Australia Day Award winners

Citizen of the Year

Dr Harpreet Kandra

Harpreet is a leader in the Sikh community and was the driving force behind the opening of the new Sikh temple in Officer. He sourced grants and funding for the temple, so that it now has a kitchen to prepare food for community events.

Harpreet raises awareness and appreciation for Sikh food and culture in the wider community by organising Sikh food at shire events such as Harmony Day and Australia Day. He also worked with Toomuc Valley Landcare and Lions Club to provide hay donations from the Sikh temple site to the Need for Feed initiative.

Senior Citizen of the Year

June Wright, OAM

June recently retired as leader of the 1st Koo Wee Rup Scout Group after around 40 years of tireless service to the Cubs and Scouts in various roles, and in 2017 received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to youth through her involvement with Scouting.

June is also a member of the Koo Wee Rup Lions Club, and has worked as a volunteer manager in their op shops for over ten years.

Young Citizen of the Year

Meagan Venables

Meaghan has dedicated many volunteer hours to the Scouting movement over the past ten years. She started as a youth helper in Cubs and is now an assistant Joey Scout leader in Rovers. She won an Australian Scouting Medallion and a Queen Scout Award for her efforts.

As a Pakenham and District Agricultural Show committee member, Meaghan has introduced new technologies and categories to the show, helping it to remain current and keep evolving. She has also volunteered as a surf lifesaver.

Event of the Year

Yakkerboo Festival

‘Yakkerboo’ has been running for 42 years and attracts more than 10,000 people. The event brings our community together for a fun and affordable family day out, thanks to the hard work of its committee.

The festival celebrates all things Cardinia Shire with a street parade, vehicle display, live music, food trucks, market stalls, fireworks and a birthday party for festival mascot Mr Yakkerboo.

Citizen of the Year

Malcolm Graham

Malcolm has been an active member of the Upper Beaconsfield community since the early 1980s, volunteering for a number of community-based organisations including the CFA, Scouts and Neighbourhood Watch. For the past 7 years, Malcolm has worked tirelessly to support the annual Village Festival, which brings residents together to celebrate the wonderful community they live in. Malcolm received the 2016 Upper Beaconsfield Citizen of the Year award in recognition of his significant contributions to the local community over almost 40 years.

Senior Citizen of the Year

Les Jacobs

Les has been a member of the men’s shed in Pakenham for the past 12 years, including many years as committee presendent. He is consistently one of the first to arrive and last to leave, and spends many hours outside of meetings planning activities and overseeing countless projects to benefit the local community. For example, Les and his fellow men's shed members have made ramps to help older and disabled residents, possum and bird boxes to protect native wildlife, and wooden ‘training’ horses for Riding for the Disabled.

Young Citizen of the Year

Sally Jensen

Sally is an inspiring young leader who has made significant contributions to her school as well as to the scout group, men’s shed and hospital in Koo Wee Rup. Sally served on the Koo Wee Rup Secondary College School Student Representative Council for three years, including as Junior House Captain and Senior House Vice Captain. Her volunteer work at the hospital includes conducting morning exercises, assisting with catering and organising sing-a-longs with patients. She has been awarded the Queen Scout Award, Silver Star Award in Ballet, and took out first prize in the Refresh Art Competition organised by Federation University – all while maintaining a part-time job at Woolworths where she works 20 hours per week.

Event of the Year

Cardinia Casey Biggest blokes lunch 2017

This event was first held in our region 4 years ago and has since raised over $330,000 for men’s health initiatives.The event brings about 500 local men together in a fun, relaxed environment to hear from guest speakers about the importance of having regular prostate cancer check-ups. Funds raised have been directed to the Prostate Cancer Association of Australia (Victoria) and into important men’s health initiatives via the Casey Cardinia Foundation.

  • Citizen of the year: Wayne Collins
  • Senior citizen of the year: Michael Allery
  • Young citizen of the year: Emily Bloxidge
  • Community event of the year: Cardinia Relay for Life