Esperance officially welcomed six new citizens and recognised the outstanding community service of our Citizens of the Year today at the Rotary Family Day in the Park event. The generous, community-minded culture of our remote region was highlighted with a total of 19 individuals and groups honoured by a Citizen of the Year nomination.  

Congratulations to our 2023 Citizens of the Year!

Community Citizen of the Year – Meredith Waters
Meredith is very active in the Esperance community, being involved in the day to day operations of many community groups. Some of Meredith’s roles include volunteering at Hope FM, as a presenter, trainer and manager. She is also involved with Death Café, Drum Beat with Healthy Rhythms, BOICO, Department of Health Advisory Committee and so much more. Meredith takes great care in empowering other people to become achievers.
Senior Citizen of the Year – Veronica ‘Click’ Lavars
Click has worked in the field of social and community services for 40 years, both before and after retirement, working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of our more vulnerable community members. Known to many as Aunty or Nana Click, she is recognised as someone that our First Nations people can turn to in times of hardship. Click is recognised by the homeless people in Esperance as a respected support, someone making a difference. Click’s devotion to helping others is nothing short of remarkable.
Youth Citizen of the Year – Dane Holdman
Observers wonder how Dane fits all his volunteering activities in! He is a valued member of the emergency services community, volunteering his time and energy to the Surf Life Saving Club, 6 Mile Hill Bush Fire Brigade and Esperance Fire & Rescue. He was instrumental in coordinating recent inter-agency training with local Police, Sea Rescue and Surf Rescue, and the specialist State Police Dive Team. Dane actively promotes the abilities of women in traditionally male-dominated volunteer roles, encourages youth to get involved in supporting their community, and has a positive effect on so many people across our community.
Group Citizen of the Year – Esperance Care Services
Esperance Care Services (ECS) provides an amazing service dedicated to empowering and equipping those in need, suffering hardship and struggling with situations beyond their control, changing their situations for the better through their Advocacy and Emergency Relief Programs. In the last financial year ECS has provided help to more than 389 people, with 1,934 emergency relief assists. ECS was recently recognised at the WA Waste Authority Waste Sorted Awards with a Highly Commended in the category of 2022 Waste Management Award, highlighting the Fabric Recycling Project and dedicated team of volunteers.

Esperance Shire President Ian Mickel congratulated the Citizens of the Year and thanked them for their service, saying “Today is a day to applaud outstanding service to our community. These Citizen of the Year Awards are truly all about our community, and each nomination recognises one of the many amazing people who put back into our community.”

“I would also like to recognise our valued local indigenous groups, and acknowledge that this anniversary is painful for them,” he said. “After recent changes to Federal regulations, the Shire, and my fellow Councillors, will be keen to examine the most inclusive way to celebrate our community into the future.”

Our 2023 Australia Day Ambassador, Conrad Liveris, is an economist and non-profit executive who works on issues relating to access to justice, health, homelessness and more. Conrad presented the Citizen of the Year Awards and delivered a keynote address around the very Australian concept of a fair go. Using lyrics from John Farnham’s song, The Voice, Conrad spoke about a recent emotional return from overseas travel, prompting thoughts on what it means to be Australian and why giving everyone a voice is the epitome of the fair go.

Ian Mickel also opened the floor to next year’s nominations, saying “From Condingup to Cascade to Salmon Gums - all areas of our region, we’d love you to start thinking about your local heroes, and nominating them for the 2024 Citizen of the Year Awards”.

Nominations for the 2024 Citizen of the Year Awards are already open, seeking to highlight those among us providing an outstanding contribution and community service in areas such as education, health, fund-raising, charitable and voluntary services, business, sport, arts, the environment, social inclusion or any other area that contributes to the advancement and wellbeing of a community.
This is an opportunity to detail how your chosen nominee contributes to the community, demonstrates active citizenship and enhances community life, and also provide additional material on their achievements, so start gathering information and nominate on the Citizenship Awards website here.

Esperance Citizens of the Year (L-R): Senior Citizen of the Year, Veronica "Click" Lavars; Youth Citizen of the Year, Dane Holdman; Active Group Citizen of the Year, Esperance Care Services; Community Citizen of the Year, Meredith Waters.


Esperance Shire

26 January 2023