The HBNC team is honoured to have been named Organisation of the Year at the Fraser Coast 2023 Australia Day Awards.

At an event held at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery, HBNC was recognised as an organisation providing support to the most disadvantaged in the community.

Adding to the honours, one of HBNC’s hardworking Community Navigators, Tara Duerkop, was nominated for Citizen of the Year, in recognition of her tireless work helping community members navigate complex systems to secure employment.

HBNC CEO, Tanya Stevenson, said the award recognised the hard work of the entire HBNC team.

“The staff and volunteers at HBNC do an incredible job, and it is a wonderful boost of encouragement to be recognised in this way,” Tanya said.

HBNC President, Bernard Whebell, echoed Tanya’s comments.

“Our team members don’t do what they do for the awards and public praise, but it is nice when the hard work and professionalism are noticed and rewarded,” Bernard said.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the annual Australia Day Awards were an opportunity to recognise outstanding local heroes and high achievers from all walks of life, including sporting, arts and culture, STEM, community groups and volunteers.

“It is an honour to be able to present the awards to such a diverse, talented, caring and hard working group of local people and organisations,” he said.

All 2023 Fraser Coast Australia Day Award recipients are:

  • Citizen of the Year - Ginger Maryland;
  • Young Citizen of the Year - Ms Emmily Lingard;
  • Sportsperson of the Year - Ms Annette Clifford;
  • Young Sportsperson of the Year - Mr Jaden Hardy;
  • Cultural Award of the Year – Mr and Mrs John and Sue Erbacher;
  • Young Cultural Award of the Year – Mr Rhys Canham;
  • STEM Award of the Year – Dr Vernon Harris;
  • Young STEM Award of the Year – Mr Charlie Morris;
  • Community Group or Organisation of the Year – Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre;
  • Community Project or Event of the Year – Mobility Scooter/Wheelchair Convoy World Record Attempt;
  • Volunteer of the Year – Mrs Jenny Elliott.

Our Award:

Community Group or Organisation of the Year

The Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre

For providing programs and support to the most disadvantaged and isolated people in the community.

Over the past year, the centre has developed a greater understanding of the ongoing and emerging community needs through a strong focus on partnerships with children, family and youth; legal and tenancy advice; aged and disability care; multicultural services and social innovation services.

The centre has over 350 volunteers and donates 15,000 volunteer hours a year offering support such as transport for the elderly, playgroups for young families, youth mentoring, and English classes for multicultural groups.

The centre’s Comfort Kitchen has delivered more than 3800 meals while they have also provided hundreds of care packages and toiletry packs to assist the homeless.

The centre supports a culture of innovation in the community through their pitch nights. The pitch nights are run twice a year to support community members who have a great idea to solve a community challenge.

A value for money review with Neighbourhood Centres Queensland revealed every $1 given to the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre turns into a $14 impact.