Citizens above and beyond


Deserving recognition: Sacred Heart College’s Michelle Moreton, Rosanna Highwood, Matthew Kolomyjec and Meadbh Byrne, Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard, Colleen Burgess and Elodie Prinsloo. Picture: Chris Kershaw
Deserving recognition: Sacred Heart College’s Michelle Moreton, Rosanna Highwood, Matthew Kolomyjec and Meadbh Byrne, Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard, Colleen Burgess and Elodie Prinsloo. Picture: Chris Kershaw

“All of Elodie’s achievements are too numerous to mention here this morning,” Mayor Troy Pickard said. Elodie received the active citizenship award for a person under 25.

She has been involved in a range of community organisations over many years where she has taken on leadership roles, including at the Wanneroo SES, and has had a long association with Scouts Australia where she is involved in a national review of its youth program.

Last year, she joined a Save the Children summit to discuss solutions to racism, discrimination and bullying and in 2014, she represented Wanneroo at the YMCA Youth Parliament and has lobbied Federal MPs to increase Australia’s foreign aid budget.

The individual active citizenship award was presented to Greenwood resident Colleen Burgess.

Mrs Burgess has worked for the Australian Red Cross for more than 50 years, and is now the liaison officer for the Sorrento-Duncraig unit.

The mother of five has volunteered in many capacities through the Red Cross, including library services, meals for struggling families, transport to medical appointments, help with blood donations and first aid courses.

She also launched a weekly companionship group in Greenwood, which for almost 30 years has eased the loneliness experienced by women living in the northern suburbs.

The Sacred Heart Young Vinnies Group, made up of students from years 7 to 12, received the active citizenship award for a community group.

The group meets weekly and members aspire to touch the lives of those less fortunate, including the young, elderly, sick, poor and disadvantaged.

Members also work closely with indigenous groups, migrants and refugees.

“These young people truly care about their community and strive to make a real difference, expecting nothing in return other than seeing the happiness they bring to others,” Mr Pickard said.

Tuesday’s event was the City’s biggest ever stand-alone ceremony, with 349 new citizens welcomed from 41 countries including El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Tanzania and Venezuela.

About 400 family and friends of candidates joined them at Central Park to watch the ceremony, where suicide prevention advocate and Zero2Hero chief executive Ashlee Harrison delivered the keynote speech.

Mr Pickard said while the City held about 20 citizenship ceremonies annually, there was something special about the Australia Day ceremony.

“Australian citizenship symbolises our unity as a nation and is also a day those of us fortunate enough to be a part of this ‘lucky country’ can reflect on what it means to be Australian,” he said.

“Australians are fiercely proud people, we are hard working, we hold family and friendship in high regard, we are sociable, we are down to earth and we are there for one another in times of need.”