Presenting our 2024 Civic Award Winners

Published on 21 February 2024

Civic Awards - group photo.jpg

Council held the annual Civic Awards ceremony on 21 February 2024, a momentous occasion to recognise, congratulate, and show our appreciation to those who have donated their time and energy to support those in need and improve the lives of so many in our municipality. 

Mayor, Cr Cuc Lam, said: "Our Civic Awards event gives us an opportunity to recognise our local heroes and show our appreciation to a wonderful group of nominees.”

“These inspiring people are the foundation of a community that cares about improving the lives of others in our municipality, and we thank you for your efforts that contribute to making our City a great place,” Mayor Lam continued. 

Citizen of the Year

Martin Wurt

Martin is a tireless advocate who has dedicated over 20 years to the cause of removing trucks from Maribyrnong's residential streets. As President of the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group since 2019, Martin's leadership has been instrumental in driving positive change. Beyond achieving policy changes, Martin's collaborative approach has inspired the formation of other advocacy groups. His expertise and dedication has empowered others to take action, fostering a network of informed and engaged citizens.

Volunteer of the Year

Helen Welch

Helen stands as a pillar of the Yarraville Community Garden, nurturing its growth for over a decade. Serving as President, of the community garden group. She embodies the heart and soul of the garden, warmly welcoming newcomers, organising meetings, and coordinating monthly working bees. Through her inclusive leadership, Helen fosters a spirit of togetherness, making the Yarraville Community Garden a welcome environment for everyone.

Youth Leadership Award

Farzad Ihaab Ahmad

Since joining the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation in 2023, Ihaab has emerged as a dynamic leader, driving initiatives to celebrate cultural diversity and combat racism in Melbourne’s West. Leading the Youth Leadership Project since June 2023, he has implemented anti-racism workshops in local schools, shedding light on the intricacies of racism, and its impact on individuals.

Donna-Joe Newman

Donna-Joe has been an integral part of the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation for three years, participating in various youth leadership programs and initiatives, including the Nallei Jerring First Nations Youth Leadership Program, the Maribyrnong City Council/Western Bulldogs Community Foundation Leaders of the Pack Program, and the Bark for Youth Advisory Group.

Community Strengthening Award

Duke Street Community House

Duke Street Community House has been running their Food Relief Program at Central West Shopping Centre in Braybrook for two years, supporting up to 250 community members weekly. They offer a dignified market-style service where visitors select from fresh produce, pantry items, and support services, and have provided relief to over 1,000 individuals and their families, bridging gaps in local food relief services.

Active Maribyrnong Sporting Award

Richard Tonelli

Richard has been an integral part of the Footscray Lacrosse Club spanning over four decades. His milestone of playing his 600th Senior Game for the Club in 2023 solidifies his status as the highest game player in Victoria and Australia, a testament to his commitment and loyalty. Beyond his remarkable achievements on the field,Richard is a respected role model, mentor, and advocate for the Club, embodying the values of dedication, respect, and inclusivity.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award: New and Emerging Business Award

Sher & Séo – Donna Sherwani

A socially responsible fashion brand in Maidstone, each purchase of Sher & Séo eco-conscious bags support refugees causes globally and aiding families in Australia. With a commitment to positive change and support for the Maribyrnong community, Donna’s vision and dedication have been recognised for their impact on both local and international stages.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award: Contribution to Business Community

Princess on Skates – Belle Hadiwidjaja

Belle’s impact on the community extends far beyond just teaching skating through her business – Princess on Skates. She brings boundless joy to children with her themed costumes and infectious enthusiasm. Her public and private ‘learn to skate’ classes aren’t just about skating, they’re fun-filled experiences that encourage kids to embrace physical activity in enjoyable ways.  

Arts Award 

Anna Bourozikas

Anna, founder and director of the Setting Sun Film Festival, curates a program spotlighting local and international talent. Anna's ground-breaking Rouge program celebrates female filmmakers, while fostering cultural diversity and amplifying stories from Melbourne's West. With growing acclaim from filmmakers nationally and globally, the Festival has attracted film enthusiasts and creators from all over. 

Jessie Deane

Jessie has made exceptional contributions to the community through her needlepoint artistry, promoting the arts, and preserving local cultural heritage, all while capturing the very essence of Melbourne's western suburbs. Through her needlepoint, she immortalises the industrial landscapes, transforming well known sites into celebrated landmarks that bring a sense of pride to locals.


Eleanor Clinic – Dr Antje Theilhaber

Since opening in 2018, Eleanor Clinic has been providing high-quality healthcare in the inner west, particularly through the delivery of LGBTIQA+ friendly services. Through collaboration with the LGBTIQA+ community, they’ve not only cultivated a welcoming space, but have organised education events for healthcare providers, contributing to a more inclusive healthcare system. Eleanor Clinic addresses gaps in transgender healthcare, and their leadership has empowered other clinics in the area to offer this care.

Mayoral Award

East African Women’s Foundation

Established in 2007, the East African Women's Foundation is a vital community organisation serving Somali-speaking communities in the western suburbs. The Foundation’s aim is to reduce poverty, hardship, and isolation. They assist the community with food relief, cultural preservation, and mental health support, assisting with resettlement and business development for women, improving health standards and aiding recovery from war-related injuries and diseases.

Quang Minh Buddhist Temple

Quang Minh Buddhist Temple extends beyond worship, serving as a vital community hub in Braybrook and Maidstone. The Temple provides family and drug counselling, employment training, and meal services. Through its outreach programs and cultural events, the Temple promotes understanding and connection among diverse communities, bridging cultural divides and fostering a spirit of cooperation and harmony.

Australia Light Foundation

The Australia Light Foundation envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and every individual’s journey is empowered by understanding, unity, and progress. Through mosque services, youth empowerment, women's initiatives, education, and community engagement, they drive community development, cultivate spiritual reflection, nurture future leaders, encourage personal growth, and strengthen community bonds.

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