Former Katherine Mayor recognised in Australia Day Honours

Former Katherine Mayor Fay Miller was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to local government, tourism, and the community of Katherine on Australia Day.

She was one of several elected and non-elected officials recognised in the Australia Day Honours for their services to local government.

Ms Miller, originally from South Australia, moved to Katherine in 1989 with her late first husband.

She was first elected to the Katherine Town Council as an Alderman at a by-election in 2002, and served as mayor from 2012 to 2020, retiring last November for health reasons.

As well her extensive involvement in NT tourism over the years, Ms MIller was also a strong advocate for Katherine townspeople affected by groundwater contaminated by PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams employed at the Tindal RAAF base.

Ms Miller also served as an executive member of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory and president and executive member of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association.

From 2003-08, Ms Miller was the Member for Katherine in the Northern Territory Legislation Assembly and was the Country Liberal Party deputy leader for a time.

Others awarded an AM for services to local government included Bernadette Black (a councillor with Tasmania’s Kingborough Council from 2011-16) and John Jobling, a Leichardt Municipal (now Inner West) councillor from 2012-16.

A former mayor of Meander Valley Council in Tasmania, Greg Hall, was awarded an AM for “for significant service to the people and Parliament of Tasmania, and to agriculture and horticulture”.

Yvonne Keane, who was Mayor of the Hills Shire in 2016-17, was awarded an AM for “significant service to women and children, and to those who are deaf or hard of hearing”.

Several serving and former elected council officials awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to local government and the community.

They included Kym Callaghan (District Council of Elliston, SA), Pat Chigwidden (City of Victor Harbor, SA), Frank Holohan (Dandenong City Council, Vic), John Kearns (Lithgow City Council, NSW), Terry Larkins (Gisborne Shire Council, Vic), Leslie Parsons (Inverell Shire Council, NSW), Bob Sloane (Barossa Valley Council, SA) and Paul Talbot (Corowa Shire Council, now Federation Council, NSW).

Three local council officials were awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for their outstanding service.

Lew Bezzina was recognised for outstanding public service to the Lithgow City Council, particularly during the 2019-20 bushfires.

Cameron MacLachlan was recognised for outstanding public service to the Glenn Innes Severn Council and local government in NSW, particularly during the emergency response to the 2019 bush fires.

Shannon Gibbs was awarded a PSM for “outstanding public service to local government in Queensland” through financial management roles with the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council.