Local Government Week Awards Evening

The Local Government Week Awards Evening was held on 4 August at the Grace Hotel in Sydney. The evening was a celebration of the great entries from councils across the state for the following awards:

RH Dougherty Awards - Presented by Local Government NSW

Youth Week Awards - Presented by the NSW Government

Heart Foundation Local Government Awards - Presented by the Heart Foundation of New South Wales


Professionally-taken photos of the awards night are available at the following address: http://www.eventpix.com.au/lgnsw

Award Winners 2016

Read the full list of winners and judges' comments by category below. 

RH Dougherty Awards - Excellence in Communication

Division A: population less than 30,000

Winner: Kempsey Shire Council – Macleay Valley Food Bowl Agribusiness Communication Strategy

Judges’ comments: The campaign excels in many aspects. The strategy development was robust with clear identification of the issues and the means to address them. The target markets were clearly defined and Council strategically designed appropriate communication of messages and distribution methods for each target markets. The limited budget did not stop Council from delivering a professional looking website and achieving a high level of brand exposure with the campaign’s target markets.

Highly Commended: Berrigan Shire Council – Berrigan and Moira Shire Councils' Queensland Fruit Fly Strategy

Judges’ comments: The application of research to the communication strategy stands out in this submission. The approaches used to reach the target audiences were based on research, resulting in the engagement of secondary stakeholders to assist in the dissemination of messages to different demographics within the community.

Division B - population 30,000 to 100,000

Winner: Byron Shire Council – Town Centre Masterplan

Judges’ comments: An outstanding campaign that created a sense of community ownership beyond the duration of the project. The approach - of varying the range of activities from quarter to quarter - in order to engage fresh stakeholders during the 18-month project life was inventive. Council also demonstrated clever ways to engage with the hard to reach. A stand out feature of the project was the formation of the community ‘Bounce Group’. This approach was strategic and a great way to disseminate information, evaluate campaign progress and strengthen community ownership of the project. The fun and hands-on elements of the campaign were an excellent way to generate awareness and assist people to visualise challenging planning concepts.

Highly Commended: Tweed Shire Council – Community Engagement Network

Judges’ comments: This project had great graphics and illustrated a good reason to really look at the way we do things, and then do it better.  In a clearly difficult time of change and reform, the strategy and Network created a positive morale boosting exercise for those involved.

Division C - population more than 100,000
Winner: The former Parramatta City Council, now City of Parramatta Council – Australia Day 2016

Judges’ comments: An outstanding campaign that demonstrated robust strategy development. Council effectively spent its budget and leveraged the event and media partners to achieve maximum exposure for the campaign. The results speak volumes for the effectiveness of the campaign. The dissemination of messages was highly strategic and creative, cleverly matching the different media with the relevant audiences. Brilliant use of a range of means to engage their community on an important issue. The submission was well written and clearly addressed the judging criteria

Highly Commended: Joint

Blacktown City Council – White Ribbon Accreditation

Judges’ comments: This is an inspiring project and a great demonstration of Council’s leadership role in influencing behaviours and attitudes from within the organisation and in the broader community. The distribution methods utilised were comprehensive and high-impact, which resulted in successful engagement internally and externally. Overall, this is a solid campaign, one that sets a benchmark for other councils seeking White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation.

Hornsby Shire Council – Choose Your Adventure Discover Hornsby

Judges’ comments: A great idea, slogan with measurable outcomes. 

RH Dougherty Awards - Reporting to your Community

Division A – population less than 30,000

Winner: Coonamble Shire Council – Annual Report

Judges’ comments: Coonamble Shire Council’s success in winning this award is best summed up by a quote from its own application: “The feedback received from the community was positive with favourable comments surrounding the incorporation of the Nickname Hall of Fame characters, easier interpretation of the achievements and budget, and many community members appreciated focus around what they wanted and needed to know, rather than what Council wanted to tell them in a long winded report!


Division B - population 30,000 to 100,000

Winner: Shellharbour City Council – Make Play Grow Video

Judges’ comments: The Shellharbour City Council Make Play Grow video and supporting strategy clearly identified the audiences that were targeted. An engaging and creative solution was adopted to report back to the community on the outcomes of a community consultation program for developing a new arts and cultural development strategy. 

Highly Commended: The former Pittwater Council, now part of Northern Beaches Council for Imagine Mona Vale – Engagement Summary

Judges’ comments: The concept of four targeted forums to draw in the opinions and comments of the community and its members was well thought out. 

Division C - population more than 100,000
Highly Commended: Joint

Blacktown City Council – The Sporting City

Judges’ comments: Through its The Sporting City series of publications, Blacktown City Council adopted a tiered approach to its community reporting, tailoring each channel effectively to the intended audience. By thinking carefully about the needs of the three audiences, The Council effectively produced reporting channels that would have an extended life. With an emphasis on quality design, the calendar was a useful tool for households. Similarly the coffee table book was a useful tool for local businesses, restaurants and accommodation houses. This entry proves that print can still be an effective communications medium for community reporting.

Rockdale City Council – Let’s Talk Rubbish

Judges’ comments: This project showed initiative and innovation; was very thrifty with their community reporting and education and definitely raised some key issues.

RH Dougherty Awards - Innovation in Special Events

Division A: population less than 30,000

Winner: Mosman Municipal Council – Bungaree’s Farm

Judges’ comments: Bungaree’s Farm is an impressive example of using an event to create cultural change. Innovation was demonstrated in Mosman’s approach to Aboriginal arts practices and use of this historical site by using contemporary art to celebrate a story from history in an inventive way. This led to engaging with younger audiences and a change in public perception of what it means to be an Aboriginal person in modern Australia.

Division B: population 30,000 to 100,000

Winner: Bathurst Regional Council – Bicentenary Celebrating Proclamation Week

Judges’ comments: The Bathurst Bicentenary Celebration showed a clear understanding of their target market, which was not limited to the Bathurst Community. The project was positioned as a community development event as well as an opportunity for economic development. It was an outstanding success with a 290% increase in overnight visitation.

Highly Commended: Joint

The former Marrickville Council, now part of Inner West Council – Marrickville Remembers

Judges’ comments: This was a great way of commemorating ANZACS and their contribution, and certainly provided a means of education and uniting the community.

Waverley Council – Eat, Pray, Naches Jewish Community Stories

Judges’ comments: Waverley’s objective to create a resource that will preserve stories for years to come was achieved. Their evaluation showed that the event created informed and engaged audiences.  The use of personal imagery in the cultural program made it stand out among other submissions in this division.

Division C - population more than 100,000

Winner: Joint

Blacktown City Council – Sustainable September Eco Festival 2015

Judges’ comments: The Sustainable September submission was detailed and included clear goals. The project showed progression and ambition with an aim to attract new audiences to the event. This was also the only submission that recognised which stakeholders had the most potential for behaviour change. Basing their strategy on the Blacktown City 2030 Community Strategic Plan and using the Blacktown City Environmental Sustainability Framework to build their festival program gave them a strong direction that was in line with the values of the community.

The former Wyong Shire Council, now part of Central Coast Council – Wyong Lakes Festival

Judges’ comments: The Wyong Lakes Festival submission included great insight into the Council’s plans for economic development. Their breakdown of the budget was detailed and their explanation of the project as an investment for their local economy made them stand out against other applicants. The festival vision of ACTIVATE, CELEBRATE, EDUCATE was illustrated in the delivery of the project. Building the theme around lakes and water activities was a unique idea. This broad event based around bodies of water showed creativity and they were able to deliver this targeted event while ensuring it was still inclusive and accessible.

RH Dougherty Awards - Outstanding Individual Contribution 

Winner: Berrigan Shire Council – Susie Escott

Judges’ comments: Employed as an administration officer in a customer facing role, Susie saw a need for Berrigan Shire Council to develop a social media presence.  When advocating for this Susie faced scepticism and limited awareness within the organisation of social media’s effectiveness in a rural, ageing community. She also encountered doubt from colleagues that she had the expertise or resources to carry out the project successfully.

Susie overcame these and successfully established a social media presence for Berrigan Shire Council which she now curates. Facebook analytics prove that Berrigan Shire’s Facebook page outperforms councils with similar mobile/internet connectivity constraints.

Susie recognised the value that rural people place on receiving information from a trusted source that is part of their everyday life, particularly in times of disruption or emergency bought about by natural disasters.

By prioritising posts from the community and ensuring Council content reflects broader community interests, Facebook and Twitter have been used as ‘social’ tools, not ‘corporate’. This has resulted in a communications platform that is trusted and supported by its community and which is the ‘go to site’ when the community experiences a disruption or emergency.

Heart Foundation Local Government Awards

Councils with populations 5,000 – 25,000

Winner: Kiama Municipal Council

Councils with populations greater than 25,000

Winner: City of Sydney

Highly Commended: Tamworth Regional Council

Youth Week Local Government Awards

Best on-going commitment to local Youth Week programs

Winner: joint

The former Dubbo City Council

Walgett Shire Council

Most Innovative Youth Week Program in 2016

Winner: Maitland City Council

Best Small Council with the most outstanding Youth Week program in 2016

Winner: Walgett Shire Council

Best Local Youth Week Program in 2016

Winner: joint

Campbell Town City Council

Cessnock City Council

NSW Health Play Safe Sexual Health Project Award

Winner: joint

The Former City of Canterbury

Walgett Shire Council



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