2nd Annual Fisher Community Awards recognise those who are giving back

A group of ‘older surfers’ who have raised $1 million for children with disability, an energetic student advocate for action on domestic violence, and a road safety group who are saving young lives were among individuals and businesses recognised for their contribution to the Sunshine Coast community on Thursday night at Andrew Wallace MP’s 2nd Annual “Fisher Community Awards”.

10 prizes were handed out at the joyful ceremony at the Caloundra Power Boat Club, in front of a public audience of 80.

Mr Wallace said “I want our part of the Sunshine Coast to be the place to be for Education, Employment and Retirement, and that’s why I set up these awards last year. I want to do everything I can to recognise and encourage the people in our schools, our workplaces, health care facilities and community groups who are making that a reality with their work in the community.”

Winners included Jazmin Simmonds, a student at Caloundra State High School who has led the school’s participation in events like Clean Up Australia Day and International Women’s Day as well as speaking out against domestic violence, and local Glasshouse legend Ivon Northage. Other winners included RYDA, who work to reduce the high road death toll among teenagers by ensuring thousands of local young people have received the best road safety education before they get behind the wheel; GoFly Aviation who are bringing 360 degree Virtual Reality flying training to the Coast and becoming a local export success story; Caloundra Senior Citizens Club who provide a much needed social lifeline for their 300 members, and Palmwoods Singers Theatrical Society Little Village Choir who regularly contribute in a voluntary capacity at community events throughout the year.  

The Andrew Wallace Award, recognising a significant contribution from a local community group went to The Board Meeting, a small group of local surfing business men and women who have raised more than $1 million over ten years for the families of local children living with severe disability. endED, A Little Sparkle and Caloundra Air Museum were also finalists in this category and all spoke movingly about their work on the night.

Mr Wallace said “I congratulate all of our winners and finalists for their contribution to our community and for the recognition that that community has given them this evening. Our finalists were nominated not by me, but members of the public here on the Sunshine Coast. Our winners and finalists can reflect with pride on the fact that our community values and appreciates their work. I want to thank all of our many nominators for helping to make this award night so special.”

Initial nominations were called for from the public and well over 100 were received. The winners in each category were selected from the public’s nominations by a judging panel made up of representatives of the Fisher Youth Council, Business Council and Seniors Council as well as Mr Wallace himself. These councils are consultation groups, drawn from local residents, set up in 2017 by Mr Wallace.

Winners received a medallion, a certificate and a gift voucher from a local business. Local businesses which donated a gift voucher as a category sponsor are listed below in the Notes.

Mr Wallace said “Our finalists and winners should be an inspiration for all of us. The Sunshine Coast’s greatest asset is not our beaches or our spectacular hinterland, it is the people who live here and their willingness to give back to the community. It was incredibly moving to hear all of the winners’ stories, and to feel the mutual support and the community spirit shown by everyone who attended. We need to keep encouraging Sunshine Coasters to get involved and make a contribution, and I hope this award scheme will help them to know that their contribution is valued by the people who live here.”

The award categories and winners were:

The Andrew Wallace Award:                                      The Board Meeting



  • Fisher Educator of the Year:                        Rob Reid (Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training Centre)
  • Fisher Student of the Year:                         Jazmin Simmons (Caloundra State High School)
  • Fisher Education Provider of the Year:    RYDA


  • Fisher Business of the Year:                        The Wharf Mooloolaba
  • Fisher Employee of the Year:                      Shivawn Davis (Parent Connect)
  • Fisher Innovator of the Year:                      GoFly Aviation


  • Fisher Senior of the Year:                             Ivon Northage
  • Fisher Senior Community Group of the Year:

Palmwoods Singers Theatrical Society Little Village Choir

  • Fisher Senior Support Service of the Year: Caloundra Senior Citizens Club

Further detail on each winner is in the Notes below. More information about the Fisher Community Awards can be found at: http://www.andrewwallacemp.com.au/awards  

  1. Each winner’s award commendation is included below.



“The families The Board Meeting help have usually fallen through the cracks of Government support, are doing it extremely tough financially and have children with needs those of us with healthy kids could hardly fathom. Run for the last 12 years by a committee of volunteers consisting of local business people, their work is direct and pragmatic, and every single dollar goes into the hands of the families in need. The Board Meeting provides a conduit between those within the community who would like to help others and those that really need this outside support. Past help has included mobility equipment like wheelchairs and walking frames, specialty seating and standing apparatus, specialised bedding, orthopaedic products, learning technology and software, safe play and sensory equipment, lifting equipment, feeding aides, care dogs, special therapy, emergency respite care and in-home modifications. In total The Board Meeting has raised more than $1 million over ten years for the families of local children living with severe disability who have been unable to find help anywhere else.”


“Rob has worked at the Training Centre as a Construction Trainer since its inception and first intake of students in 2011. Rob is a qualified tradesperson with 35 years of experience. He displays a gentle, compassionate and kind nature which helps students to feel comfortable, accepted and on a definite career pathway. Rob leads by example, exhibiting the honesty and respect so important for today’s youth. Rob’s students notably gain in personal confidence and enhanced trade skills making them more employable. Rob is continually coming up with innovative ideas to improve the Centre’s facilities and their students’ learning. As a colleague, he is described as always the first person to lend a hand. Rob consistently puts in efforts above and beyond his role and asks for nothing but the success of his students in return.”


“As a member of Caloundra State High School’s Community Ambassador Z Club program, Jazmin has led and organised several activities which have made a significant contribution within the school and with local community groups. Jazmin was instrumental in ensuring the School’s ‘couch surfing kit toiletry drive’ was a success, proactively promoting the initiative, collecting goods within the school and sourcing supplies from local businesses. Jazmin has also participated in several community events including Clean Up Australia Day, International Women’s Day and the Caloundra ANZAC community walk. Jazmin has promoted and been supportive of the school’s commitment to White Ribbon, including speaking at assemblies in front of her peers about impacts of domestic violence and of the importance of respectful relationships.”


“RYDA focuses on the big five road safety issues of speeding, driving under the influence, fatigue, seatbelts and distractions. Young people are nearly twice as likely as older people to die in traffic collisions while the most common age to die on roads is 18. RYDA works to reduce these statistics by ensuring young people have received the best road safety education possible, long before they jump behind the wheel. The Caloundra Rotary Club intends to educate a further 4,500 students over the next three years. It is hard to put a figure on lives saved as a result.”


“The Wharf Mooloolaba is being transformed into an exciting and vibrant place on the beautiful Mooloolah River with attractions for everyone, including special spaces for children. It now has a wide choice of restaurants and cafes serving delicious and affordable meals, snacks, ice creams and gelatos. It is also home to specialty shops, including clothing, homewares and gifts. In addition it provides access to a wide range of activities including scuba diving, whale watching, river cruises, boat and paddle board hire to name but a few. It is being enjoyed by an increasing number of locals, as well as interstate and international visitors. It is a great asset to our region and will continue to improve.”


“Shivawn goes so far beyond the boundaries of her job to ensure that she provides a lasting solution to vulnerable families in the Sunshine Coast community that it often leaves her nominator stunned. While many hide behind the confines of their job or use bureaucracy as an excuse for not acting Shivawn ploughs ahead and more often than not finds a solution. Many families on the coast are leading a functional life thanks to her work.”


“Damien has created a flight school with a goal of providing the best instruction possible using highly qualified instructors and the use of modern technology, saving on training costs to improve skills. Online lessons, 360 degree Virtual Reality training videos and new virtual reality training computer are three of the training aids put in place to ensure pilots who graduate from his courses are the best trained on the Coast, and not broke. Damien has created a branch of GoFly based in Singapore and has also employed a Chinese speaking instructor who provides flight instruction to Chinese students looking to obtain their licence. With a fleet of 4 modern Sling training aircraft and a Cessna 172, Damien business is a Sunshine Coast success story.” 


“Ivon loves our area and in particular his beloved Glasshouse Mountains with a fierce drive and dedication befitting a person a quarter his age. Over recent years he has worked tirelessly researching and writing his wonderful, federally funded book "The National Heritage Listed Glasshouse Mountains" so both visitors and locals alike can be better informed on their history, geology, legend and environment. He is also working on improving the walking trails for all to enjoy. Ivon’s energy, effort and knowledge on the mountains are legendary. He is now busy researching Matthew Flinder's visits to our area and also working to help design a monument to the man himself. He regularly volunteers at the Glasshouse information Centre and has been doing for over 20 years. His nominator says “Ivon really is a living local treasure himself.”


“The Society has been in existence since 1984 and this year has introduced the Little Village Choir which will give participants the opportunity to discover the many health and social benefits of singing. The Society is administered by a vibrant band of Seniors, although membership is open to a wide variety of ages, and regularly performs at Nursing Homes and Retirement villages. Members support in a voluntary capacity at numerous community events throughout the year, recently making a significant contribution to the highly successful and well attended Heritage Christmas event. The Society was recently responsible for the installation of modern sound and lighting in the Palmwoods Hall which will now be available for community use and enjoyment.”


“Every week, Monday through Thursday, Caloundra Senior Citizens Club, and its dedicated President Ray and Treasurer Monica front up and offer seven different activities enjoyed by members. Activities include Tai Chi, Mahjong, Bolivia, Whist, Five Hundred, Indoor Bowls and Hoy. The Club and its leaders have weathered serious problems over recent years with fortitude and grace and have rescued this Club from certain disintegration by finding a new venue for the activities of its 300+ members. The Club organizes entertainers to visit weekly for busloads of elderly members some of whom stay on after the concert to play Hoy. It is a very convivial club with a number of social outings throughout the year.”

  1. Each award category was sponsored by a local business, who provided a gift voucher as that category’s prize. The sponsors were Aussie World, Family Friendly Carpet Cleaning and Pest Control, Parklands Tavern, Maleny Dairies, Pelican Waters Golf Club, Best Western Plus Oceanside Kawana, Pelican Waters Pharmacy, Maleny Hotel, Maleny Supa IGA and Spicers Tamarind Retreat


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Authorised by Andrew Wallace MP, Liberal National Party, 11/10 Lake Kawana Blvd, Bokarina, QLD, 4575