Australia Day Community Awards
Australia Day Awards have been presented to outstanding citizens in the community to acknowledge their hard work and the contribution they make to North Sydney.
The North Sydney Citizen of the Year Award was presented to the long serving secretary of the Holtermann precinct Laura Tilsed for her dedication to serving and representing her local community. Ms Tilsed has also attended a large number of Council committees to push for positive outcomes for her neighbourhood and the North Sydney community as a whole.
The Community Group of the Year Award was presented to Edmund D’Cruz, the Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix House Youth Services, which provides high quality early intervention and support to young people experiencing life challenges. Services provided by Phoenix House include case management, counselling, wellbeing and self-care programs as well as organising work experience placements. Every year Phoenix House provides a vital helping hand and support for more than 300 young people in North Sydney when they are struggling and need it most.
The Young Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Sophia Skarparis, a Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College student who collected more than 12,000 signatures for her petition to ban single-use plastic bags in NSW, resulting in the petition being tabled in the NSW parliament. Sophia’s petition helped generate awareness of the negative environmental impact of single-use plastic bags and single-use plastic in general.
A new award was introduced this year – Environmental Citizen of the Year. This accolade was presented to Lain Tapsall for introducing several sustainable and waste-saving initiatives at her business, Tonic Lane Café and Ginoteria. These initiatives include banning single-use disposable coffee cups, introducing alternative biodegradable cups, promoting the Mug Movement and encouraging the use of BYO Keep Cups and containers. Ms Tapsall also introduced a veggie and herb garden, worm farm, and initiated several waste-saving partnerships with Vinnies, Tees for Totes and Boomerang Bags.
North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson said Australia Day was a fitting time to celebrate the positive contributions people have made in our community.