2019 Civic Awards

2019 Civic Awards recipients

On 26 January 2019 Council formally acknowledged the efforts of individuals, community groups and businesses who contribute to helping others in the City of Maribyrnong.

Mayor Cr Martin Zakharov hosted a reception where he acknowledged those inspirational community members who give so selflessly to making the City of Maribyrnong a great place to live, work and visit.

The 2019 Civic Awards recipients are as follows:

 View images of the day in the photo gallery below.

Citizen of the Year Award, Chris Gooden

Chris is co-owner of welcoming neighbourhood café Seddon Deadly Sins. He creates connection and community in everything that he does. Seddon Deadly Sins is a popular spot for locals and his daily street signs create a sense of community.

In 2017 Chris, an advocate for the LGTBQI community, planned a ‘yes’ mural for the outside of the café and held a street party in support of marriage equality. The mural and street party created a huge social connection and inclusiveness for local residents.

In addition to his business activities, Chris is the founder of Melbourne Wranglers a LGTBQI sporting club that encourages healthy lifestyles, body positivity and social inclusion. In 2018 he won gold for Australia at the Gay Games - a great achievement.

Chris’ community work is constant. If he sees a need, he will seek a solution to assist. For over 10 years he has been a weekly volunteer cooking at the Ozanam House homeless shelter.

He is a huge supporter of Indigenous hospitality training and on hearing their need for training supplies, he organised local community and business owners to donate commercial coffee equipment, even driving to Cape York himself to personally deliver the equipment and visit the students.

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Mayoral Award, Carmel Taig

Carmel Taig is a retired teacher and Secretary of the Footscray Historical Society.

Carmel taught Art and English at the Distance Education Centre Victoria from 2000, she retired from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in 2011.

In 2014, Carmel authored The Giant by the River, a history of the Yarraville Sugar works, in collaboration with designer Roger Mitchell. Carmel and Roger’s collaboration dates back to the Yarraville Federation Project, 2001.

While serving on the annual Yarraville Festival committee, Carmel accepted the brief to commit some local history to paper. Yarraville 1901 was launched in 2002 and awarded the 2003 Victorian Community History Award for Best Walk/Tour.

A local resident, Carmel has been extremely active in the community. She has had a profound influence on her students during her days teaching and dedication to the Footscray Historical Society has assisted in recording and cataloguing the history of the Footscray district.

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Volunteers of the Year Award, Lola and Peter Anderson

Peter and Lola have been instrumental in the preservation and advancement of Cruickshank Park. They were founding members of the park planning committee and for over 20 years have established and managed the Friends of Cruickshank Park group.

Through the Friends of Cruickshank Park, Peter and Lola have enlisted others to join them in regular park planting days, clean ups and community events.

Peter and Lola have been culture bearers for the park and have shown tremendous community spirit.

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Community Strengthening Award, Westgate Community Initiatives Group Inc

Westgate Community Initiatives Group Inc (WCIG) is a not-for-profit organisation that provides education, training, employment and other services to community members experiencing disadvantage.

Over the past 12 months, WCIG has delivered services across Maribyrnong to more than 500 individuals. Through Disability Employment Services, WCIG has assisted 147 jobseekers, while training has been provided to 282 local community members across 23 offerings.

WCIG was one of the first organisations to begin teaching local jobseekers to use a computer in 1987, heralding the rapid changes to the employment and skills landscape to come.

In 2005, WCIG opened its first Social Enterprise, Cleanable, a commercial and domestic cleaning business based in Footscray. In 2011, a second Social Enterprise, LoveLuvo, opened in Seddon. LoveLuvo is an eco-friendly, fairtrade retail store committed to local and environmentally responsible home and body products. The store employs and supports those living with mental illness.

For more than 32 years, WCIG has been a proud citizen of the West responding to the changing needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups.

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Active Maribyrnong Sporting Award, Westgate Basketball Association

The Westgate Basketball Association has provided increased opportunities in sport with the formation of an all-girl basketball skills program for five to ten year olds. The sessions were so well received that they have expanded to be run over three days and at four different times.

More than 100 girls have taken part in the program that has increased female participation in the sport and increased the number of female junior coaches.

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Youth Leadership Award, Bilal Akalo

At only 21, Bilal has been a fixture in youth basketball in Maribyrnong since the inception of the Westgate Basketball Association 8 years ago.

‘Coach Billy’ as the kids know him, began coaching a number of under 10 and under 12 teams while also helping lead youth programs such as Aussie Hoops and Sporting Schools.

He is now Westgate’s first State Development Program Selector, a unique achievement for a coach of his age. He has also been selected by Basketball Victoria to be an Assistant Coach and participate in their elite programs.

‘Coach Billy’ has had a profound impact on a generation of Maribyrnong youth, providing a safe and nurturing environment for kids to play a team sport and he is a role model to many.

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Arts Award Individual, Jennifer Piper

Jennifer, along with Belinda Campbell, founded ‘wit incorporated’ in 2014 to provide professional theatre to residents of City of Maribyrnong. Jennifer has been Company Manager since its inception.

Due to her careful planning and management, Jennifer has ensured a financially-sustainable practice and exceeded the life expectancy of independent theatre companies in Melbourne, despite working in a municipality not traditionally recognised for theatre.

She has personally mentored dozens of local theatre-makers in technical, artistic and production skills while also providing work opportunities for local members of the community.

Jennifer will direct a brand-new, disability-led piece of queer theatre at Footscray Community Arts Centre for Midsumma 2019, supporting and mentoring a group of queer, non-binary, deaf, disabled, neurodivergent artists and bringing an exciting and accessible piece of theatre to City of Maribyrnong.

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Arts Award Organisation, Kindred Studios

Opened in 2005 in Yarraville, Kindred Studios is a purpose built space for creative individuals and organisations.

They have the facilities to cater for musicians, bands, photographers, designers, dancers, actors, artists and entrepreneurs alike. In 2016, Lonely Planet named Kindred Studios in their Top Ten Workspaces in The World.


Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for Contribution to Business Community, Footscray Asian Business Association

Footscray Asian Business Association (FABA) is a non-profit organisation serving the local business community. FABA run annual events for the community such as East Meets West Festival, as well as the monthly Friday night markets on Leeds Street.

The organisation have for a long time been advocates for the local business community, particularly local Vietnamese businesses in the area.

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Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for New and Emerging Business, All for One Studios

All for One Studios is a health and wellness centre that helps deliver health, purpose and meaning to clients. Passionate about delivering a holistic and evidence based approach they provide ongoing support, education and resources.

The studios have contributed to changing the stigma of mental health by encouraging people to practice activities to look after their health in an accessible way. The studios often hold health workshops and fundraising initiatives for the community.

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Enterprise Maribyrnong Awards for Innovative Business, Australasian Fresh Pty Ltd

Australasian Fresh is a fresh food manufacturing business based in Maribyrnong. The organisation currently has around 40 employees.

In 2017, Australasian Fresh opened a new food facility putting the plant at the forefront of food manufacturing technology. The new line provided a superior system to give longer shelf life and higher food safety.

Australasian Fresh has also recently worked with the Victorian Government to take on ex-employees of Toyota and re-trained them in the food industry.

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2019 Civic Awards photo gallery