
A major achievement was the relocation of the Italian Community Centre Hamilton to a new venue at Broadmeadow.
Andrea’s wife Sandra became a victim to breast cancer in 2005 after a courageous 10 year battle with this debilitating illness. Sandra’s passing had a devastating effect on Andrea and his two daughters. Since that time his daughters have been instrumental in helping him keep a promise to Sandra – to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
He founded the Pink Frangipani Ball which is held bi-annually and since it was first run in 2006, the event has raised awareness and funds for breast cancer research, and for those living with advanced cancer along with their families.
Andrea is also president of the Lazio Association of Newcastle and Hunter, president of the Ethnic Communities Council and is actively involved in the Ignition Mentoring Program that supports teenagers diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Andrea’s selfless mission to assist those less fortunate in our community makes him an inspiring role model for others.
Mr John Woods for his outstanding contribution to community safety and disability services.
Since retiring from a career in corporate banking John Woods has spent two and a half years managing Newcastle Taxis with a focus on improving service for those with a disability and improving community safety.
Having a family member with a disability, John’s passion for helping others has always been a key driver to ensuring Newcastle Taxi’s are able to support all members of the community with access to a reliable transport service.
He developed two strategies to encourage local people to invest in a business that supports others with a disability and to improve safety.
The first included purchasing a wheelchair accessible taxi and since taking on management of the fleet, the network has grown from four to 16 to support those with a disability gain greater independence.
Under his management the fleet has won two driver awards (NSW Taxi Driver of the Year 2009 and NSW Disability Taxi Driver of the Year 2011). He has also implemented a taxi driver community driving course that includes a component delivered by Vision Australia and to date, more than 400 drivers have completed the course.
The second strategy was to improve late night transport services during peak times and in consultation with local, state government and industry devised the late night secure ranks with a new voucher system which has proven so successful it has since been rolled out throughout the NSW.
He has increased the use of hybrid vehicles in the taxi fleet to reduce the environmental footprint and all vehicles are now using LPG or hybrid technology.
John is currently a member of Cruise Hunter, The City of Newcastle Special Events Committee and the NSW Special Events Committee.
John’s commitment to public safety and support of those with a disability makes him a valuable role model for others.
ROADwhyz Choice and Consequence Program for outstanding contribution to community safety.
The ROADwhyz ‘Choice and Consequence’ program came about in August 2007 when Michelle Davis, a local mother who had recently lost two sons to a speed related car crash met with two local highway patrol officers who were delivering a road safety message in a local hall.
The three of them formulated a plan to bring together a presenter who could share with young drivers the potential consequences of poor choices when driving a car.
The program was developed to provide information to young drivers, parents and the community with the aim of providing the tools, skills and knowledge needed to make positive behavioural choices when driving.
The volunteer members of the ROADwhyz team take time out of their working day to conduct a series of information sessions and workshops for high schools and the local community at no charge.
To date the program has been presented to approximately 100 high schools, speaking to more than 12,000 L and P plate drivers.
The group has become so popular in the community that they have travelled to Grafton and Sydney to show other volunteers how to set up the program and it is also about to kick off in Victoria.
The program is also delivered through the Traffic Offenders Program and more recently has been involved in the Sentencing Forum process – another activity performed voluntarily by its members.
ROADwhyz Choice and Consequence is an outstanding example of how volunteering can contribute to the welfare of the community.
City Administration Centre
282 King Street
Newcastle NSW 2300
Tel: 02 4974 2000
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Pictured - Freeman of the City recipients John and Margaret McNaughton