By Mitchell Clarke
A host of local community identities are in contention for Cardinia Shire’s esteemed Citizen of the Year award.
Ten of the shire’s most active citizens have been nominated for the top award, which was crowned by Follow Baptist Church pastor Luke Williams in 2020.
The 2021 nominees include the president of the Lakeside Residents Group, the chair of the Bunyip Fire Complex recovery committee, the founder of the Indian Australian Community Cooperative (IACC) and three former council candidates.
This year’s hopefuls are Wendy Andrews, Brett Barker, Hardev Singh Cheema, Tony Fitzgerald, Aanchal Meshram, Brijal Parikh, Chris Rogers, Sakattar Singh, Shoheli Sunjida and Jasbir Singh Suropada.
Cardinia Shire Council mayor Brett Owen congratulated all nominees and thanked each individual for their contribution in “making the shire the great place it is”.
“Every year we are amazed by the efforts of people within our community,” Cr Owen said.
“These nominations are such a wonderful example of these people who are making the lives of others in our community better.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to each of our Cardinia Shire 2021 Australia Day Award nominees for their outstanding work within our community in what can only be described as a difficult year.”
The Cardinia Shire 2021 Australia Day Award winners will be announced a day prior, on 25 January.
A senior citizen of the Cardinia Shire will also be crowned. This year’s five nominees are Stan Hamilton, Diane Norton, Gwenda Preston, Ian Robert Wake and Susan Wales.
The nominee for the Young Citizen of the Year is Michael William Pearce.
While 2020 was a year like no other, and no large scale events could be held, a number of events and isolation initiatives are in contention for the title of ‘Community Event of the Year’.
In the running are the ‘A Part Together’ initiative which featured in the Gazette, ‘Book Launch – Voices from the Past’, Cardinia Farm and Food Festival, Cockatoo Country Virtual Markets, Garfield Christmas Festival, ‘Isolation Exhibition’, Kids Fun Run With Thomas, Multicultural Cricket Tournament, the Pakenham Welcomes 2020 New Year event and the South Sudanese community day.