City of Busselton lands 2020 National Award for Local Government

The City of Busselton’s airport upgrade supporting a growing tourism and freight industry has been recognised with a National Award for Local Government.

The awards celebrating “the best of Australian local government achievements” were announced by Federal Local Government Minister Mark Coulton last week.

Busselton won the Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure Award for engineering the transformation of Busselton Margaret River Airport, in WA’s south-west, into a regional hub capable of handling interstate and international flights.

Significant improvements were made to both airside and landside infrastructure in a complex development project led by the City and endorsed by all 12 local governments in the region.

The result has been a shortened time to markets for local producers, a regional gateway for growing tourist numbers, and increased options for fly-in fly-out workers who live locally.

Another WA council, the City of Mandurah, won the Contributing to Regional Growth Award for its Entrepreneurial Capacity Building Program, which equips residents with the skills to start small businesses. The council estimates the courses have led to 80 full-time and 300 part-time jobs being generated over the past five years, with $6.51 million added to Mandurah’s gross regional product.

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council in southern NSW won the Excellence in Road Safety Award for a project that has delivered measurable improvements in driver behaviour.

The council’s Safe Systems Speed Project for Local Roads takes a data-led approach to assessing both problems and solutions. To date, 51 sites known as being trouble spots in the QPRC region have seen reductions in excess speeding.

Mr Coulton congratulated all nine category winners, saying said they showcased the hard work of local governments in delivering targeted, quality services to communities across the nation.

“As a former Mayor, I know how hard our local governments work to build stronger and more sustainable communities to meet the growing needs of their residents – especially this year having experienced drought, bushfires, floods and now a pandemic.”  

The Susan Grace Benny Award, which honours the first woman elected to local government in Australia in 1919, was won by Brimbank City Council for programs encouraging Indigenous and other women to assume leadership roles within their communities.