Bega Valley Shire Council’s General Manager, Leanne Barnes (right) has been recognised for outstanding public service to local government with a Public Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List.
The award recognises Ms Barnes’ leadership, expertise and commitment in leading the Bega Valley Shire as it responded to and recovered from 15 natural disasters since 2013, including the Tathra and Reedy Swamp, Yankees Gap and Black Summer bushfires, as well as multiple flooding events and COVID-19.
Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said the award was testament to Ms Barnes’ dedication, focus and compassion throughout her 19 years at Council, including eight as General Manager.
“Leanne has dedicated herself to serving our community through thick and thin,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“She has worked tirelessly to support the community throughout the many challenges we’ve faced, as well as bring together all levels of government to provide the financial, resourcing and mental health support we’ve needed.
“It has been a privilege to work with such a professional and dedicated leader.”
Ms Barnes said the award was completely unexpected and reflected on the dedication of the entire organisation.
“I had no idea I had been nominated,” Ms Barnes said.
“I’m flattered and humbled to be recognised in this way. It’s a great honour personally, but also for Council as a whole—this wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment and dedication of staff right across the organisation, and I’m so proud to work with such dedicated people who are committed to supporting our community.
“We still have a long way to go to recover from the latest challenges, but with the strength of the community and the dedicated people who work at Council, we’ll get there.”
The full list of Queen’s Birthday Honours is available at www.gg.gov.au/australian-honours-and-awards/queens-birthday-2021-honours-list