Local Yarrawonga woman and Moira Shire Councilor Wendy Buck has been nominated for not one but two awards at the Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards for 2020.
Ms. Buck is nominated in the categories of Regional Development Victoria Leadership and Innovation Award and the Victoria Awards Australia Community Hero Award.
Seven of the nine category winners will receive $2,000 into an account in their name from Bank of Melbourne. The other two category winners will receive a PRIME7 Television Package.
One of the nine category winners will be named the “Bank of Melbourne Regional Achiever of the Year” and will receive an additional $2,000 and state trophy.
“What would winning one of these awards mean to me?” Ms Buck said.
“Three decades of volunteering and working on community projects is a result of having a community heart and seeing a need, scoping it out, strategically planning how to get from A to Z, mapping the pathways empowering the community and walking through the project’s with them along the way, taking the journey together.
“I am very honoured and humbled to think that I would be suited for the local hero category as well, as I did see myself more as an innovative thinker with a happy knack to be able to navigate policy and procedures, than a hero.
“I was made aware early in life that if it’s not written in policy you can’t leverage funding for your community so that inspired me to strive to be on the board to contribute to policy especially for rural Victoria so we can right what we need for our communities.
“So, we can leverage funding and get our rural projects up, so being on the board table made more sense than being on the menu.”
Part of the nomination criteria states that every town has:
• That inspiring individual, who we all wonder where they always find the time,
• The local business forever supporting its community whilst running the best business in town,
• The community group that is helping… well everyone and everything.
The Awards Australia Community Hero Award also states that it acknowledges those individuals making a significant contribution at a local level in regional and rural Victoria.
There are many selfless people who, through their actions, have positively impacted the lives of others and their community.
The Community Hero Award acknowledges those everyday people doing extraordinary things within their local communities. Community heroes may be involved in (but not restricted to) art, health, business, sports, volunteering, the environment, aged care, or education.
They may have displayed courage in overcoming a personal adversity or demonstrated leadership in trying times.
Just one of these occasions Ms Buck has displayed these attributes has been in her election to local council.
“In moving to my new community in the middle of a millennium drought I ran for Local Council and am in my tenth year as a woman in local government, I mentor and champion women for local government,” Ms Buck said.
“Gender equity and an acquired brain injury, my disability would be the main barriers.
“In terms of gender equity, I needed to be successful in an election process where very few female candidates are elected in Rural Victoria, Moira Shire, I had to be a standout woman candidate.
“Once being elected to council, I had to convince my fellow male councillors to let me be the Waste Resource Group representative, which was traditionally a male role, in a male dominated field.
“I had pitched my green bin theory to them, and they were happy to support me in my endeavour however sceptical they felt at the time.
“As one of six council reps on the Waste Group I needed to be elected to the board to successfully pursue my project and thankfully I was.
“The whole community benefits from those of us who stand for Local Government, who put our hands up to be on board’s, being put forward to be the leaders who evoke positive change in their communities, who chose to be at the decision making table and not on the menu.
“Who engage with their community and bring them along to develop and own these decisions which shape their future.”
Judging will take place on October 7 with award recipients and an award presentation to be announced in the near future.
Ms Buck will also be running again for Moira Shire Council in the upcoming elections.
“I am running for council again as I have just finished 10 years on council,” Ms Buck said.