New categories for Bellingen Shire Australia Day Awards 2021

Cr Dominic King with last year's Young Citizen of the Year, Stella Rees
Cr Dominic King with last year's Young Citizen of the Year, Stella Rees

Each year the people of the Bellingen Shire are invited to nominate fellow citizens for Australia Day Awards, which aim to recognise outstanding achievement or contribution to the local community.

From 2021, the award categories are changing from what they were previously (Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Community Service Citizen of the Year, Sportsperson of the Year, Junior Sportsperson of the Year, Sports Team of the Year, Community Event of the Year, Community Group of the Year, Creative Arts Award) to a new set of seven:

2021 Australia Day Award Categories

  • Home Grown Heroes Award: open to all volunteer Emergency Service personnel and groups
  • Arts Award: open to all local artists working across all artistic mediums
  • Karma Award: open to anybody within the Shire who gives the gift of their time and attention to help others
  • Environment Award: open to all volunteer individuals and groups who protect, repair and conserve our environment
  • Active & Healthy Award: open to all active & healthy members of our community
  • Business Innovation Award: open to all local businesses facing the challenges of the economic climate
  • Community Champion Award: open to all members of our community who have contributed towards ensuring we remain a connected, sustainable and creative community

Bellingen Shire mayor, Cr Dominic King said the changes to the awards started with the introduction of the new and very popular Home-Grown Heroes Award category at the 2020 Australia Day Awards Ceremony held in January.

Cr King said the new categories mean we can "all acknowledge and celebrate our Emergency Service groups and personnel, our local artists who excel across all artistic mediums and the efforts of local business owners and farmers who have had to respond to and recover from the recent drought, fires, floods and the current pandemic crisis".

"I'm really excited about the new Australia Day Award categories, because they provide our community with the fantastic opportunity to recognise our local heroes, who more often than not work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure we remain a connected, sustainable and creative community," he said.

"And there's something for everybody, so if you know a local business owner or farmer who's leading by example, or someone making a big difference in our arts scene or local environment, or maybe they're helping to keep us active and healthy or simply changing people's lives for better, then please nominate them.

"I think it's also important that we don't forget recognise some of the quiet achievers in our community, who selflessly give the gift of their time and attention to help keep our pristine natural environment healthy and those who also help keep our bodies, hearts, minds and community active, happy and healthy as well," he said.

Nominations are open until Monday December 7.

To review our 2021 Australia Day Award Categories, or to submit a nomination form, simply go to the Australia Day Awards 2021 page on Council's Create Engagement Portal at

Or collect a form from one of the libraries or from the Bellingen Administrative Centre and once you've completed it, post or hand deliver it back to Council's Bellingen Administrative Centre.

"With seven new award categories for 2021, I encourage everybody from previous rounds to lodge a submission again because this year could be your year as there are so many people in our community who are doing great things, leading by example and giving the most precious gift they can give, the gift of their time and attention to others."