Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria (KABV) has proudly announced the winners of the 41st annual Tidy Towns & Cities Sustainability Awards with the town of Beechworth, and Merri-bek Council securing the highly coveted Tidy Town and Tidy City awards respectively. These accolades are a testament to the remarkable commitment and dedication of these communities in creating a more sustainable, resilient, and beautiful Victoria.
Beechworth, known for its historic charm in the Victorian highlands is now a five-time winner of the awards and has also taken home the National Tidy Towns Awards on two occasions. They were up against steep competition from the Tidy Town finalists including Rosebud, Violet Town and Torquay but it was their innovative community and sustainability initiatives that got them over the line. These include Quercus Beechworth Neighbourhood House, Totally Renewable Beechworth, Dreams Can Come True Formal Wear Hire, Drag’d Out Beechworth, Bee School by Beechworth Honey, the Aboriginal Ring Trees initiative, Burke Museum and Beechworth Lions Club.
Iris Mannik of the Beechworth Tidy Towns Committee said, “Beechworth Community is proud and elated to win our fifth Tidy Towns Sustainability Award for 2023. We would like to thank Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria for this chance to showcase our community volunteers and their projects.”
The City of Merri-bek, located in Melbourne’s inner north, has set a remarkable example for urban areas across the state by receiving this year’s Tidy City award. Competing against the Tidy City finalists Greater Geelong, Moonee Valley, and Wyndham, Merri Bek stood out due initiatives that are making life more sustainable and enjoyable for their communities. These include Green My Plate, My Smart Garden, The Bike Shed – Fix Your Own Bike and the Western Emergency Relief Network.
City of Merri-Bek Mayor Cr Angelica Panopoulos was thrilled to learn of their new Tidy City status saying “I am very pleased and delighted that Merri-bek has won the Tidy City of the Year award. Merri-bek has a strong commitment to sustainability and the environment, and this award is a great honour and recognition of our staff working together with our community to create better outcomes for our planet.”
The Dame Phyllis Frost winner on the evening, named after KABV’s founder, is awarded to a nominee for their outstanding commitment to the environment and community. Hansi Wegner from Mornington Peninsula was in shock last night as his name was announced for this award.
He stated, “Last night at the KABV awards, I felt really honoured to have received the Dame Phyllis Frost award in recognition of the work the Citizen Science Crew is contributing to the environment and community here at “Daangean” Devilbend Natural Features Reserve on the Beautiful Mornington Peninsula. I felt quite humbled sitting amongst some pretty amazing people contributing in so many wonderful ways to their own communities and environment throughout Victoria.”
Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria and National CEO, Olivia Lynch, expressed her admiration for the award winners, saying, “Beechworth, Merri-bek Council and Hansi Wegner exemplify the positive impact that community-driven environmental initiatives can have. The dedication and hard work displayed by these communities serve as an inspiration to all Victorians to take action in protecting and enhancing our natural and urban environments and in building stronger more resilient communities.”
Beechworth, Merri-bek Council and Hansi have demonstrated that they are leaders in environmental stewardship, making them shining examples for communities across Victoria and nationwide. KABV congratulates them and all the entrants, finalists and category winners on their well-deserved victories and encourages other towns and cities to follow in their footsteps.
For more information about the Tidy Towns & Cities Awards and the 2023 Finalist and Winners, visit www.kabvic.org.au/sustainabilityawards/.