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National Awards for Local Government

About the Awards

The National Awards for Local Government are an annual celebration of the best Australian local government achievements. The awards highlight innovative and resourceful solutions implemented by local governments, which make a difference to their local communities.

The awards celebrate excellence in service delivery and showcase community solutions that directly respond to community needs by overcoming barriers and feature new contemporary and creative thinking.

Recognising the many challenges local governments and communities have faced in recent times, the award process for 2021 has been streamlined and simplified. This year, nominations will be submitted for the first time online with entries no more than 350 words.

In another first for the awards, councils will have the opportunity to recognise the work and achievements of their peers in the local government sector through an open voting system. Community members will also be able to vote for projects across each category that display excellence, innovation and replicability.

2021 Award Winners

The winners of the 2021 National Awards for Local Government were announced on 17 December 2021.

Media release

The full details of the winners' projects can be found below.

2021 Award Winners

• Creativity and Culture – creating vibrant and cohesive communities through the Arts

Winner: Northern Beaches Council, NSW

Project: Library2U

• Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure – improving productivity and increasing the economic, social and sustainable well-being of communities

Winner: City of Melville, WA

Project: Smart City, Smart Grid Project

• Contributing to Regional Growth – supporting the growth of vibrant and sustainable regional economies and communities

Winner: Whyalla City Council, SA

Project: Whyalla’s Iconic Circular Jetty Project

• Cohesive Communities – building stronger, more cohesive, accessible and inclusive communities 

Winner: City of Salisbury, SA

Project: Cohesive Salisbury Project

• Excellence in Road Safety – creating safer communities through road safety initiatives

Winner: Paroo Shire Council, QLD

Project: Blue Light Learner Driver Program

• Addressing Violence against Women and their Children – keeping women and their children safe from violence and supporting wellbeing

Winner: Cumberland Council, NSW

Project: Cumberland Domestic and Family Violence Action Plan

• Promoting Indigenous Recognition – raising awareness and understanding of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

Winner: Newcastle Art Gallery and City of Newcastle, NSW

Project: WARWAR: The Art of the Torres Strait

• Women in Local Government Award – increasing female participation and female leadership roles in the Australian local government workforce 

Winner: Australian Local Government Women’s Association, VIC

Project: Mentoring for Success – Supporting newly elected Women Councilors initiative

2021 Honourable Mentions

Due to the high quality of nominations and the exceptional amount of engagement from voters we have also awarded Honourable Mentions to the following councils;

Council: Murray River Council, NSW

Project: Moama Lights

Council: Barossa Council, SA

Project: The Big Project

Council: City of Kalamunda, WA

Project: Road Safety Awareness

Council: City of Ryde, NSW

Project: Make a Stand campaign

Council: City of Albany, WA

Project: Restoring Menang Noongar Place Names

Council: Shire of Shark Bay, WA

Project: Women in Senior Leadership Roles

2021 Award Categories

In 2021, there are eight award categories which highlight how local governments are delivering positive outcomes which create stronger, resilient and cohesive communities.

This award recognises local government projects which:

  • create vibrant, cohesive communities that use arts and culture to support community
  • embrace wellbeing, diversity and encourage social inclusion through community participation in artistic activities 
  • leverage arts and culture to improve community sustainability and increase local economic opportunity.

Delivering community outcomes 

Arts and culture add value to Australia and benefit our economy, health and wellbeing, society and education by:

  • fostering opportunities for the enjoyment of the arts through broad community engagement
  • establishing local arts hubs for community arts, performances and exhibitions and 
  • supporting arts initiatives that foster inclusion and skill development.

The Australian Government believes all Australians, whether in regional areas or major cities, should have access to artistic and cultural activities.

The award recognises local government projects which: 

  • utilise technological innovations or regulatory changes
  • consider sustainability, liveability and productivity in investment strategies and planning 
  • address long-term infrastructure priorities and offer clear economic productivity benefits.

Delivering community outcomes

Australia’s infrastructure and transport systems make a positive impact by: 

  • connecting cities and regions in a way which supports population growth
  • providing safe and efficient transport links and service delivery and
  • strengthening and diversifying regional economic bases by better connecting industries to markets and customers.

The Australian Government makes significant investments in infrastructure with the aim of improving national and local productivity and increasing the economic, social and sustainable well-being of Australian communities. The Government believes infrastructure investment and planning is essential for managing growth and enhancing productivity. 

The Contributing to Regional Growth Award recognises local government projects which: 

  • improve the liveability of a region and take advantage of region specific opportunities 
  • empower vibrant and connected regional communities that promote diversity and inclusion and 
  • strengthen investment and development opportunities, share resources, build local capability, and create jobs.

Delivering community outcomes

The Australian Government’s approach to regional development helps communities by: 

  • improving productivity, employment and workforce skills throughout the regions 
  • valuing, protecting and promoting diversity, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, cultures and traditions 
  • fostering the development of self-reliant communities and regions with strong economic futures.

The Australian Government is committed to investing in our regions as they are central to Australia’s economy and future. The Government works in partnership with communities, government and the private sector to support the growth of vibrant and sustainable regional economies and communities. 

This award recognises two specific outcomes:

Projects which seek to improve the lives of people with disability by driving a more inclusive approach to the design of policies, programs and infrastructure which:

  • address barriers for people with disability, their families and their carers 
  • promote and facilitate participation of people with disability, their families and their carers 
  • promote or facilitate partnerships between government, business and communities that achieve improved access and 

Projects that sustain and celebrate the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of our society which:

  • foster a sense of belonging, identity and shared values and promote civic rights and responsibilities 
  • encourage participation in the local community and develop innovative approaches to connecting the local community and building community harmony 
  • celebrate the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the community and foster an inclusive and respectful community.

Delivering community outcomes

Cohesive Communities add value to Australia and benefit our economy, health and wellbeing, society and education by:

  • creating communities that everyone can belong to, identify with and contribute to equally 
  • increasing participation in local communities and building community harmony 
  • celebrating our differences, talents and fostering an inclusive and respectful community.

Australia is a prosperous, safe and united country. Our inclusive national identity is built around our shared values including democracy, freedom and equal opportunity.

This award recognises local government projects which: 

  • improve road or roadside infrastructure with a focus on safety benefits including heavy vehicle transport
  • address the specific safety needs of vulnerable groups or target specific road user risk factors 
  • improve emergency medical response services for those involved in road crashes. 

Delivering community outcomes

The Excellence in Road Safety Award recognises projects which positively impact communities by: 

  • addressing specific risk factors and creating innovative road safety solutions 
  • making communities safer and more liveable and 
  • contributing to reductions in deaths and serious injuries from road crashes.

The Australian Government is committed to improving road safety by working with the state and territory government through the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS).

The Australian Government’s key areas of road safety responsibility are administering and improving vehicle safety standards, investing in road infrastructure improvement and monitoring statistical and implementation performance under the NRSS.

This award recognises local government projects which: 

  • address underlying cause of as gender inequality and power imbalances to eliminate violence against women and their children
  • support and advocate for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence and sexual harassment 
  • raise awareness and create cultures and communities of respect, inclusion and gender equality.

Delivering community outcomes

Successful projects in this award category benefit communities by: 

  • preventing violence towards women by driving sustainable change in community awareness, attitudes and behaviours 
  • supporting women and children who are at risk of, or experiencing, family and domestic violence, sexual violence or sexual harassment 
  • changing the attitudes and social norms that excuse or condone disrespect, sexual harassment and abuse.

The Australian Government is committed to keeping women and their children safe from violence. The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010‐2022 (the National Plan) brings together the efforts of governments across the nation to make a real and sustained reduction in the levels of violence against women.

This award recognises local government projects which:

  • raise awareness and understanding of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture in Australia’s contemporary society 
  • build positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through events and activities
  • implement innovative community-building strategies in partnership with local Indigenous communities. 

Delivering community outcomes

Successful projects in this award category benefit communities by:

  • bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to share skills and experiences 
  • undertaking projects that support the revival, strengthening and promotion of Indigenous culture, traditions and languages 
  • enabling Indigenous residents to inform local government activities and policies. 

The Australian Government recognises the unique contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Australia’s economic and social life and to working alongside Indigenous communities. We also acknowledge the important place of Indigenous history, cultures and languages in local communities and to the nation.

This award recognises female leaders and initiatives in local government which: 

  • support local women to stand for elected roles to represent their communities 
  • implement initiatives in the workplace which help to improve the progress and representation of women in leadership positions 
  • establish programs to support and recognise women as current and emerging leaders, including mentoring, networking and training opportunities. 

Delivering community outcomes

Successful projects in this award category benefit communities by:

  • promoting greater roles for women in leadership, both as elected representatives and officers 
  • developing gender equality strategies and programs to support women of all ages to participate and become leaders in their workplace and community and 
  • advocating for gender equality, women’s rights and representation in the workplace.

The Australian Government is committed to increasing female participation and female leadership roles in all areas of the Australian workforce including local government.

2022 National Awards for Local Government

Key dates and award information for the 2022 National Awards for Local Government will be announced in the first quarter of 2022.

If you would like to subscribe to email updates about the 2022 National Awards for Local Government, please send your details through to awards@infrastructure.gov.au.

Further Information

Previous year’s winners
Submission guidelines
If you require any additional information, please email awards@infrastructure.gov.au.