The 2022 AR Bluett Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in local government has been awarded to two New South Wales councils.
The memorial is awarded by Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and has been running since 1945. It is hotly contested and recognises the most progressive metropolitan and rural council out of 128 councils across the state.
Mid-Western Regional Council took out the award’s Regional/Rural category, while Northern Beaches Council was crowned the Metropolitan winner.
LGNSW President, Darriea Turley, on behalf of LGNSW, congratulated the two councils on winning the “terrific accolade”.
“Mid-Western Regional Council and Northern Beaches Council are both very worthy recipients of the AR Bluett Award as both have demonstrated excellence and progress in local government throughout the past year,” Cr Turley said.
The AR Bluett Memorial Award has been awarded annually since 1945 in commemoration of Albert Robert Bluett, who served as the Secretary and Solicitor to the Local Government and Shires Associations of New South Wales for 30 years.
The AR Bluett Awards are judged by the three honorary trustees – Les McMahon (trustee Chairman), Genia McCaffery and Paul Braybrooks.
Mr McMahon said judging for this year’s award was particularly tough based on the excellent nominations received.
Mr McMahon said Mid-Western Regional Council completed a number of key projects over the past year that improved customer service and diversified the local economy.
“Mid-Western Regional Council’s focus on driving improvements across all facets of its organisation has delivered enormous benefits for its community,” Mr McMahon said.
“It completed a range of projects including the Mudgee Arts Precinct and Stage 2 of the Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex, while also undertaking a range of customer service improvements.”
Northern Beaches Council, meanwhile, led its community through a number of challenges including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented wet weather events.
“Despite the challenges, Northern Beaches Council was still able to deliver a $76 million capital works program, with a focus on resilient and sustainable infrastructure, while also undertaking a comprehensive community services program to assist all members of its community,” Mr McMahon added.
Mr McMahon thanked all the councils who took the time to nominate for the AR Bluett Memorial Award.
“Despite all the hurdles local government has had to overcome this year, it was heartening to see councils right across New South Wales achieving so much for the benefit of their communities.”
Northern Beaches Mayor, Michael Regan, welcomed the accolade and praised his fellow councillors, CEO and all council staff for their commitment to providing the highest quality service to the Northern Beaches community.
“Winning the AR Bluett is an incredible honour and I am thrilled Northern Beaches has been recognised,” Mayor Regan said.
“It hasn’t been easy but this award recognises the hard work and dedication of both the elected Council and our incredible staff to deliver great outcomes for our community.”
Mayor Regan said that 2021/22 was a challenging year with the pandemic continuing to take its toll, as well as devastating rainstorms which lead to the Northern Beaches twice being declared a natural disaster zone.
“We worked with our community to get through the worst of it, conducting door-to-door welfare checks, facilitating hundreds of additional waste collections and supporting our local businesses in recovery.”